It has been a long-held view by golfing experts that Australian Adam Scott has one of the best short games in the world.
At the time of writing, ‘The Big Queenslander’ has won 14 times on the PGA Tour, 11 on the European Tour and a further 11 between Asia, the Sunshine Tour and in Australasia. He’s a former World Number One – so he’s certainly a good barometer.
When such a successful and seasoned player – Scott is 42 years old – is advocating that for amateurs to improve, it’s the short game that they should look at, it’s time to listen.
RSNG.com sits down with Scott to do just that…
RSNG It’s been said so many times about your short game: it’s so effortless and great to watch. How did you get it like that?
ADAM SCOTT, FORMER WORLD NUMBER ONE GOLFER “Hard work, it’s really as simple as that. You don’t achieve anything without working hard at it. Because I worked so much on it with my coach, it’s given me so much self-assurance.
“When I get to the point where I’m chipping around the green or zoning in with my approach shots, I feel I’m always going to get close because I am so comfortable with my technique. But it wasn’t something which just happened overnight – it took about two years for me to be totally at home with what I was doing.
“I was certainly stuck in my ways for a long time, and when you’ve been playing a particular way or doing something in a manner which almost comes natural to you and it’s not working as well as you would like it to, it can take time to move away from that.
“So, it was painstaking and I had to be patient, knowing that if I spent enough time perfecting new methods and techniques, it would eventually pay off. I’m happy to say that the results have made me see that.”
RSNG Is this what you would suggest to amateurs who may not be happy with where their short game is at the moment – try new techniques?
ADAM SCOTT “Oh, for sure. If you’re doing something that isn’t working, why wouldn’t you be open to trying something new? Surely, if you want to better yourself in any way and you’re happy to attempt a more suitable way, you will eventually succeed.
“But, as I say, it took me some time to become really content with the results. Ultimately, you’ve got to go backwards to give yourself a chance of moving forwards.”
You don’t ever hear a golfer say ‘I don’t need to work on my game’ – it just doesn’t happen
RSNG What would you say is the most important thing to aim for when being open to change?
ADAM SCOTT “The ball? Haha! No, seriously, it’s about getting to the point where every time you make the swing you know that you don't have to make perfect contact with the ball.
“You need to reach the stage where your stance and weight distribution mean that as long as you’re using a shallow swing for chipping, the natural way that the club is going is to slide underneath the ball will put you in the right position.
“The clue is obviously in the discipline. If you’re aiming to chip the ball, you need to get the club underneath it. If the club head slides along the turf, even if you hit the ball a little fat, you’re going to get air.
“Ultimately, you’ve got to start with the right technique. It’s the key to everything, and without it you can have the best mental fortitude in the world, yet you’ll still never win. Think about it…”
RSNG Do you take practice as seriously now as you used to?
ADAM SCOTT “Of course! Practice, and good, meaningful practice, is and always will be vital. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing off 28 or you’re a PGA Tour pro – everybody practices.
“No golfer is too good to practice. You don’t ever hear of a golfer who has won loads of events saying: ‘I don’t need to work on my game, I’ve just won The Open.’ It just doesn’t happen.
“I think we are lucky in that we have a sport that is fun to practice, particularly if you’re in the mindset of trying new things or exploring new angles.
“I can think of a few sports where the practice can be a repetitive, mundane process. We are lucky in the sense we don’t have that in golf… unless it’s an hour of putting… but even then, you can take some balls to the range and smash the frustration out of yourself!
“Most people enjoy things that they’re good at and whether that’s playing with your mates in a round after work, at the weekend or in competitive events and winning a few quid, it’s all positive.”
It’s actually strange to watch yourself because you are presented with two different realities – the TV coverage and your own memories
RSNG It’s been said that you like to remember your 2013 Masters win, not by watching the highlights, but with your own recollections of it. Is that true?
ADAM SCOTT “Yes. To be fair, I did watch the re-runs not too long after I had played in the tournament itself, so probably about twice in that same year. But I’ve not watched it since, no.
“It is because I always remember the way it looked through my own eyes, and that is the most special view.
“It’s actually strange to watch yourself, because you are presented with two different realities – the TV coverage and your own memories. Generally speaking, the two collide and interweave, but your own perception will always be slightly different. In my case, often the version I prefer to remember and build on is the latter when I am looking to replicate the emotions and the experience so that I can go on and win more.”
WHAT NEXT? Want to play your best ever round of golf against superior opposition? Then read this RSNG.com guide here….