Why This Professional Golfer Decided To Ditch The Practice Rounds – Then Play Better

Eddie Pepperell used to play a lot of practice runs, and now he doesn’t even bother to play any of them at all.

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There are few people in the golf world like Eddie Pepperl. It’s unconventional, thoughtful, and straightforward. He’s not afraid to delve into some of today’s most controversial topics – from Covid to LIV and beyond – but he is humble enough not to envy those whose opinions differ.

It’s a combination of qualities you rarely see at the top of professional sports, and it made a great appearance on the latest Drop Zone podcast, hosted by my colleagues Dylan Diether and Shawn Zack. With Shaun abroad in Scotland, Dylan moderated an extensive interview that left plenty to unravel. But some of the most interesting things came when Pepperell plunged into his golf course.

By his own admission, Pepperell has been struggling since the pandemic disrupted professional golf. This comes true: He was playing the best golf of his career in 2018 and 2019. He won twice on the DP World Tour, finished sixth at the 2018 Open, finished third in the 2019 Players Championship, and rose to 32nd in the Official Tournament. World golf rating. But when the various game rounds closed, he thought taking six weeks would be good for his long back injury. Instead, it had the unintended side effect of changing the golf swing – and not for the better.

“It’s technical,” he says of the golf swing. “I am now in a completely different position than I was…Iron playing is where the magic in golf lies. It is something I have been doing really well, and it is something I do poorly sometimes now.”

Training Tours

When things on his game started to go south, Pepperell did what any enthusiastic golfer would do: He started working even harder. Although he always arrived late, he started showing up in tournaments on or before Monday, to play extra practice rounds. But after finding himself exhausted and exhausted, without any results to show, he decided to give it up completely.

“If there’s a hole for me or the canister feels like we really need to see it, I’ll go there,” he says. “But usually it’s all there, just golf shots. Today I made quite a few stealths with wedges and 9 irons, that’s not so not known golf hole. That’s just s—”.

Pepperell says the biggest benefit to skipping practice rounds is that it “frees up his schedule,” so he can spend more time improving his style of play during those important weeks of the tournament. It also means that when he gets to the site, he is forced to be more efficient in how to prepare because he has less time to waste. The double effect of this means that his overall gameplay is more intense, which outweighs the benefits of spending more time getting to know the track.

“It doesn’t happen often,” he says, when Dylan asks if there are times when not knowing the course hurts his output. “You can tell the golf course inside and out, but if you’re not looking to hit the golf course, forget about it.”

The strategy seems to be working: After a series of missed cuts, Pepperell now has two top 15 positions in his last five starts (with some missed cuts in between). His T11 at the Cazoo Classic last weekend had his best result since 2020.

Be sure to listen to the full episode below on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

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Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is Game Improvement Editor for GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role, he oversees game improvement content for the brand that includes Help, Equipment, and Health & Fitness across all multimedia platforms at GOLF.

An alumnus of the International Junior Golf Academy and University of South Carolina – Beaufort golf team, where he helped them finish first in the NAIA National Rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. . His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast.

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