At 1:05EST today, Sam Burns will embark on his first experience with Professional TEAM Golf. His ascent to the top of the golf world has come fast and furious, but to those on the inside, it surprises NO ONE.
As you may know, I spend a ton of time with Sam, his coach Brad Pullin and caddy Travis Perkins. It’s become routine week to week that we all walk at least 9-holes together.
What’s most fun to watch at this time is the laser-like prep that takes place. The routine never wavers; every box is checked off before the ball goes in the air on Thursdays.
But this is the Presidents Cup, a HUGE stage with the weight of playing for your country and teammates on your shoulders.
I wanted to know what that looks like off-site, so I spoke with Sam’s coach Brad Pullin (Squire Creek CC), to get a sense of what I don’t see.
JW: Sam has had a few weeks off since the Tour Championship; what were the main points of focus going into the new season and specifically to get ready for Quail Hollow?
Brad Pullin: We had a few days off to rest. Which was very much needed, and then we went over our team’s objectives from the past year. Nothing specific for Quail Hollow except emphasis on playing lots of holes to get a sense of what the set-up might show during the Presidents Cup.
JW: In your opinion, what are the strengths of Sam’s game, and what would he need to address to become World #1?
Brad Pullin: The obvious goal is to be complete in every aspect of the game. Sam has always been a great ball striker tee to green, and his wedge game inside 150 has become a strength over the past year. The putter has always been a weapon, and he has worked hard this past year to improve his around the green category. His game has matured quite a bit as he elevated his status on TOUR. It’s been fun to watch, all while not surprising at all.
JW: Can you give us a little insight into a typical day of work for you guys at Squire creek? Is there a routine?
Brad Pullin: Typical day at Squire Creek:
7AM: In the gym
830-930AM: Putting drills which is made up of stroke/speed and alignment drills.
10-11AM: Swing work and drills
11AM-12PM: Short game work ending with competitions either against himself or another student.
12-1PM: Lunch/Cool Down
1-5pm: 18 holes
5-6PM: Putting and Wedge combines, we always end the day with shortgame.
JW: What has been the biggest evolution equipment wise in the past 1-2 years?
Brad Pullin: The Callaway team’s work across the board has been awesome. Specifically, the (TCB) irons and dialing in the fit for him. We added the TCB AW that filled a gap and improved our needed yardage area (120-130). We added the Apex UW, and he loves the versatility of this club (so does his Caddy Travis). He is confident with everything where it is, so we haven’t changed much from this past year.
JW: How much do you rely on launch data IE Foresight/Trackman? Is it foundational or just for reference?
Brad Pullin: The data is a good checkpoint for carry, spin, launch, etc. It’s only to validate a certain feel, however. At the end of the day, the ball in the air will tell us everything we need to know. The golf ball doesn’t lie.
JW: How do you prepare players to deal with SERIOUS pressure like playing in a Team event? What are some tips for the normal golfer?
Brad Pullin: We stay 100% committed to our work routines at home and on the road. We have specific things to do on the road to prep for courses, and Travis does a tremendous job of ensuring we hit all of those.
The focus is to prepare to play golf. Most of us play our best golf without expectations and understand that we all/will hit bad shots. How we accept those and direct them correctly ultimately affects our score. Once, we play golf, enjoy the moment, and have fun.
JW: To get better, is it wise to target specific game areas, or is it best to have a solid routine covering all the bases?
Brad Pullin: I believe it’s important to focus on all areas as time allows. If you are a great tee to green player, continue to work on that strength to maintain that strength. It’s what makes your game go. But also focus on the weaknesses to improve those areas. If this player had 1 hour after work to practice, I would do 30 minutes of range work (15min-formwork at the same target, same club, 15min random targets), 15 minutes putting mainly inside 10ft, and 15 min chipping and hitting random shots around the green.
Good Luck this week Sam!!!!