The 2018 European Open winner is making the most of lockdown by improving his technique
How Richard McEvoy Is Staying Sharp During Lockdown
When golf is your livelihood, you can’t afford to take your foot off the gas, even if tournament play is on hold – there’s too much at stake.
Richard McEvoy hasn’t played since the Qatar Masters on March 6 – that’s 60 days without hitting a ‘meaningful’ shot – but he’s doing his very best to stay “match fit”, which is no easy task when you can’t leave the house.
Like a number of professionals, McEvoy has made the best use of his garden in order to keep sharp, and he’s spending more time than ever on his swing monitor, a “significant new investment”.
“Day to day, I’ve found hitting balls into the net laborious, but the GCQuad has been brilliant,” says the 2018 European Open champion, who’s currently ranked 122nd on the Race to Dubai.
Although McEvoy favours quality over quantity, he currently spends two hours a day going through the bag and looking at his numbers, so he’s ready to hit the ground running when the European Tour gets underway again.
“Numbers-wise, I’m obviously keeping an eye on yardages and how far I’m hitting the ball with each club, but the main one I’m looking at at the moment is the club face path, which is in relation to strike position,” he explains.
“I’ve got a couple of things in particular that I’m working on with my coach [Paul Holland].
“I tend to get a little bit steep on the way back, and then because of that I drop it on the inside a little bit too much on the way down, which causes my start line to be too far right and the ball draws too much.”
McEvoy has upped the contact time with Holland since lockdown. FaceTime has replaced face-to-face coaching.
It’s a case of whatever it takes when you can’t go down the driving range.
“With the driver, we’re looking at swing speeds, ball speeds and carry distances,” says McEvoy, who ranked an impressive 12th in driving accuracy last season.
“Smash factor is another important number for me. Paul understands the numbers better than me, so it’s been great.
“We’ve got this drill for my backswing. It’s more of a set position on the way back, a movement I need to do with my right hand wrist to get myself in the right area, which then gets me more on plane on the way back.
“This makes it a lot easier to get the club on line on the way back down.”
It’s often the short game that suffers after a period of not playing, but the GCQuad is also helping McEvoy to retain his feel.
He’s able to play all the shots he would normally do “under pressure with a card in hand”.
“I can teach myself how to hit certain yardages. It’s the same with putting. You can set the speed of the green. I can measure how far I’m taking the putter back to achieve a certain distance.”
McEvoy is also putting his artificial lawn to good use. He has a short-game area and putting green, which normally gets good use in the winter, but it’s become his second home during the lockdown.
“I’ve done good practice at home since I had the GCQuad, but there’s no doubt I’m not going to be match fit,” says the former Walker Cupper, who’s had the added benefit of playing competitive virtual golf against his son around the likes of Abu Dhabi and Wentworth.
“You can practise as much as you like, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be ready for tournaments. Nothing beats playing tournament rounds of golf.”
With a rowing machine in the office and with plenty of free weights around the house, he’s also keeping in good physical shape.
Whenever professional golf resumes, no one will be sharper.