Max Homa has a beautiful golf swing, which is kind of a gift and a curse. At least when it comes to major championships.

Before his impressive T-3 finish at the 2024 Masters Tournament, Homa has missed the cut in eight of 17 major starts, with a career-best finish of T-10 at the 2023 Open Championship.

But it was through that process of trial and error—or “error and error,” he said on Tuesday—that Max learned the mistake he was making.

The problem: Playing golf swing, not golf

Ahead of the 2024 PGA Championship, Homa explained how he fixed it, and in doing so, shared some good advice for the rest of us.

1. Don’t get lost on the range

Homa’s pre-round major prep used to involve taking the week off before a major. Now, he has played the event before, finding that to be better prep than spending hours on the range.

“I was doing the skip-the-week-before-the-major thing to get my prep in and realized I was leaving Scottsdale with like this perfect golf game and then I was going to, let’s say Augusta, on Monday and if it wasn’t perfect I was trying to find it again…[playing] was a better way to spend my time and get better instead of trying to hold on a perfect golf swing for an extra seven days.”

2. Hit lots of different shots when you practice

When Max looked at his results, he found his best major performances came in the Open Championship. Why? Because he was cramming in the weeks practising lots of different shots—an approach he’s adopted for other majors.

“You want to kind of get comfy hitting a lot of different shots around the greens, getting used to the wind, and then also the time change. It always seemed obvious to go over there early, and then I started to realize that the most comfortable major I’ve played in is the Open. I always feel like my game is the most ready and my mind is in the right spot.”

3. Focus on your misses, not your good shots

On the range, it’s easy to focus on what you’re trying to do right. When you’re playing, you’re forced to play with what you have—and learning how to play it.

“I knew what shots were uncomfortable, I knew what shots felt good, I knew what my misses were, and I felt like that was a better way to spend my time and get better instead of trying to hold on a perfect golf swing for an extra seven days.”

4. Remember that perfect doesn’t exist

Golf is a game of misses. Remember that the perfect round of golf simply doesn’t exist.

“Trying to be overly perfect is my one of my bigger struggles. It almost just hits you in the face at some point…it became obvious that playing the week before helps me get out of my own head.”

Main image: Maddie Meyer