Air Drive grad (and professional golfer) Kyle Westmoreland: 5 issues I discovered

Kyle Westmoreland’s journey to professional golf started on the Air Drive Academy.

Andrew Tursky

In golf, as in life, perspective can drastically affect your angle and total efficiency. Kyle Westmoreland, an Air Drive Academy graduate who’s at the moment navigating the world {of professional} golf, has a singular perspective on each golf and life.

I wished to be taught extra about his backstory and outlook, and in addition perceive how a army man might presumably have sufficient time to prepared his golf recreation to compete professionally.

Forward of the 2021 Shriners Youngsters’s Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, Westmoreland’s staff invited me to hitch him for a Puma photograph shoot on the close by Nellis Air Drive Base.

Westmoreland is an expert golfer who acquired a sponsor’s invite to play within the Shriners Open. He additionally lately made historical past on the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, turning into the primary ever Air Drive Academy graduate to qualify for the occasion. The now 27-year-old turned professional after serving five-and-a-half years of lively responsibility for the Air Drive.

Whereas on the Nellis base – between poses in entrance of the Thunderbirds F-16 fighter jets – Westmoreland was capable of meet up with his buddies who’re at the moment serving within the army and stationed in Las Vegas. A few of them additionally occurred to be his former golf teammates on the Air Drive Academy.

After a tour of the bottom, and watching fighter jets raise off from the runway (with ear plugs in to dam the extremely loud noise), Westmoreland sat down with me for a visitor spot on GOLF’s Absolutely Geared up podcast.

Sometimes, our Absolutely Geared up podcast focuses on golf gear trade information, membership evaluations and equipment training. For this interview, although, we dove into the backstory of Westmoreland, his experiences within the army, his transition into skilled golf after serving lively responsibility, what he’s discovered alongside the way in which, and, OK, perhaps a bit about golf gear, too.

Listed here are 5 issues about life, golf and gear I discovered from my sit down with Westmoreland.  

1) Construct a supportive staff round you

A take a look at Westmoreland’s golf bag.

Andrew Tursky

Hardly ever does Westmoreland use the phrase “I.” As a army man, he values the staff he has round him – whether or not it’s his fellow Air Drive members, lieutenants, sponsors, golf coaches, or spouse. He is aware of the job can’t be finished alone, and he doesn’t take credit score as a person.

If he had it his method, really, Westmoreland says he wouldn’t even have his identify stitched onto his PXG employees bag. To point out his gratitude for his staff, although, Westmoreland shows army badges from numerous Air Drive members and army squadrons.

For normal citizen golfers, there’s an essential lesson that may be discovered right here. Whereas golf is a person sport, it’s essential to maintain a supportive staff round you that can assist you meet your targets.

Golf could be complicated and irritating, however you don’t must go at it alone. Search help from golf instructors, skilled gear fitters and health specialists who might help you enhance and wish to see you succeed. You is likely to be the one who has to execute the photographs, however encompass your self with constructive individuals who perceive your targets and wish to provide help to obtain them.

2) Make the most of each follow alternative

Between graduating from the Air Drive Academy and turning skilled, Westmoreland served within the army for half a decade whereas most of his present contemporaries in professional golf have been honing their video games.

How did he keep sharp sufficient to compete?

He practiced with a function and capitalized on each alternative he might. Whereas he did have entry to a golf course on the bottom, different duties at all times got here first (clearly). That left Westmoreland to work on his quick recreation at evening in his room, or on the follow inexperienced.

His go-to placing drill was to putt on a ruler. This helps with alignment, stroke path, and getting the ball rolling in your supposed line. To carry out the drill, merely setup a ruler (ideally a yardstick for it’s longer size), on a flat floor. Place a golf ball on one finish, and putt alongside the ruler so the golf ball stays on the floor with out rolling off the facet. Even when you may’t get to a golf course, you may nonetheless work in your placing practically anyplace.

3) Golf doesn’t must be nerve-racking

Typically golf could make you wish to snap a golf membership over your knee, or cling up your sticks altogether. Nevertheless it doesn’t must be a stressor, it may be a stress reliever.

Westmoreland together with his some mates from the Air Drive

Andrew Tursky

For Westmoreland’s buddies within the army – they go by “Sticks,” “Thunder” and “Canine” – golf is an outlet for enjoyment away from their nerve-racking day jobs.

“They don’t play fairly often…however after they get on the market they nonetheless hit it good one way or the other,” Westmoreland stated on Absolutely Geared up. “It offers me hope. I am going by just a few days not hitting it effectively I’m like, uh, what’s occurring. However they play 3 times a yr; having fun with golf has change into an important pastime of theirs and it blows off steam. They dwell in a high-stress world and lots of people say golf could be nerve-racking, however I believe they deal with it effectively and use golf as an outlet so golf’s not nerve-racking for them.”

Simply keep in mind, even in the event you’re taking part in the worst spherical of your life, at the least you’re out taking part in golf.

4) Have a go-to shot off the tee

Westmoreland has severe velocity off the tee, saying he tops out at 206 mph of ball velocity together with his driver. That’s Bryson DeChambeau long-drive sort numbers.

He is aware of, nonetheless, that hitting fairways could be equally as essential to his scores as hitting it deep. That’s why he has three totally different photographs, and he not often if ever hits it at one hundred pc of his energy.

“I play with form of three totally different driver swings,” Westmoreland stated. “I’ve one the place the ball velocity goes to about 155 mph and flies about 250, and rolls out to 280. It doesn’t have sufficient spin or loft to depart the green. Particularly in desert golf, it’s taking part in agency, you hit that on the market it’ll go perpetually. So I’ll play that, and I’ll hit that interchangeably with a 2-iron. It mainly goes the identical distance, however I’m just about by no means gonna miss the face with the motive force.

“Second is a cruise, we name it cruising velocity. It’s a really managed minimize and I play that about 185 to 188 mph. After which we have now a full swing, which…it’s not a full again swing. So we have now a full swing that goes to about 195.

“Then if we’re making an attempt to lengthy drive it for no matter motive, we are able to get it as much as about 206.”

Westmoreland really stated he “was quite a bit quicker than Bryson,” however he’s since put these days behind him, prioritizing accuracy reasonably than distance.

5) Preserve your choices open along with your membership setup

Westmoreland is among the few professional golfers left with a 1-iron in his bag. Nicely, it’s really the loft of a 2-iron, he says, however “the 1 seems to be cleaner.” Admittedly, having a 1-iron within the bag does look fairly cool.

It’s not the one choice on the prime finish of his iron setup, although. He carries a 3-iron, 4-iron and a 3-wood, and he’ll depart a type of out of his bag come competitors time. He makes that call based mostly on which of the golf equipment he’s seemingly to make use of most frequently at totally different programs and in numerous circumstances.

Bear in mind, not all golf programs are the identical, so your 14-club gear setup doesn’t at all times must be the identical both. For those who’re taking part in a brief and tight course, for instance, perhaps you wish to put a hybrid or high-lofted fairway wooden within the bag to hit off the tee. For those who’re taking part in in windy circumstances, think about maintaining a driving iron or lengthy iron on deck for a extra penetrating flight. These are just some examples, however experiment with various choices on the prime finish of your set so that you’re prepared for ever-changing golf course circumstances.

Wish to overhaul your bag for 2021? Discover a becoming location close to you at GOLF’s affiliate firm True Spec Golf. For extra on the most recent gear information and knowledge, try our newest Absolutely Geared up podcast under!

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Andrew Tursky

Golf.com Editor

Andrew Tursky is the Senior Gear Editor at GOLF Journal and GOLF.com.