28 Mar 2024 | Amateur golf |

Jasper Stubbs: How I'm prepping for The Masters

by Contributor

Jasper Stubbs

Asia-Pacific Amateur champion Jasper Stubbs is about to head off on the trip of a lifetime, playing in The Masters at Augusta National. He’s already checked out the famed course with a close mate, been seeking tips from some more experienced heads and has set his goals for his debut major championship experience.

It’s really getting real now. My flight to the United States leaves on Easter Monday and The Masters is just over two weeks away. I’ll spend the first few days in America at Australian Golf House in Florida and then it’s on to Augusta.

The first time I had the chance to experience Augusta National came in the middle of February. It was awesome and something I’ll remember forever, getting to play there for the first time. Just a good mate, Cody, and myself at Augusta for three rounds with a local caddie and no crowds. I kept telling Cody, ‘You’re walking on a bit of grass no patrons can walk on come Masters week so just take that all in.’ I’ve never seen a more happy man to just walk a golf course for three days straight. He was loving it.

For the first round, I decided just to play the course with the one ball and try to take it all in. That got the excitement of being there out of the way and then the next two rounds I concentrated on practice and getting to know the course a little better. To be able to chip to some different pins and different hole locations was cool.

My first hole was the par-4 10th. You’re walking down among the pine trees with crystal clear skies. There isn’t really a better feeling. I had 1-over for the first round which I was pretty happy with.

People talk about how slopey the fairways are at Augusta National but it’s also the greens. They’ve got a lot more slope in them than you think by watching on TV – and I’ve watched it for hour after hour since I was a kid. The greens were just so fast and you don’t expect that in the middle of winter when I was there. They were like lightning so I can only imagine what they’ll be like in a couple of weeks’ time. Some of the sections where they put the pins are super, super small.

Part of day one included a tour of the clubhouse, which was amazing. They have so much history set up on the walls and rooms dedicated to the history of the golf course. Seeing the people who have been there before, to remember some of the special shots that have been hit before with some of the golf clubs hanging on the wall was pretty spectacular.

We have a house about 10-15 minutes away from the golf course, but I’ll definitely be trying to stay in the famous ‘Crow’s Nest’ at the Augusta clubhouse before the tournament starts. Once the tournament is on, we will be in the house and business will start.

I’m going to be pretty nervous when it eventually comes to the time of that first tee shot in Round 1. I’ve been pretty nervous in different situations over the past couple of years. Everything is just building from those experiences I’ve had and putting it all into action at The Masters. It’s going to be one big step up. Taking a lot of deep breaths is going to be the key, I reckon.

Playing a number of Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia events has been really beneficial for my preparation. Every time I tee it up at an event, especially a professional event, you gain little bits of experience, regardless of how well I play.

One of the questions I often get asked is, ‘Who will you be playing with in the practice rounds?’. Nothing is officially booked in and solidified yet but I’m definitely looking to play with some of the other Aussies and get a bit of their knowledge from the past few years. I’ve got a few of their numbers and I’ll definitely be looking to reach out over this next week. I have Min’s number. I didn’t get Scotty’s number but I played with him at a tournament at the end of last year and he said he’d be more than happy to take me out when we got to Augusta.

I’ve set myself some gradual goals. The first one is to get there and enjoy the week and the next one is to make the cut. Once we’ve done that, the goal to push towards the top 12 which gets you an invite for next year. There’s a few different levels on what success would look like for me for the week but the biggest goal, above all else, is to walk away with a green jacket.

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