Tour feature: Secrets of Miguel Angel Jimenez’ holes-in-oneNovember, 2015 Golf Equipment
After 10 aces on the European Tour we speak to Jimenez's caddie Cliffie Botha...
When did you first start working with Miguel and how many of his 10 hole in ones were you on the bag for?
I started working for Miguel at the 2012 Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre. I have been with him for four of his hole-in-ones. The first was in 2012 at the Portugal Masters and then the three this year; Abu Dhabi, El Prat Spain and then Wentworth.
What is your pre-tournament routine? How early do you get to each event and what is your process for mapping the course?
I get to the course on a Monday to get all the equipment organised in the locker room and then I will generally just be on the range with Miguel. On Tuesdays, we’ll go out for nine holes to scout the course, before the Pro-Am on Wednesday.
Despite being supplied with an accurate yardage book, I still like to make sure that I go out on to the course with my Bushnell rangefinder to ensure that the yardages are completely correct and map out any additional targets that we might need as reference points when playing.
On a tournament day, I normally arrive at the course about two hours before we tee off, getting the pin placements for the day and doing my yardage book. I tend to meet Miguel an hour before we tee off in the locker room, then head to the range, chipping green, and finally some putting just before we head out on to the course.
How much easier is it to do with the Bushnell Tour X rangefinder?
When preparing for a tournament, the new Tour X JOLT has been brilliant, it has incredible accuracy and the Slope Technology provides adjusted yardages for us to factor into our club selections during the week. This, along with the reliability of Bushnell products, has certainly played a role in helping me and Miguel to select the right clubs on those all-important par-3s.
Miguel is an extremely good ball striker and it is very important for any good ball striker to know exactly how far he hits his irons" What advice would you give to amateur golfers when it comes to using technology to help improve their games?
I think DMD devices are a must-have for everyone who wants to improve their scores. It’s really important for golfers at every level to know how far they hit each club and how far they have to their target, to give them the best chance of hitting it close, and ultimately building confidence.
There is less of a margin for error with getting the distance right on a par-3. You’ve obviously got a method that works when giving Miguel a number on the par-3s?
Getting to the short holes, I’ve already double checked that the yardage in the books are correct earlier in the week using my Bushnell, so in the tournament, I just step off paces from a certain point on the tee and add the pin position for the day. Both Miguel and I do this.
After that, we discuss the club selection together to make sure that we are both fully confident in the shot that needs to be hit.
After all those hole in ones, he must trust your judgement, right?
It’s really important that any player at this level has a good relationship with his or her caddie, and that they trust each other’s judgement, because there is a lot riding on each shot and we are playing with very fine margins!
Why do you think Miguel has become such a par-3 expert?
Miguel is an extremely good ball striker and it is very important for any good ball striker to know exactly how far he hits his irons, especially from 100 yards in. It is that confidence that he has the correct yardage, combined with his ball striking, which makes him so good on par-3s.
This is where Bushnell Rangefinders can make such a huge contribution, in giving you the confidence to execute your shots to a certain yardage, worry free.
What do you think of his celebration? You must be getting a bit bored of seeing it by now?
Can you ever get bored of seeing good shots go in the hole no matter what the player and caddie celebrate like? That’s what it is all about!
How unique is Miguel and what do you think has been the secret to his success and longevity?
I think for Miguel, preparation is key. Everyone knows about his slightly different warm-up routine! But also the preparation that we do together for every tournament is second to none, and when combined with his talent; ensures that he competes to the very highest standards.