Leona Maguire admits she would like to close the gap off the tee between herself and the leading players in the world but she won’t go so far down the rabbit hole that it jeopardises her accuracy.
Maguire ranked 121st in driving distance on the LPGA Tour last season, yet she won for the first time, finished inside the top-8 in two major championships, had two further runner-up finishes on the LPGA Tour and reached a career-high world number eleven.
There is a case of, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it for the Cavan star, but she feels in order to complete a career-goal of becoming world number one, she might have to muscle up and find a few extra yards off the tee.
“The thing with trying to gain that distance is maintaining the accuracy, it doesn’t matter how, it’s how many,” said the 28-year-old who averaged 250 yards with her driver. “In an ideal world I’d like to be hitting an 8-iron in rather than a 5-hybrid but statistically I’m quite strong with those clubs.
“The offseason is a case of honing strengths but trying to bring up those weaknesses to make more courses suit. I’ve always been quite strategic; I think the harder the golf course it has tended to suit me.
“I feel like when my game is on, my irons are really dialled in. It was a little hit and miss this year but when it was on it was very much on. A lot of that boiled down to scheduling so we’ll take the positives out of it.
“Trying to crack that top-10 in the world and keep trying to be contending week in week out as much as I can.”
The Ballyconnell woman pushed world number one Lydia Ko all the way at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship but it was notable that she was conceding 20-30 yards off most tee boxes and hitting several rescue woods into the greens while Ko was clipping short irons.
“What’s the difference between me in 11th and the world number one? You’re going to have to bridge that gap. It is something that I am putting time and effort into.”
Any potential newfound length off the tee will also prove beneficial in September for Maguire as she bids to make her second Solheim Cup appearance for Europe and her first on home soil at Finca Cortesin which will be a beast off the tee for sure.
Maguire made history with a record-breaking Solheim Cup performance as a rookie, earning 4.5 points from a possible five as Catriona Matthew’s side won on US soil for only the second time in Ohio. The world no.11 took a trip to Finca after the LET finale and admits she will still feel like a rookie in front of home fans.
“We had a team get together on the Monday afterwards. It’s a very different golf course to what Ohio was a few years ago,” she says.
“It’s going to be interesting, not everybody on the team was there, we have to wait and see what it’s like, it will be a different side this time around. It’s a big golf course, they have a lot of options over what tees they can use and how they set it up, that will be up to Suzanne to make it to our advantage. It’s quite hilly and it’s a great test.
“I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot from the last Solheim Cup but it will be a different experience playing in front of home fans and it’s going to feel like I’m a rookie again. I have to make sure I play myself onto the team first.”