Since turning pro in 2016, French golfer Céline Boutier has never been far from the competitive positions, yet the refining of her golf swing in the past three years has brought about a notable increase in finishing positions in the majors.
The 28-year-old won the ISPS Handa Vic Open in 2019, achieving her best US and British Open finishes in the same year; the Texas Open in 2020; and was strongly in the reckoning for the 2021 Women’s PGA and 2022 ANA Inspiration.
A fluke run of form? The Parisien tells RSNG.com that’s not the case…
RSNG You approach the game with a calm demeanor. Have you always been this way?
CÉLINE BOUTIER, FRENCH GOLFING STAR FINDING HER BEST FORM “I grew up with a passion for the sport, but have never worried too much about things when I have tough times on the course.
“I have been playing the game a long time now and I know things will generally come right, and that is the kind of faith and confidence I have always taken out onto the course.”
RSNG Having made some key adjustments to your technique, you saw a notable upturn in form, but the season was cut short by the pandemic. How did that feel?
CÉLINE BOUTIER “That was frustrating for me, but you have to realize there are bigger, more important things going on in the world.
“It was also an interesting time because the changes I had made a year or so before were really starting to pay off for me, and having a break away from competitive play meant I could really focus on those alterations.
“I was very excited to come back to see how they would play themselves out in competitive action, and I am pleased to say I have seen a real uplift in my game.”
As a golfer you don’t have to win every tournament to know you are playing well
RSNG Your prize money in 2021 was more than in any previous years. Does that mean a lot to you?
CÉLINE BOUTIER “The money means I can carry on doing what I am doing. It doesn’t mean much more to me than that, right now.
“I actually only won one tournament in 2021, but it was the six top 10 finishes that really made a difference not just to my prize money but my confidence as well.
“As a golfer you don’t have to win every tournament to know you are playing well – in fact, nobody does. Instead, to keep finishing high and to keep competing, and in very different types of tournaments and on different courses, means you are doing something right, and that’s what’s exciting.”
RSNG How much of your climb towards the world’s top 20 do you put down to swing revisions?
CÉLINE BOUTIER “I would like to think it is a lot. I am not the tallest player, and having plenty of rotation and by driving the power through my hips, I can make up for the fact I perhaps don’t have the greatest upper body strength.
“The exercises I undertake are all geared towards flexibility in the hips and strengthening the core so that I can really accelerate through the mid-section and create a lot of power.
“My focus on this has really coincided with playing better and feeling looser and freer in terms of mobility and movement, so the whole thing has come together at the same time, which has been great.”
RSNG Recently you’ve been aiming more for a sweet spot on the ball, yes?
CÉLINE BOUTIER “Yes, naturally it feels very obvious to be striking with the center of the club, but mentally I am much more zoomed in on this aspect now. I feel it has given me more control on the downswing to have a specific point at which I am aiming to hit the ball, rather than just launching into the ball with the clubhead.”
My coach often tells me ‘it is okay to be imperfect as long as you are consistent
RSNG How good do you feel your swing is now compared to what it was before?
CÉLINE BOUTIER “There is always more work to do – I think any golfer will tell you that.
“Recently I have been keeping the clubhead too far behind me and for too long. At times, this can create too much of a draw and the ball goes left. To speed up that routine by a fraction of a second has prevented so much swing coming from behind, but it is still a work in progress.
“It’s important for me to say: there are still many imperfections in the way I swing, and at some point – usually when you are shooting low scores – you need to accept those imperfections and move on to perhaps a different aspect of your game.
“My coach often tells me, ‘it is ok to be imperfect as long as you are consistent’, because you can begin to plan a path around those imperfections so that your game becomes as good as possible.
“If your imperfections are irregular, then you can never station yourself at a point where things are likely to get better.”
RSNG Where do you see yourself in the next year or so?
CÉLINE BOUTIER “For me, to be the number one French golfer is very special. That is an honor and something myself and my family are very proud of.
“Naturally it is not enough just to be that – I want to follow it up with tournament wins; and this is why I am so active as a golfer. I play as much as I can and I don’t like the feeling of not playing when I know I could be out there competing.
“I have been playing golf a good number of years now but I have never lost my appetite, and by making adjustments and improvements I feel I am now in a good place where my next win is just around the corner.”
WHAT NEXT? Check out week three of RSNG.com’s Zero To Hero golf strength workout program to power up your game, here….