You can be assured that the answer is a big Yes! The main reason is that apart from the US Masters the other majors have a set rotation of courses that they use, so it could be a gap of ten years before a course gets to host the next major.
During this period most golf courses make alterations to their course to try and keep up with the technology that threatens to make their courses obsolete.
Apart from the obvious lengthening, redesigning or reshaping of greens, these are the type of defenses that courses present to make it more challenging for the competitors.
With this in mind, competitors (and I believe the ones that have targeted majors as a priority) have qualified for the event well in advance, will leave no stone unturned in their preparation to win a major.
Most of these professionals are ranked in the top 50 in the world golf, and their playing schedule is locked in for the year, so they can make multiple visits to the venues prior to the tournament, and spend countless hours getting to know the course and it's nuances.
At this years US Open one of the professionals competing in the event brought his putting coach (David Orr) to Merion, and they spent countless hours on all quadrants of the 18 greens taking notes until they knew the movement, speed and where the grain of the grass grew.
And he did the same with his swing coach (Sean Foley) to map the course, and develop a strategy to play Merion from the tee's, and also the best approach line to the green from the fairway.
Yep the professional was Justin Rose, the eventual winner, and it is a testament that thorough preparation pays off!
This is the type of preparation that the top pro's see as essential preparation if you wish to succeed at the highest level.
You cannot do this during tournament week as it takes so much time, (approximately 8 hours) and you would be holding the field up an asked to move on. There are also rules on how many balls for each shot you may hit during practice rounds and officials are very strict and enforce the rules rigorously.
So tee shots and putting are the priority, but also testing out the sand in the bunkers, so that the appropriate technique can be applied for the best result.
Testing and practicing shots around the green with different clubs to get a feel of the conditions should always be on your agenda.To fast track local knowledge, speak with the local golf professional (or his/her assistant) about local conditions is always a good idea.
The great Ben Hogan was known to look back to the tee box from the green to get another perspective of how the hole looks.
Try this out yourself the next time you're at a tournament venue preparing to play in the tournament and you will see things more clearly, and you will notice many things that you can't see from the tee box and the fairway.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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