A pre-shot routine is a routine that a golfer goes through before hitting a shot. This routine should have consistent physical and mental aspects. Most amateur golfers never work on their pre-shot routine. Some have never developed a routine. At the professional level though, the pre-shot routine is performed religiously on the course and driving range.
Imagine what you would do when you stepped up to the tee of the par 3 pictured above. What would be your thought process? Would your thought process give you the best chance to put the ball on the green? Many golfers would step up to this hole and the first thing they would think is “how am I going to keep it out of the water?” You probably won’t be shocked to know that this should not be your first thought. No matter what the situation you should have a consistent mental and physical routine. Whether you are on the driving range or on the 11th hole at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Jupiter (pictured above).
A Good Routine
Your routine should be personalized and specific to what you need to hit the best shot possible. However, there are a few characteristics that you should include in your routine.
- External focus at start of routine. Observe surroundings and get info (yardage, wind, uphill/downhill)
- After processing the necessary info, select your target, club and shot shape.
- Narrow focus. Visualize your shot. See the height, curve of the shot and where it lands. The more detailed the better.
- Make a practice swing and feel how you are going to hit the shot. Your practice swing can be slow motion, half swing or full swing. Whatever gives you the best feel.
- Step up to the ball and trust your aim and swing. Minimal to no swing thoughts once over ball.
Now once you have developed and practiced your routine, you will step up to the tee of the par 3 above and first think “what’s my yardage, where’s the wind.” Your routine will finish with you trusting your swing and hitting the green. Commit to developing a consistent mental and physical routine this year, and you will begin to play your best golf.