The series of rituals and routines you habitually do before every shot is called your golf pre-shot routine…good golf starts here.
If you have ever had the opportunity to watch a great player – live or on television -you will have noticed that before playing any shot, they take themselves through a small series of rituals. These rituals are what golfer’s refer to as their pre-shot routine; they are designed to settle the player down – physically, emotionally and mentally – for the shot at hand.
Each player has a routine that is unique and personal to them; no two routines are identical. They contain many components and a player’s routine should focus on the key elements that are important to settle their nerves.
What components would I suggest placing in your routine?
At the start of every routine, there should be some calculation and planning. Figure out the yardage you are about to play, factor in any wind or elevation adjustments, select the club for the shot and commit to your decision. If you are not going to trust the planning and commit to it, then you might as well not bother planning at all.
Once you have your club selection completed, take your body through a rehearsal swing (often referred to as a practice swing) or two to loosen up and find a rhythm. Use these swings to get a feeling for what you are attempting to do, and be sure to not cram them full of technical and analytical swing thoughts. Remember it is more about finding a sense of rhythm and tempo than it is trying to improve your swing.
With your rehearsal swings taken care of, you must take a moment to visualize the task at hand. Take a couple of deep breathes and try to use imagery to shape a picture in your mind of the positive outcome you desire. For example, you can envision the flight-path your ball will be taking or imagine the ball landing close to the hole.
Regardless of what you choose to include in your routine, you should ensure that it remains consistent for every shot. To hit consistent shots, you must prepare for each shot in a consistent fashion.
Don’t just think consistent in the content; think in terms of length as well. Your ritual should take you roughly the same length of time for each shot, regardless of the difficulty or importance of the shot itself.
Developing good pre-shot habits will have a positive impact on your game; get out on the range and spend some time building yours today.
The next time you practice be sure to rehearse your pre-shot routine!
Have the BEST day you can!
Trevor Moore – CPGA, TPI-CGFI, CFI