The Importance of a Pre-Shot Routine
One of the biggest differences I see between the weekend golfer and the golfer you see playing on television every weekend is the preparation they take before each shot. Before I delve deeper into the theory behind the Pre-Shot Routine, I would like to clarify that the proper preparation for a golf shot should not equate to, or result in slow play. Although there is not a specified time a pre-shot routine should take, it should not unduly slow down play. Your routine should actually start while your fellow competitors are playing in order to ensure your readiness.
Similarly to what a basketball player does to prepare for a pressure packed foul shot, the pre-shot routine in golf gets the golfer physically and mentally prepared to hit a fully committed golf shot. Pressure and nerves are major factors in the game of golf. Whether it is a match for a soda with your friend or Phil Mickelson trying to win a major championship, the pressure felt inside is the same. The major difference is how the pressure is handled. Unfortunately, the normal response to pressure or nerves by the weekend golfer is to speed everything up. Their heart rate increases, swing gets quicker, and in general all mannerisms speed up. Consequently the proper reaction is to slow everything down. This is where the pre-shot routine comes into play. Phil relies on his pre-shot routine to slow everything down and become both relaxed and mentally and physically prepared for the shot. Your pre-shot routine should be the same from the first shot of the day until the last. It should not change due to pressure or nerves and unfortunately for the weekend golfer, this is what typically occurs. I highly recommend developing a simple pre-shot routine and constantly practicing this routine on the golf course and during your practice sessions on the range. In conclusion, a solid pre-shot routine will help to eliminate the nerves and pressure along with allowing the player to approach the ball not only with confidence, but the ability to concentrate solely on the shot at hand.
1. Evaluate your lie and wind conditions.
2. Choose the appropriate club for the shot.
3. Stand behind the ball directly on the target line (line from the ball to the target).
4. Apply your grip to the club.
5. Take one practice swing.
6. Take a deep breath and visualize the shot you would like to hit.
7. Approach the ball, set the clubface behind the ball aiming at your target.
8. Set your feet parallel to the target line.
9. Take a look at the target.
10. Waggle the club to release any tension.
11. Hit the shot and come to a balanced finish.
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