A Good Golf Pre-Shot Routine: Necessity for Every Golfer
Ian Hughes, PGA Teaching Professional, GolfTEC
You might ask yourself, "Why do I need a pre-shot routine?" Or for that
matter, "What is a pre shot routine?" A pre-shot routine is quite simply
the habits or actions one takes in the few seconds before the golf swing
So, why is a good routine necessary? It is important because it allows us
to relax, and it enables us to develop something that is repeatable in a
game where even the best players in the world struggle with constancy,
accuracy, and repetition.
The next question to ask yourself is, "Do I have a pre-shot routine?" If
the answer is "yes", is it a good one? If the answer is "no", your golf
game will benefit from developing one.
Let's take a look at some components of professional's pre-shot routines
vs. amateur's routines to see how yours measures up.
The difference that I see between most amateurs and professionals lies in
the quality of their pre-shot routines and their ability to repeat their
routine time in and time out. Most amateurs will hastily walk up to the
ball and then make two practice swings, then one time they will make no
practice swings, and then waggle three times the next. These random
actions breed inconsistency.
Meanwhile, professionals will go through the same repeatable course of
action each time. This enables them to put their mind at rest. By knowing
you have done your routine thousands of times, it allows the mind to focus
on the actual shot at hand, thereby eliminating negative thoughts, which
wreak havoc on most amateur golfers. A good pre-shot routine will also
distract you from the pressure of each shot. You can concentrate on
repeating your routine, rather than worry about the possible negative
outcomes of the shot at hand.
A great example of this would be David Toms' performance during the 2001
PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Toms had a 12-foot putt on
the 72nd hole to win his first major championship. Toms was able to focus
on the task at hand by relying on his pre-shot routine. It enabled him to
put his pounding heart and shaking hands aside and concentrate on his
speed, line and stroke. When the ball was halfway to the hole, Toms knew
he had sunk the putt and won his first major championship.
A good pre-shot routine is beneficial to players of all abilities. Not all
pre-shot routines should be the same, but yours should be one that is
repeatable and relaxing.
Here are a few tips to work with to develop a good pre-shot routine.
Start behind the golf ball and envision your target.
Once you have focused on a target, make a practice swing with your eyes
remaining focused on your target.
As you swing, envision the perfect result from your shot.
Now step up to the ball and take your address.
Once you are comfortable with your address, take a deep breath, releasing
the tension in your body as you exhale.
Finally, take one last look at target to improve focus and let it rip.
If you are having a problem developing a good pre-shot routine,
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