Golf Pre-Shot Routine (Step by Step)

In this video we cover the pre-shot routine and what I do in my own pre-shot routine. I’ll provide you with a checklist to help you understand step by step what things to remember for the pre-shot routine.

Step 1: Finding My Target & Visualize the Shot

The first thing I like to do as I walk up to the golf ball is look at the target ahead that I want to aim at. Then I draw a line from that target back to my golf ball to create my target line.

As I look at my golf ball I start to analyze things like how is my lie? Is the ball sitting in the rough, fairway? Is it sitting up or down below grass?

I also check my path again, the line I’m taking from my ball to my target and see if I have any trees, water, bunkers, or other obstacles in my way.

If I don’t think my current line is safe to aim at then I’ll look for another option to play like a gap in the woods to hit a punch out back to the fairway, rather than praying and hoping I can squeeze the ball between tree branches if I aim at the flagstick.

Step 2: Club Selection

Now that I’ve analyzed my ball, my shot I want to play, and visualized it, my next step will be picking out the golf club that’s going to help me achieve my desired outcome.

For example, if I need to hit a low golf shot, maybe I’ll hit a lower lofted club and take some power off of it so I don’t over hit it the wrong distance.

Or if I need to get over a bush or short trees, I may go for a higher lofted club like a gap wedge and use a little more power than normal to make up some distance if that club goes shorter than the normal club I would have used like my 9 iron for example.

Step 3: Take a Practice Swing

Next, I take my stance a few feet back of the golf ball so I leave room to make a practice swing. I grip my club and take a swing, getting a feel for the club motion during the swing as well as how it comes in contact with the grass.

With wet grass, I’ll feel it tugging on the clubface and it will alert me to account for wet grass which I may have missed during step 1 of the pre shot routine when I was analyzing my shot and lie.

Step 4: Take My Formal Stance

After one or two practice swings and visualizing the shot again off feel of the practice swings, I’ll take my stance to the golf ball.

Feet shoulder width apart for irons and slightly wider than shoulder width for driver/woods.

I’ll grip the club and set the clubhead behind the ball, checking the face to be aimed straight and not open/closed.

I’ll check my ball position to make sure it’s correct for the type of club I’m swinging. I’ve got a tutorial video and article on ball position you can check out on YouTube here. Subscribe to the channel!

Then I’ll make sure my weight is distributed correctly. For example, with driver, I’ll have more weight on my back leg.

Step 5: Clear My Mind of Thoughts

Lastly, I’ll clear my head prior to starting the swing. No more thinking. I’m ready to make the golf swing after going through the checklist of pre-shot routine items.

During the swing itself, I might have one thing on my mind to focus on which helps me avoid thinking several negative thoughts during the swing.

If I don’t have something to focus on, I may let my mind start worrying about slicing or pulling or hitting out of bounds or hitting into water.

Instead, I’ll be focused on a swing thought during the swing like “Get a full shoulder turn” or “fire the hips and get the weight transferred” or “start the backswing slowly and in control”

Overall, I hope my checklist for the golf pre shot routine is handy and you can use it to build your own pre shot routine!

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