Why a Pre-Shot Routine Matters
There are 3 phases to a golf shot that you face every shot you attempt during your round.
You have the before, the during, and the after and each is very important to your overall success of the golf shot and its outcome.
Today we will start off discussing the before, which essentially means your pre-shot routine and what you do prior to hitting the golf shot. In a future article we can discuss the during and the after parts of handling a golf shot.
It’s important to realize that your pre-shot routine, what you do leading up to the golf shot, has a huge impact on how well you execute the golf shot. The pre-shot routine gives you a plan, confidence, and feel that will assist you in making the proper swing or stroke on the ball and getting the result you expected.
Without this plan, it’s unlikely your desired result will occur.
Golf Pre Shot Routine Tips for Success
Starting off, you need to have the right thoughts in your head before a shot because what you think about before your swing or stroke directly affects this swing or stroke. For example, I bet you’ve stood over a ball with water 10 yards in front of it and thought about hitting it into the water. Then you attempt the shot and hit it into the water. Coincidence?
To strike the ball well to your intended target requires the golf-swing to be fluid and in sync. Muscle tension, anxiety, and fear can all disrupt this fluidity in the golf swing and cause loss of control also considered “over control” where you are trying to force the motion rather than let it happen naturally.
To achieve this fluidity and natural rhythm you must have consciously executed this shot in your mind prior to doing it. The greatest golfers in the world are visionaries and have creative minds that see shots and then actually do them.
Tiger Woods is one example of someone who envisioned shots to miraculously pull off and then would do it. He got his conscious mind in sync with the natural fluidity of the golf swing, not letting any doubt or fear creep into his head.
Once you’ve envisioned the perfect shot you want to hit, you must clear all thoughts from your head prior to taking the shot.
This is one reason why so many golfers find themselves hitting the ball great on the golf range and then struggling to translate it over to the actual golf course. On the range, they are in rhythm and swinging without thinking.
They’ve shut the mind off from putting negative thoughts in their head. Out on the course, pressure, fear, anxiety, consequences, etc. creep into their mind and interfere with their natural ability to hit good golf shots.
If you’re going to be a consistent golfer, you have to develop a solid pre-shot routine. Let’s get into the “How To” phase of this article now shall we?
How to Perfect the Pre-Shot Routine
Step 1: The Thinking Phase – When you arrive at your ball, you’ll begin what’s known as the thinking phase or conscious phase. You’ll select your intended target, which type of shot you want to hit (draw, fade, high, low, etc.) as well as analyze the situation you are in. You’ll analyze how strong the wind is, how good is your lie, what are the risks and rewards, where are good places to miss, and where are bad places to miss as well as other factors. When you get done analyzing in the thinking phase, you should have clear intentions as to how you’ll approach this golf shot. Visualize that perfect golf shot you are going to strike.
Step 2: The Clear Your Mind Phase – as you approach your golf ball for the real shot after taking practice reps, you begin accessing the second phase of your mind. In this phase, your subconscious mind starts trying to take over and play trust games with you. How well do you trust your ability to hit a good shot? What if you shank it? What if you top it? Your subconscious mind starts interfering with your positive confident thoughts warning you of the bad outcomes that could occur if you fail.
The key in this phase is to shut your mind off after visualizing your perfect golf shot you are going to hit. Don’t let these thoughts creep into your head.
It’s easier said than done, but if you can practice shutting down your thinking as you step up to the ball for the real deal, you’ll find that your swing stays natural and fluid and you’ll hit great golf shots as envisioned.
You’ve already determined the target and shot type to hit. There is no need to further think when you step up to actually strike the golf ball. Shut off your mind. Win the mind game.
To help you shut off additional thoughts, focus strictly on the mental image of the perfect golf shot you are going to play.
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Your Challenge & Homework
Next time you are playing a round of golf, record how many times you successfully go through your routine and try to beat this every round until you’ve built a habit of doing it every golf shot.
Try to maintain a quiet mind, trust your ability, and focus on the perfect outcome of the shot at hand. When you begin thinking about score, what can go wrong, etc. your no longer focused on the shot at hand and bad results start to occur.
This is one reason why I don’t keep score until the turn after 9 holes or at the end of the round when I’ve played all 18. I go back and calculate hole by hole what my score was. It helps me keep score out of my mind during my rounds.
Try out these tips and let me know below in the comments how you are doing!
Additional Articles to Read:
- The #1 Key to Success in Golf is Consistency
- How to Spin Back Golf Shots Like the Pros
- The Ultimate Putting Tutorial
- How to Break 80 Blog Series
Golf Practice Routines to Score Lower
Here are several golf practice plans we offer with lots of worksheets and bonuses that come with your program. Click the links to learn more about each training plan.
- The 2 Hour Practice Routines with 10 Levels to Challenge You
- How to Break 70 Golf Training Plan
- How to Break 80 Golf Training Plan
- How to Break 90 Golf Training Plan
- The Bundle: Access to All 3 Training Plans
- 21 Day Indoor Golf Training Plan
- How to Coach High School Golf eBook
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