The Mental Side of Golf, The Pre-Shot Routine

Byron Nelson said that you must develop enough Confidence in your golf swing that you can trust it completely. You have to believe that your swing will work. Developing a good pre-shot routine can help. By going through the same routine leading up to a certain task, it’s amazing how that task will repeat itself more consistently. A consistent pre-shot routine should not only ensure proper aim and alignment but also help put you in the moment.

I always suggest that my students think of their favorite player on tour.  If you watch enough golf on Television, you will begin to notice that tour players go through the same routine each and every time before playing a shot. It is not a bad idea.

If you have not developed your own routine, try to emulate your favorite player on tour.  Take Freddy Couples for example.  I have been watching him play golf for over 20 years.  I have never once seen him hit a golf shot without first wiping his grip down with a towel or adjust his shirt sleeves.  His grips might be perfectly dry and his sleeves not need any attention at, but he sticks to the routine again and again.  This helps him to get in the moment and prepare to his shot long before he draws the club away from the ball.

For those of you who do not watch much golf on TV or don’t  have a favorite player, feel free to use my pre-shot routine:

  1. Stand about 5 feet behind your ball looking toward your target.
  2. Draw an imaginary line from your ball to your primary target.  This is your Target Line.
  3. Pick something out on the ground directly on this line about 3-5 feet in front of your ball.  It could be an old divot, a broken tee, leaf, etc… There will always be something on the ground that can be used.  This is referred to as an Intermediate Target.
  4. Walk up to your ball and even before you grip the club, square the club face up with your Intermediate Target.
  5. Now visualize a line that starts just behind your ball, goes through your intermediate target and continues to your primary target and beyond.  This is your Primary Target Line. 
  6. Now work hard to make sure your foot line, knee line, hips, shoulders and eyes are parallel to your Primary Target Line.  Your Body Lines and Target Line should be running parallel to one another like Train Tracks.
  7. Take a couple of looks at your primary target and fire away.

Again going through this or a similar routine will not only ensure proper aim and alignment, but it will help to put you in the moment and lead to more consistent golf shots, resulting in lower scores and more enjoyment.

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