What is a pre shot routine? It’s the way we go about preparing for a shot, pretty easy explanation eh! Sorry, it’s the Olympics and the Canadian is coming out in me! Go Canada Go! Ok, I’m done….
I was making my post on how to practice golf when I totally forgot I haven’t shed any light on this important aspect. A few years back I attended a very high profile player camp for Canadian Golf and learned so much from that. One thing that I stood out for me was how we go about preparing to hit each shot. I will go on record and say 95% of golfers do nothing to prepare themselves for the shot ahead.
Lucky for you all I am here to change that number and open your eyes to what all good players do before each shot.
The first step is to look at your shot ahead and select the club you will hit based on what is in front of you and the elements. Is there any trouble around around my landing area? What spot is the easiest to hit my next shot from? What way is the wind going? These are all questions you should ask yourself before selecting a club.
Once you selected a club, stand behind your ball and start to visualize the shot you want to hit and where it will end up. My post on mental golf touched on positive thinking and this is exactly what we are doing here, thinking about a positive outcome. While you are visualizing the shot you want to hit try and take a practice swing or two with your head up still visualizing the shot. This allows your eyes to see the shot you want to hit while your body is feeling how to hit that shot.
After this is done select your target. Your target is not where the shot will end up but just an aiming point.
Now that you have a club selected, a positive visual in your mind and a target you can get ready to address the ball but before you do that you need to align yourself to the target. Do this by drawing an imaginary line back from your target to the ball. Focus on a spot a foot in front of the ball on this imaginary line and square the club face to that spot. This is easier than trying to get squared up to your target some 100+ yards away!
Once you have your spot pick out and you’re standing over the ball be sure to be relaxed by gripping the club gently so that there is no tension in your hands and arms. Waggle the club a few times also to ensure we are loose over the ball and not standing there tightening up. Watch the video below of Tom Watson to see how he waggles the club.
I also suggest standing over the ball for a short period of time. This allows you to still have those positive thoughts in your head and will stop you from thinking about many different swing thoughts. Be sure that when you do waggle it is consistent in how many times you do so.
To summarize how we can develop a solid golf pre shot routine see below.
1) Select a club by analyzing the shot ahead and any elements that may interfere with the shot.
2) Stand behind the ball and visualize the shot you want to hit and a positive outcome.
3) Pick out a target that is your aiming point and draw an imaginary line back from that target to the ball to ensure proper alignment.
4) Address the ball and waggle the club a few times. This will relieve any tension in your arms but be sure to stand over the ball for a short period of time.