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Back to Basics: The Pre-Shot Routine


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The Golf swing relies on the coordinated movement of hundreds of muscles. These muscle must execute the exact same movement at the exact same time to consistently achieve the desired results. To routinely do things well you must routinely do them! A consistently executed pre-shot routine tells your muscles, “get ready, here we go”

 

A pre shot routine is something that every golfer goes through, it can be a certain wiggle, an approach, a mental note, or something else unique to that golfer. The idea behind a pre shot routine is to get you in the right frame of mind, and setup correctly for the shot you're attempting to make. Therefore it's essential you have one in place, but try and keep things simple, over complicating a pre shot routine can be detrimental. To get things started, here is a simple pre shot routine that You can try if you’ve not already established one.

 

Step 1–Establish a target line

 

Start behind the ball, you’re going to look at the general area you want your ball to land in. Then with your club, hold it vertically in front of you aiming it in the center of the area you want to hit. I call this the plumb bob technique. Using the line created from holding the shaft of the club vertical and aiming at the target area, pick out a marker 3ft in front of the ball that’s on that target line. It could be a broken tee or a divot or darker patch of grass, anything to help you align your clubface with your chosen target will do.

 

Step 2–Align your clubface

 

Now that you’ve established your target line, you can now step up to address the golf ball with the confidence that your aim is spot on. From this moment on, the process is quite repetitive. Firstly, place your hands on the club, keeping the clubface square. Then aim the clubface to the target line you created before you stepped up.

 

Step 3–Align your body

 

The next step is to align your body so that your hips, feet, legs, and shoulders are all parallel to the target line.

 

Step 4–Last check, now swing!

 

Now you have your target line, your clubface is lined up, and your body is setup correctly it’s time for a quick check. Take one or two glances at your intended target and let her rip! If you don’t hit it perfectly, don’t worry, your alignment work earlier should stand you in good stead–a great miss! If you want to increase your consistency then I urge you to implement this right away if you haven’t already.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using MyGolfSpy

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  • 11 months later...
On 4/8/2019 at 7:23 AM, SteddyGolf said:

 

The Golf swing relies on the coordinated movement of hundreds of muscles. These muscle must execute the exact same movement at the exact same time to consistently achieve the desired results. To routinely do things well you must routinely do them! A consistently executed pre-shot routine tells your muscles, “get ready, here we go”

 

A pre shot routine is something that every golfer goes through, it can be a certain wiggle, an approach, a mental note, or something else unique to that golfer. The idea behind a pre shot routine is to get you in the right frame of mind, and setup correctly for the shot you're attempting to make. Therefore it's essential you have one in place, but try and keep things simple, over complicating a pre shot routine can be detrimental. To get things started, here is a simple pre shot routine that You can try if you’ve not already established one.

 

Step 1–Establish a target line

 

Start behind the ball, you’re going to look at the general area you want your ball to land in. Then with your club, hold it vertically in front of you aiming it in the center of the area you want to hit. I call this the plumb bob technique. Using the line created from holding the shaft of the club vertical and aiming at the target area, pick out a marker 3ft in front of the ball that’s on that target line. It could be a broken tee or a divot or darker patch of grass, anything to help you align your clubface with your chosen target will do.

 

Step 2–Align your clubface

 

Now that you’ve established your target line, you can now step up to address the golf ball with the confidence that your aim is spot on. From this moment on, the process is quite repetitive. Firstly, place your hands on the club, keeping the clubface square. Then aim the clubface to the target line you created before you stepped up.

 

Step 3–Align your body

 

The next step is to align your body so that your hips, feet, legs, and shoulders are all parallel to the target line.

 

Step 4–Last check, now swing!

 

Now you have your target line, your clubface is lined up, and your body is setup correctly it’s time for a quick check. Take one or two glances at your intended target and let her rip! If you don’t hit it perfectly, don’t worry, your alignment work earlier should stand you in good stead–a great miss! If you want to increase your consistency then I urge you to implement this right away if you haven’t already.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using MyGolfSpy

 

Good start but it doesn't include information gathering or decision making.  Your routine needs to include everything done to execute a shot.  My suggestion is about 15-20 seconds of decision making followed by the ball flying within 10-15 seconds from your first step to the ball.  It should never vary +/- 1 second.  If it doesn't have a purpose, don't do it.  It should be rehearsed often and included when you practice.  If you don't it won't do a damn thing for you.  

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Great topic! Been working on this myself, as I have been learning about the "mental game" and what it means .. and importantly how to implement it! A good pre-shot routine is, well, routinely 😉 cited as the foundation of a good mental game. 

An excellent resource that I've found, and had the immense pleasure to participate in one of his clinics last year, and learned a LOT from is...
David McKenzie
Golf State Of Mind
(golfstateofmind.com and Insta @golfstateofmind)

He has a blog on his website that he updates fairly regularly, and there are a bunch of useful articles on how to construct your own solid pre-shot routine (amongst many other topics, including recent posts on techniques to help deal with the current situation and tension in general). 

This graphic is a good encapsulation / representation of David's teachings and method.....

243332030_Screenshot_20190325-135600(1).thumb.png.49a072f67b7fae366869cdf150c4b2e5.png

 

Also, the prior post mentioned "purpose" .. and I'm sure many here have read or heard of "Every Shot Must Have A Purpose" .. in which the authors talk about the "Think Box" and the "Decision Line" and the "Play Box" ... similar concepts (in my mind) to preparing first and then executing. A good read. 

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Always a good reminder.

I know it's not "legal" but I always take a practice swing beside the ball, then step up to the ball and go.

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  • GolfSpy MPR changed the title to Back to Basics: The Pre-Shot Routine

I agree with pre shot routine.  I think the issue is that some golfers get into a2 minute pre shot routine and then sit over the ball for another 30 seconds and add a ton more stress then they need to. Which is part of what makes the game slow.  I like how @SteddyGolf put it, pick a line, line up your club and body and go.  Keep it consistent but also keep it short and remember others are playing with you and they will feed off of your speed of getting the ball moving. 

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22 minutes ago, Erik-M said:

I agree with pre shot routine.  I think the issue is that some golfers get into a2 minute pre shot routine and then sit over the ball for another 30 seconds and add a ton more stress then they need to. Which is part of what makes the game slow.  I like how @SteddyGolf put it, pick a line, line up your club and body and go.  Keep it consistent but also keep it short and remember others are playing with you and they will feed off of your speed of getting the ball moving. 

Erik, just because I pushed you into joining the forum doesn't mean you need to call me out like that.

🙂

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1 hour ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Erik, just because I pushed you into joining the forum doesn't mean you need to call me out like that.

🙂

I definitely wasn't talking about you, we usually get 18 done in 2 hours! You have a direct fast routine. Can't complain 

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Just now, Erik-M said:

I definitely wasn't talking about you, we usually get 18 done in 2 hours! You have a direct fast routine. Can't complain 

Mostly referring to the times I set up to the ball and wait a bit before figuring out when to pull the trigger.

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2 hours ago, Erik-M said:

I agree with pre shot routine.  I think the issue is that some golfers get into a2 minute pre shot routine and then sit over the ball for another 30 seconds and add a ton more stress then they need to. Which is part of what makes the game slow.  I like how @SteddyGolf put it, pick a line, line up your club and body and go.  Keep it consistent but also keep it short and remember others are playing with you and they will feed off of your speed of getting the ball moving. 

I agree.  If you have prepared a routine, have a targeting plan, and know your yardages, an encompassing routine including striking the ball can be accomplished in 60 seconds or less.  Now, if everyone is working at the same time, when possible, you can have 2-4 balls flying inside of a total minute.  If you think your 60 seconds has to be consecutive, you have lost your damn mind.  Walking into the ball and striking is less than 13 seconds.  This idea that we have to watch each other is insane and is a big part of the problem.  

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28 minutes ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Mostly referring to the times I set up to the ball and wait a bit before figuring out when to pull the trigger.

I can help you, I'll just start yelling Hit It! Lol

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In my last round, I was moving along at a nice pace with no one ahead of me slowing me down. Good thing was, when I hit two poor shots, I was able to analyze what went wrong, drop a ball, and hit a second shot. Both were approaches with mid irons, and the second shots both hit the green, and went 8-10 yards further than the first. What I came away with is I need to go back to practicing my swing for the shot to be played as my pre-shot routine. I realized that I do a couple full swings with woods and hybrids on the tee box, but I don’t with irons once off the tee box. Gotta be consistent. Making the adjustment next round for sure!

 

 

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I may look like a wildman but at the range I like to perform the same set up before each shot. Take a practice swing behind ball, line up to target, one waggle, and go. I think it has really benefited my game and made me more consistent with all my clubs.

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Getting in a consistent routine has made a big impact on my game, especially off the tee.  My routine consists of:

1. Club and shot selection.  This is based on either knowing the hole and where I want to play or getting my yardage and looking at the hazards or layout of the landing area.  I’ll start thinking about what I want to the shot to look like before its my turn to hit.

2.  When its my turn I’ll stand behind the ball, visualize the shot once or twice and pick my starting line reference in front of my ball to assist aiming.  This is where I’ll take a little half-swing to feel loose.  I rarely take a full practice swing outside of the first tee box.  While this won’t work for everyone, I strongly suggest you give it a shot if you’re a two or three practice swing person.  I found I was wasting my good swings during those practice swings.

3.  Use my aiming reference in front of the ball to get set up for my shot.  Take one more look and visualize the shot going on my line.  Two waggles.  Set. Swing.  

The only time this changes for me is if I’m in a funky lie where I need to take a practice swing to see how the rough is or severely up or downslope where I need to feel the balance.  

My putting routine is very similar, all the thinking happens behind the ball.  Once I step up I’m really just there to hit the shot.  I read a great article talking about how the average pro takes only 8 seconds from the time they address the ball until they hit it.  There’s not a lot of wasted time available to start second guessing yourself. 

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/8-second-rule-are-you-standing-over-the-ball-too-long

It’s worth a quick read to see if there’s anything you can do to help take your game up a notch! 

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