I have a homework assignment for all of you suffering

through the winter without golf.

You are going to spend the rest of the off season doing two things.

1. Make a list of all the things in your pre-shot routine you do. Throwing up grass, lining up, practice swings, visualization, deep breathe, etc. I want you to pick the one that helps you relax the most and the one that helps you line up the best and eliminate the rest. If you can’t do it in less than 20 seconds, you only get to keep one of them.

2. Make a list of all your swing thoughts…and eliminate all of them but one.

Go out and play your first round when it gets warm enough. I bet most of you shoot as well or better than you were before you had to stop playing. The ones that don’t…you need to do this even more because you aren’t having enough fun playing golf.

Think of it like counting cards in blackjack. Most who try and do it, get confused and lose all their money. The ones who can do it, are thinking so much they don’t enjoy the act of playing.

Now if your only goal in golf is too shoot the lowest score possible…by all means disregard this post. If your goal is to have the best combination of fun and low scores…this may be the most important thing I have written.




  1. RexTak

    Good advice on just having one swing thought, as I tend to have at least a half dozen cluttering up my mind before I swing. I think I’ll just concentrate on rhythm for now.

  2. Sean

    How about, What is my target?

  3. Monte Scheinblum

    That is part of your pre-shot routine…visualization.

  4. Paul

    Here’s what I do in the winter to get me back on track come spring: countdown your pre-shot routine. Doing this takes your mind off swing thoughts and gets you in a good rhythm and tempo. I usually top out at 12 seconds starting from standing behind the ball and picking a target to starting my swing. My putting countdown is much less. Once I groove my countdown, I don’t do this in my head on the course. I just focus on target and go. Is 12 seconds too much? I don’t know. I’m going to experiment and see if I can get it down to 9 and see what happens.

    If you can find your “countdown,” and synch it, you’ll play more consistently and freely IMHO.

  5. geoff duncan

    Good post. I don’t do anything or think about anything before a shot. At least consciously. I’ve thought about trying some sort of waggle, but it doesn’t feel right. Any thoughts?

    • Paul

      My pre-shot routine consists first of locking in my target, then grip, stance, posture and weight distribution. I work really hard on this at the range so it becomes second nature and it gets me focused for the shot. You can practice this at home without hitting balls. Once I’m done with pre-shot, that’s it, I’m going. Live with the consequences, go find the ball and hit it again.


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