The pre-shot routine is the single biggest cause of slow play on the golf course right now. We have been led to believe that a pre-shot routine is a long drawn out process that will be the miracle leading us to consistency and better scores.
A pre-shot routine has one purpose…possibly two(alignment help). The main purpose of a pre-shot routine is create a “routine” that is easily repeatable in order to calm you and prepare you to hit the shot.
THE ONLY REQUIREMENT OF A PRE-SHOT ROUTINE IS THAT IT IS THE SAME EVERY TIME. THE MORE STEPS YOU INCLUDE AND THE LONGER IT IS, THE HARDER IT WILL BE TO REPEAT.
Here is a list of things that people have been told to include in their pre-shot routine and SHOULD NOT. This list is not comprehensive, but you will get the idea.
1. Checking the yardage
2. Selecting the club
3. Throwing up grass a set number of times
4. Standing behind the ball for 2 minutes visualizing the exact shot you are going to hit
5. Standing over the ball frozen for 45 seconds and going over your 14 step swing checklist
6. Going through a complicated, precise alignment process
7. Taking practice swings till you get one that feels right.
#1-3 should be done just before it is your turn to hit, while you are waiting for the group in front of you to clear…or while another player is hitting as long as it is not in his/her sight line.
#4 can be done in less than 5-10 seconds. any longer, your visual will get stale.
#5 you are only allowed one swing thought and you should never freeze over the ball…always be waggling.
#6 won’t get you lined up straight, you will just waste time and confuse yourself. You are hitting at a target up to 300 yards away, do you really think being a few inches off in your alignment is going to make a huge difference? Don’t get me wrong, alignment is very important, but grinding too hard on it gets you too focused on perfect alignment and not focused on the shot you are hitting…and more importantly, the target. Plus, lining up your body to the ball should be automatic from practicing it on the range. If you don’t practice enough to get that down…do you think grinding for 2 minutes over the ball to line up straight is going to help?
#7 is a joke. If it is taking you more than 1 or 2 practice swings to get one that feels right, you wasted your one good swing on a practice swing.
I have implemented long drawn out pre-shot routines that were suggested to help my focus and alignment. All they did was lock my brain up grinding on keeping my long routine the same.
I stand behind the ball and visualize my shot for about 3-5 seconds. I visualize a line from the ball to the target where I want the ball to start. I walk into the ball, take a practice swing to get my body loose, address the ball, one look at the target while I waggle…and go. Takes about 20 second to get the ball in the air.
Again, all a pre-shot routine is supposed to be is the same every time. A routine that you can repeat will calm you on a pressure shot because the repeated routine will make it feel like just another shot. If you want to add in lining up to a little piece of grass in front of the ball to help your alignment, that’s an extra 5 seconds that won’t do you any harm.
This video is what has made pre-shot routines a joke and rounds of golf 6 hours long.