You look at any pro golfer, any good amateur, anyone on single figures really. You can bet they all have one thing in common. A consistent pre-shot routine.
A pre-shot routine gives your body something to do, it helps things feel comfortable, a feeling that everything is where it should be – so all you need to do is swing freely and effortlessly. It strips tension and anxiety away. It helps remove distraction.
Most golfers will have some semblance of a pre-shot routine even if they are not aware of it, but it is the really good golfers who will have a consistent pre-shot routine that they are aware of and can reproduce, often without thought.
A good first step to establishing a pre-shot routine is to write it down. Actually write down the steps you take. Then say them out loud. Close your eyes and imagine yourself doing that routine. Then repeat the routine for every shot you hit on the practice fairway. Then on course. Before long, you will have established this motor pattern, embedded it within your neural pathways, and established a routine.
There is no one perfect routine. Try experimenting. What feels good? What feels natural? What feels relaxed? Obviously 7 practice swings and 15 waggles is not what you are after. A succinct, non nonsense, 3 or 4 processes then swing routine is what you are aiming for. It needs to cover alignment, setup, free tension . . . swing.
A golf pro is a great person to see to help you establish a pre-shot routine that works for you. If you find yourself hitting the ball and saying ‘I just never felt comfortable over that’ or hitting the ball only to see it start and finish down a completely different line to what you expected, or finding that when it comes to the crunch shots, the ones you really need to deliver on, you don’t – then there is a very good chance it is your pre-shot routine letting you down.
Come and see us in the pro shop, we’d love to help you with consistency in your pre-shot routine. A more consistent pre-shot routine = more consistent golf.