A pre-shot routine is a technique that all world-class golfers use to mentally and physically prepare themselves for every single shot they hit. Whether it’s the first shot of the round, or the last putt of the day, the pre-shot routine for many club golfers is often overlooked or even non-existent.
In my opinion, the key to a solid routine is consistency. Many golfers start with the right intentions, however a few holes into the round or when things aren’t going their way, they often stop their pre -shot routine.
One of the main advantages of a consistent pre-shot routine is that it encourages you to get into a positive mindset. This is especially important when the pressure creeps in or when you are facing a demanding shot.
Your pre-shot routine doesn’t have to take a long time, as we all probably agree, no one likes slow play on the course. You should be aiming to build a routine that takes 30-40 seconds before each shot.
Below is an example of a 4-stage checklist that all golfers should have as part of their pre-shot routines:
As you approach your ball, you need to consider factors such as; how is the ball lying? What is the wind direction? How far do you have to the pin? And, where is the trouble? The answers to these questions help you to choose your club selection.
Now that you have chosen your club, the next stage is to prepare yourself for the shot you are about to play. Firstly, take 1 or 2 practise swings behind the ball, whilst imagining the shot you would like to hit. Then, walk into your set up position aiming the clubface at your intended target first, then align your feet to match.
At this stage you should be over the ball and ready to make your swing. Take one last look at your target, take a deep breath and then make a committed swing. It is important not to freeze over the ball or allow your body to become too static.
Once you have made your swing, you have a time frame to evaluate the outcome of your shot. When you arrive at your ball, the previous shot should be cleared out of your mind, so that you are ready to focus on the next swing and repeat your routine again.
To build your own pre-shot routine will take time, consistency and practise. It is something you should rehearse regularly on the driving range and short game area, before taking it on to the golf course. Once you have rehearsed this over a long enough period of time, it will become an established part of your routine and you will start to see improvements out on the golf course.
Article first published in NSRCC magazine Resort View, May/June 2022 issue.
Louis Farrelly has over 10 years of coaching experience in the UK and Portugal. He competed in various tournaments and represented Portugal in the 2009 World Golfers Championship. Read more about him here!