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Golf Tips: Pre-Shot Routine

If you watch professional golfers on TV, chances are you’ve noticed that each of them has a unique style of play. A big part of the personal touch in somebody’s game is what’s known as the player’s pre-shot routine — the orchestrated steps a golfer takes before every shot.

Every professional uses a pre-shot routine — whether simple or more complicated — in their game, and they do it for a reason. Keep reading to learn why you should, too.

Why Golfers Use a Pre-Shot Routine

Despite popular belief, golfers don’t only use a pre-shot routine to slow down the round. They actually find a lot of value in having a premeditated, consistent approach to every shot they take.

Here are some of the biggest ways in which a pre-shot routine can help your game:

  • A pre-shot routine will help you establish a rhythm that will translate to less-rushed shots.
  • When you slow your round down a bit, you’ll be able to give every shot a higher level of focus. You’ll start playing with the mindset that every shot counts.
  • Don’t be surprised if a consistent pre-shot routine before every swing improves your overall consistency on the course. You’ll start making better shots more often.

Common Elements of Pre-Shout Routines

As stated above, there isn’t a default pre-shot routine. Golfers of all levels, including the pros, mix and match different elements until they feel comfortable and confident in the routine they’ve created. Then they commit to that pre-shot routine before every shot.

Here’s a brief sampling of good habits to think about incorporating into your own pre-shot routine:

  • A practice swing or two: A practice swing should be taken with the same intent as a real swing. If you’re going to take the time to take a practice swing, put the effort into it so you can feel what you want to do when you’re actually at the ball.
  • Visualization & alignment of the shot: You’ll see a lot of golfers standing behind their golf ball and deciding on a target during their pre-shot routines. A good tip is to locate a spot (a divot, a leaf, a tuft of grass, etc.) six or so inches ahead of your ball on the line you want to hit it, and aim your club to that nearby spot instead of the distant target.
  • Consistent length of time: If you waggle your club a couple of times at setup, or if you shift your feet a little before starting your swing, that’s fine. The key is to be consistent, though. Get into a good rhythm with your pre-shot routine and use it the same way and for the same amount of time before every shot.
Hot Tip: Don't Forget to Practice

A routine only becomes a routine after you repeat it so many times that it starts happening naturally, without any thought. The best way to get your pre-shot routine down on the course is to start doing it on the driving range, too. Before every single shot, practice your pre-shot routine. Stand behind the ball, choose a target, set up to it, waggle your club – whatever your routine happens to include. Make it a habit, and your game will grow more consistent.

Customize & Commit

Again, no matter what your pre-shot routine ends up looking like, you owe it to yourself to create one that feels right. It will help you gain confidence in your swing and allow you to focus on every single shot. Once you have a set of steps you feel comfortable with, commit to them.

Practice the routine before every shot on the driving range and short-game practice area, and bring it to the golf course when it’s time to play. If you do that, you’ll begin to see yourself play at least a little bit more like the pros on TV.

Every good golfer does what's known as a pre-shot routine before every shot. Let this guide help you build consistency and confidence in your game by creating your own.
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