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Pre Shot Routine
By definition pre shot routine means “do the same things before you hit the ball each and every time”. As an example, when you watch a basketball player before a free throw, they will do the same thing before the shot, whether it is to bounce the ball 3 times or flip it in the air and bounce it once... It’s their routine. The same is true for golf, you have to find the routine that gets you ready to hit the ball. As each person is different, so is their pre shot routine.
Your routine should consist of a maximum of 4 thoughts. The reason is, the less you think, the better. As an example, my pre shot routine is:
1) 2 practice swings to check tempo and follow through and release tension
2) Check feet alignment to make sure I am pointing at my intended target
3) Check ball position to make sure the ball is in the right spot of my stance for the club I am hitting.
4) Lastly, make sure I am the right distance from the ball.
Your routine may include other factors, such as grip, take away or down swing, etc. The other reason you want to keep the pre shot routine as short as possible is pace of play. Always be ready when it is your turn to hit.
The same idea on pre shot routine should be applied to putting as well, keep your routine down to a maximum of 3 items. My putting routine is;
1) 2 practice swings to check stroke length, follow through and release tension
2) Align putter head to target
3) Make sure my head is over ball
4) Finally, check ball position in stance
Sometimes you will have to change your routine as your ability changes but always make sure you are comfortable with your routine. Finally, when you play with better golfers watch what they do as part of their pre shot routine may benefit your game.