One of the first you notice when you go to a PGA Tour event or watch the Tour Players on TV is that they approach their shots the same way each time.
If you watch most amateurs, the same is not true. Sometimes they make a practice swing, sometimes not. They may stand behind their putt and pick an intermediate target, many times they don’t. There is no consistent pre-shot routine.
You have to remember that a pre-shot routines main purpose is a calming effect. Approaching your shots in the same fashion for each swing lets your mind go on autopilot. Repeating your routine each time helps you repeat your swing each time. This is particularly true when the pressure is on.
So what is a “good” pre-shot routine? Like many aspects of golf, everyone’s pre-shot routine is different.
Some players like to keep it very simple. They stand behind the ball, imagine the flight of the shot they’re going to hit, step up to the ball and hit away. Others are more deliberate and like to incorporate more aspects like a practice swing, picking an intermediate target, setting the clubface behind the ball in a certain spot, or using a certain technique to make a stance.
Whatever you choose to incorporate in your pre-shot is fine. Just do the same thing each time.
I think by now that most amateurs understand that the most important part of your scoring in golf comes down to putting. Your pre-shot routine is even more important on the greens.
Do yourself a favor and watch your favorite professional when he or she putts. You will see some sort of routine in action. Even if it’s as simple as reading the putt, setting the putter behind the ball, spreading the feet to get a comfortable stance, and hitting the putt.
Like a mentioned before, the main part of a per-shot routine is to get you in a groove. It’s up to you to choose what you want in your routine.
Most Professionals take a practice swing with the putter to get a feel for the distance. Does this mean you have to have this in your routine? No. Should you? Yes, you probably should. That’s why it’s important to watch what good players do on the golf course and incorporate it into your game.
Once you develop a good pre-shot routine, it doesn’t mean that this is going to be your routine for the rest of your golfing days. Just as you make swing changes, you pre-shot routine is also going to change over time.
Having a solid pre-shot routine not only will help you feel more comfortable on the golf course, but it will lead to lower scores.