Pre-shot routine is often talked about in golf communities. Different players have different pre-shot routines to improve their game. It ultimately comes down to you how you want to craft your routine to have the best outcome at the course possible. And we’re going to school you on that front.
What we will do, however, is guide you in the right direction. We’re going to cover the main pointers about what are the things that matter the most for a pre-shot routine.
Why is a Pre-Shot Routine Even Necessary?
The concept of having a pre-shot routine may not make much sense if you think about it from a golf perspective. But when you try to understand it from a more elaborate perspective.
For example, what do you do before an exam? You study, right? You practice the problems that might help you during the exam. You figure out a plan on how you want to approach each topic.
The same is true for a golf round. You need to tackle different problems throughout the round. So, you need a plan about how you want to take each shot. You need practice swings to get your blood going. The whole point of a pre-shot routine is to prepare you for what’s coming.
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How to Craft a Perfect Pre-Shot Routine
A pre-shot routine actually doesn’t start when you approach the ball for the first time. It may as well start when you’re still at home! As we said, it’s more of a personal preference. In this section, we’re going to guide you on how you can prepare yourself a killer pre-shot routine as you like it.
Everything Starts with a Trigger
We all have triggers for what we do, right? For example, the reason you searched for a pre-shot routine on the internet is that you want to make yourself one, right? The urge to have a routine was the trigger in this case.
Similarly, you need a trigger before you go to the course and play your round. It can be you entering the course, getting your clubs ready, or simply putting the Velcro on your glove. The purpose of a trigger in golf is to give you the signal to assess your shot.
Get the Rangefinder
Once your trigger is fired, it’s time things get real. One of the most important aspects of approaching a shot is to measure the distance properly. An interesting fact is many rookie players go wrong in this simple step because they’re reluctant to use a rangefinder.
How can you get the right club to hit the right distance if you don’t even know how far away you are from the target? That’s why we always recommend our readers to get a rangefinder, even if it’s an entry-level model.
Measuring the distance correctly should be one of your first tasks as part of your pre-shot routine. If you don’t want to invest in a rangefinder, every golf course has markings at certain intervals. Talk with the course curator to know where they are. You may have to walk to the market to see exactly how far away you are.
After you accurately measure the distance you need to cover, it’s time to get the right club. For this to happen, you need to know all of the clubs in your bag like the back of your hand. You need to know exactly how much can you cover with a particular club.
When you’re creating your pre-shot routine, you also need to consider the overall condition of course. If there’s a strong wind, you may need to take more club. If the surface is muddy, you may need to get a club with a higher loft to get more carry and less roll.
The bottom line is, the club you choose and the distance you need to cover need to align. You can’t expect to hit 200 yards with a club that’s designed to cover 150 yards, no matter how fast you swing.
Always Pick Your Target
One of the key elements of every golf shot is picking out the target. By target, we don’t mean the flag or the hole. Rather, your target needs to be the point where you need to land your ball. This is where many of the rookie players go wrong. They target the flag instead of the point where they want to land.
When you were using the rangefinder, this is the point you want you to look for. However, you shouldn’t look at a patch of grass on the ground because it won’t give you enough depth to register the distance in your brain. So, you need to pick something that sticks out from the rest of the surroundings. For example, a big tree.
The key is to pick a secondary target as well. This target needs to be a few inches ahead of the ball. The previous target you picked was your long-distance target. When you align both of these targets as you approach the shot, you can stay assured that your club face is square at impact.
A Few Practice Swings
This might seem obvious to a lot of you. You may have been doing it every time you’re at the course as well. But you need to make it a part of your pre-shot routine. Practice swings work as a great warm up exercise.
The reason we’re asking you to do a few practice swings is to help you envision your shot. As you’re swinging without actually hitting the shot, you can feel what it’s going to be. It might be a fade, a draw, or even a slice. Based on this instinct, you need to adjust the next swing. Finally, when you’re confident, you can actually hit the ball.
Addressing the Ball
You’re at the final stage of your pre-shot routine. After this stage, you’re going to hit the ball for real. Addressing the ball simply means taking your stance, resting the club head on the ground behind the ball, and taking a deep breath before you swing.
Another important part of addressing the ball is squaring up the club face. You need to align yourself and the club with the target line. And you need to repeat this process before every shot. That’s why it’s very important to make this a part of your pre-shot routine so you don’t forget.
One tip we’d like to share is that don’t stand over the ball for too long. Other than annoying other players around you, it’ll let your mind slide into things you don’t want to think. Keep your mind fresh and be done with the shot. Don’t take any time you don’t need to think about unnecessary things.
Work on Your Short Game
The pre-shot routine you’ve worked on so far will work great with the full-swing shots as well as the short game. But the majority of shots you take in a round comes under the umbrella of the short game. So, it’s only wise to create a pre-shot routine for the shorter shots.
Part of the short game pre-shot routine is to practice with the short game clubs. We mean the clubs you’ll use for chipping, pitching, and putting. This is where you need to read the green and surrounding areas with naked eyes. Once you’re 50 yards or closer to the target, there’s no point in busting out the big boy. We mean the rangefinder.
Another difference is that you no longer need a secondary target. The flag pole should already be in the vicinity to work as your primary target. From there on, simply practice a few blank swings, take a deep breath and focus on the hole.
Accept the Final Result
We all have our good days and bad days at the course. There’s no point in clinging to a bad day and fear that the next day will turn out the same. Simply accept what happened and move on. Golf is just a part of life.
The reason we’re including this life lesson in a golf guide is that we’ve seen many players get into a vicious cycle of negative thoughts over a single bad shot. Just enjoy the shot, look at the natural beauty of course around you, and call it a day when you’re done.
Practice at the Range
This might come as a surprise to many of you but you need to practice your pre-shot routine as well. It might seem like there’s nothing to practice but you’ll notice how hard it is to maintain a sequence of actions if you’re not accustomed to it. If you attempt your newly-crafted pre-shot routine at the course for the first time, you may end up increasing your score by a few shots!
Our recommendation is to set aside a day at the driving range to practice your pre-shot routine. Feel how it feels to have a structured approach to every shot.
Pre-shot routines might not be a fundamental element of golf. You can always be a great player without any regard for a routine. But it’s good practice to have a structure to your playing. And in the long run, it’ll teach you how to be more organized in life.