TOP 3 GOLF TIPS – Get A Great Pre-Shot Routine

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Here we look at how to nail a great pre-shot routine by asking the right questions, nailing your alignment and committing to the shot!

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Comments

Gregg Daniels says:

Great video. So simple. Definitely giving this a whirl.

Chris says:

It’s widely accepted that slow play is one of the main challenges for the game of golf. Typically a professional tournament round takes over five hours, and amateur rounds on much shorter, easier courses are often 4 hours plus. One of the reasons why people are not playing more, and sometimes even leaving the game is because they are unwilling or able to waste half a day of their precious leisure time standing around waiting to hit a golf shot.

The R & A believe the problem to be so serious, and such a threat to the game that they have for the first time ever, issued guidelines for how long a round of golf should take. There are a number of reasons why the pace of play has slowed. The distance the ball travels and the consequential lengthening of courses is one of them. 

But I believe the main reason golf has slowed to a crawl in the last 30 years is a superstition which has crept into the upper echelons of the sport, and then spread to the amateur game through imitation, the Pre Shot Routine.

A Pre Shot Routine or Ritual is a set of actions or thoughts which the golfer makes before every shot, in order to achieve the ‘optimum’ state of mind, enhance consistency and improve play and scores. This practice has been promoted by most of the game’s psychologists and mind coaches. Well meaning I’m sure, but it has no basis in fact, and is a huge factor in the increasing length of time it takes to play a round of golf.

Before I explain why the Pre Shot Routine is no more beneficial to the golfer than belief in the power of a pair of Lucky Underpants, let’s see how long the use of a pre shot routine can add to a round. 

Imagine a three ball made up of good players. They all have a pre shot routine which takes 30 seconds. Not that long, and well within the time allowed by the rules of golf to play a shot. 

They average a score of level par, 72 strokes. So that’s 216 shots between them for the round. For ease of calculation, let’s say they have 6 tap ins each, which they don’t use their routine for, but they have half a dozen shots where they got disturbed by something, or didn’t think they did the routine properly and chose to start again.

216 x 30 seconds is 108 minutes. One hour and 48 minutes longer than the round would have taken if they had just got the yardage, pulled a club, looked at the target, set up and hit it. 

Even if they were good players who were aware of the pace of play and overlapped their pre shot routines a little, it’s very easy to see how this practice can add well over an hour to a round of golf, which is pretty much spot on the time a round of golf has increased by in the past 30 years. 

In this example they are good players, shooting close to level par. Imagine a 4 ball of 85 shooters all using similar routines! Now you start to have serious issues with daylight unless you tee off before lunchtime.

If a Pre Shot Routine was a sure fire way of playing better and enjoying golf more, I guess there could be an argument for accepting the effect it has on the pace of play. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, and in there is a very strong argument that adopting a pre shot routine will make you play worse, rather than better.

I can guarantee that 99% of Tour players use a pre shot routine. Do they all play well every week? Or does their performance in relation to their peers vary just like everyone else’s does? Are some players using a better routine than others? Are some performing it better? 

So why has this strange practice been adopted so widely by the best golfers in the world, and filtered down to a high percentage of those who play at all levels? 

Most of the time, a Pre Shot Routine is offered as a coping strategy for the tense feelings or anxiety we all feel from time to time on the golf course. The theory being, if you have a prescribed pattern of thoughts and actions that you practice often enough, they will happen automatically, block out the external circumstances causing the feelings, stop ‘negative’ thoughts from intruding, and your performance will be more consistent.

Unfortunately this well meaning advice is offered from a complete misunderstanding of how the human mind works and how we experience the world, and by doing so perpetuates this misunderstanding while at the same time taking the golfer further away from the state of mind in which he or she will perform best.

In no other activity in my life have I been advised to, or ever been tempted to use anything like a golf Pre Shot Routine. I don’t have a Pre Shaving Routine, or a Pre Driving to Work Routine, or a Pre Slicing Vegetables routine, or a Pre Mowing the Lawn Routine, despite some of these activities requiring similar amounts of precision, technique and coordination as hitting a ball into a hole with a stick. With some of them, the consequences of making a mistake could be much more serious than making a double bogey. 

I don’t ‘visualise’ the stripes on my lawn or small pieces of carrot, I don’t rehearse my shaving stroke, I don’t try to get myself into the optimum state of mind to brake, change gear and navigate a roundabout, I just get on and do all these things without much thinking, stress, anxiety or problems. 

If I nick myself shaving, as happens occasionally, I don’t formulate a strategy to cope with negative thinking about it, I just have a little more awareness next time, and pretty soon I’ve forgotten about it. It doesn’t become a ‘problem’.

Despite how it looks sometimes, our feelings are never coming from the situation or circumstances we find ourselves in. The ‘pressure’ we sometimes feel on the golf course is always coming from our own thinking, never from the state of the game or tournament, or the score, or our opponent or our golf swing, or the golf course. It may well look that way in the heat of the moment, but it just doesn’t work that way.

Big Knipper says:

cant wait to see how this works for the next round i play, all 3 seem to make perfect sense especially the feeling of not quite sure of the shots

Oviblin says:

are you pro? nice swing

Rene Rosendahl Rasmussen says:

Hi Peter. Thanks for a really good channel! When videos are getting a bit longer and with multiple things to remember, it would really help someone like me with a half minute summary in the end. Keep up the good work. Br René

mindykateashley says:

Three very good tips, Peter. Thanks. Oh how hard it is to decide to go through the pre shot routine a second time when everyone is watching and waiting for you to have your shot. The outcome for oneself will always be better I'm sure.

david hovde says:

Thank you.. I have spent a lot of time hitting balls and playing but less on this and it is so important.

bobby s says:

great video, you have a great teaching manner. wish i stayed closer to manchester for some lessons

aces 1982 says:

Alignment, can be a real issue with me. I literally concentrate so much on my swing or making solid contact, that i can aim it totally off target. Only thing that helps is if i slow down, but it does happen at some point in the round!!!!So frustrating lol!!!

Semper Fi says:

Thanks and another great video

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