Pre-shot Routine

Pre-shot Routine: Focus On Process NOT Results for Lower Scores

Good golf is a series of individual shots, executed as best we can. Having expectations about what you should score for your round, thinking about the last shot, or ahead to “what if I birdie this hole” will only prevent you from playing your best. The only thing within your control is the present moment, which is where you solely need to be to lower your scores. If you can start to measure your success by things other than score (i.e. how well you stuck to your process for every shot), you will see better results. The more you practice this, the more it will become a habit and part of your sub-conscious thinking.

There are several reasons why the Shot routine, or “Process” is so integral to any golf game:
If we follow it meticulously, we know we’ve done everything we can to prepare for the best execution of the shot. This is a big confidence booster.

[subscribelocker] We can ensure we’re set up correctly. Even the best players in the world work on their fundamentals so doing a quick check to ensure grip, ball position, alignment, stance width and posture are correct, is key.
It gives you a plan and positive focus before every shot. Without this, self doubt and negativity can creep in.
It enables us to choose the right shot. Don’t just aim at the pin without thinking about where the good miss is. With every shot, there is a better side to miss (to get up and down and avoid the big numbers) and this is where we should err. Make a good club selection and choose the right target.

We can see the shot before hitting it. Visualize the shot, seeing it’s trajectory, shape and what it does when it lands (with ALL shots). The body responds far greater to images than words, so when it sees what it must do it helps enormously.
Feel that shot. Imagine you are playing that shot, and ONLY that shot. Every practice swing should be different, this is not the time to work on mechanics.
We can remember to release tension with breathing. This allows us to “re-set” emotionally before each shot.
We can have a “go trigger”: e.g. 2-3 waggles, 2-3 glances at the target – something to tell you “I’m ready”.
Control your reaction: how well you do this has a big effect on how well you play your next shot.

Some things to remember:

Err on the side of being quick and stick to your routine without being over-deliberate. Look at players like Brandt Snedeker for inspiration on this.


Photo by Keith Allison

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David MacKenzie

is a mental golf coach and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind, a teaching program designed to help golfers condition their minds to overcome fear and play with confidence.

This Post Has 2 Comments

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    Troy Vayanos

    Great post David,

    I always believe that if you focus on getting the process right first, the results will take care of themselves.


  2. Pingback: Golf State of Mind | Mental Game of Golf Training

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