Pre-shot Routine

Try The “Circle 18” Game For Shifting Focus To What’s Most Important

I challenge you to do something you’ve probably not done before while playing golf. During your next round, I’d like you not to make a good score your goal. Don’t even write any numbers on the scorecard. Your goal will be hitting every shot as best you can. I’m sure you’re thinking this sounds counter-intuitive. “To score well I already know I need to do exactly that!” I hear you say. But let’s really focus on the “process” of hitting good golf shots and make that the only objective of the game.

Golf is a long game compared to other sports. There is more time spent waiting and not playing than most other sports. Those that consistently improve and reach their potential are only focused on the “playing” of the game during the 30 seconds before each shot.

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As I mentioned in my Round Killers post last week, your conscious mind only needs to be involved during the pre-shot routine, at which point it passes the process over to the sub-conscious mind, which is purely focused on the shot shape and target. The rest of the time, you have to keep your mind and body relaxed, and enjoy the time that you’ve been afforded playing the game you love.

Imagine how much more relaxed you’d be if you had no concern about the number of shots you’d taken or you may take on the next hole.

By reminding ourselves to focus on process, not results, we remove a lot of the stress that the game can create and it keeps us firmly in the present (not thinking about what has happened or what might happen) which is the only place to be if you want to play your best.

When I say I’d like you to focus on “process” I mean your shot routine. Which includes your preparation for each shot and the post-shot routine (your reaction to the shot). If you can put all your mental energy into this instead of concern over score and technique, you’ll notice a big difference in the results. Do you like the sound of this drill? Get the Golf State of Mind Training System which has plenty of mental game techniques like this one and over 50 practice drills. .

So when you mark your “score” at the end of each hole, I’d like you give yourself circle around the hole number on your score card if you went through your routine on every shot. If you didn’t go through your routine, you don’t get a circle. Make 18 Circles your goal or just try to beat your previous score each time. You’ll be very surprised at the “results” and I think you’ll notice a huge improvement in your play.

The idea of this game is to get you into the habit of focusing on exactly what you need to do to execute every shot as best you can, instead of focusing on your score (which does no good at all). You can even take it one step further if you like and try to not think about golf during in between shots.

If you like the concept of this game, you’ll like what I have in the FREE GSOM Course of eLessons. Sign up today and get your FREE Mental Game Fundamentals eBook!

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David MacKenzie

is a golf coach and golf publisher and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind a teaching program designed to help golfers eliminate negative mental interference and play with confidence.

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