Golf Pre-Shot Routine (Step by Step)
In this video we cover the pre-shot routine and what I do in my own pre-shot routine. I’ll provide you with a checklist to help you understand step by step what things to remember for the pre-shot routine.
Step 1: Finding My Target & Visualize the Shot
The first thing I like to do as I walk up to the golf ball is look at the target ahead that I want to aim at. Then I draw a line from that target back to my golf ball to create my target line.
As I look at my golf ball I start to analyze things like how is my lie? Is the ball sitting in the rough, fairway? Is it sitting up or down below grass?
I also check my path again, the line I’m taking from my ball to my target and see if I have any trees, water, bunkers, or other obstacles in my way.
If I don’t think my current line is safe to aim at then I’ll look for another option to play like a gap in the woods to hit a punch out back to the fairway, rather than praying and hoping I can squeeze the ball between tree branches if I aim at the flagstick.
Step 2: Club Selection
Now that I’ve analyzed my ball, my shot I want to play, and visualized it, my next step will be picking out the golf club that’s going to help me achieve my desired outcome.
For example, if I need to hit a low golf shot, maybe I’ll hit a lower lofted club and take some power off of it so I don’t over hit it the wrong distance.
Or if I need to get over a bush or short trees, I may go for a higher lofted club like a gap wedge and use a little more power than normal to make up some distance if that club goes shorter than the normal club I would have used like my 9 iron for example.
Step 3: Take a Practice Swing
Next, I take my stance a few feet back of the golf ball so I leave room to make a practice swing. I grip my club and take a swing, getting a feel for the club motion during the swing as well as how it comes in contact with the grass.
With wet grass, I’ll feel it tugging on the clubface and it will alert me to account for wet grass which I may have missed during step 1 of the pre shot routine when I was analyzing my shot and lie.
Step 4: Take My Formal Stance
After one or two practice swings and visualizing the shot again off feel of the practice swings, I’ll take my stance to the golf ball.
Feet shoulder width apart for irons and slightly wider than shoulder width for driver/woods.
I’ll grip the club and set the clubhead behind the ball, checking the face to be aimed straight and not open/closed.
I’ll check my ball position to make sure it’s correct for the type of club I’m swinging. I’ve got a tutorial video and article on ball position you can check out on YouTube here. Subscribe to the channel!
Then I’ll make sure my weight is distributed correctly. For example, with driver, I’ll have more weight on my back leg.
Step 5: Clear My Mind of Thoughts
Lastly, I’ll clear my head prior to starting the swing. No more thinking. I’m ready to make the golf swing after going through the checklist of pre-shot routine items.
During the swing itself, I might have one thing on my mind to focus on which helps me avoid thinking several negative thoughts during the swing.
If I don’t have something to focus on, I may let my mind start worrying about slicing or pulling or hitting out of bounds or hitting into water.
Instead, I’ll be focused on a swing thought during the swing like “Get a full shoulder turn” or “fire the hips and get the weight transferred” or “start the backswing slowly and in control”
Overall, I hope my checklist for the golf pre shot routine is handy and you can use it to build your own pre shot routine!
Why a Pre-Shot Routine Matters
It’s important to realize that your pre-shot routine, what you do leading up to the golf shot, has a huge impact on how well you execute the golf shot.
The pre-shot routine gives you a plan, confidence, and feel that will assist you in making the proper swing or stroke on the ball and getting the result you expected.
Without this plan, it’s unlikely your desired result will occur.
Golf Pre Shot Routine Tips for Success
Starting off, you need to have the right thoughts in your head before a shot because what you think about before your swing or stroke directly affects this swing or stroke.
For example, I bet you’ve stood over a ball with water 10 yards in front of it and thought about hitting it into the water. Then you attempt the shot and hit it into the water. Coincidence?
To strike the ball well to your intended target requires the golf-swing to be fluid and in sync.
Muscle tension, anxiety, and fear can all disrupt this fluidity in the golf swing and cause loss of control also considered “over control” where you are trying to force the motion rather than let it happen naturally.
To achieve this fluidity and natural rhythm you must have consciously executed this shot in your mind prior to doing it. The greatest golfers in the world are visionaries and have creative minds that see shots and then actually do them.
Tiger Woods is one example of someone who envisioned shots to miraculously pull off and then would do it. He got his conscious mind in sync with the natural fluidity of the golf swing, not letting any doubt or fear creep into his head.
Once you’ve envisioned the perfect shot you want to hit, you must clear all thoughts from your head prior to taking the shot.
This is one reason why so many golfers find themselves hitting the ball great on the golf range and then struggling to translate it over to the actual golf course. On the range, they are in rhythm and swinging without thinking.
They’ve shut the mind off from putting negative thoughts in their head. Out on the course, pressure, fear, anxiety, consequences, etc. creep into their mind and interfere with their natural ability to hit good golf shots.
If you’re going to be a consistent golfer, you have to develop a solid pre-shot routine.