Why you need a golf pre shot routine

by Jordan on July 27, 2011

This is where the visualization of the pre shot routine occurs

What is a golf pre shot routine?

It’s where you think about your upcoming shot.

The reason why you should have one is because it builds confidence and trust with your swing.

In pressure situations you can use it to calm your system down and stay focused.

It can also help you postively reaffirm a solid shot through visulization.

Read on to learn in detail how to incorporate a one into your game so you can eliminate self doubt and swing thoughts over the ball.

All Good Players Do It

I always suggest stealing the traits of better players. This is one of them

Play the first 40 seconds of the video below to see Mike Weir’s routine.

Everything from standing behind the ball to waggling the club are steps in his pre shot routine.

Many players think about the shot ahead while they’re standing over the ball. That’s a big mistake though.

Your thoughts about the shot ahead are to take place during the pre shot routine which occurs behind the ball, not standing over top of it.

Here’s how to stop thinking over the ball.

Collecting Information

A pre shot routine will help you gather the information you need to hit the shot ahead. Doing this before hitting the shot allows you to have a clear mind. It also serves as a positive reaffirmation as I’ve already mentioned.

The first step is to look at the shot ahead and then select a club based on the elements in front of you.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about the shot ahead:

  • Where do you want to approach your next shot from?
  • Is there any trouble around that spot?
  • What is my lie like and how will the ball react?
  • Which way is the wind going?
  • How well have you been hitting the ball?
  • How often can you successfully hit the shot require? If it’s less than 60%, play a safer shot.

These are all questions you need to ask yourself before selecting a club. Thinking about these things before you stand over the ball allows you to hit the shot without any swing thoughts or doubts to occur.

Having a clear mind is what playing Peerless Golf is all about!

Pick The Target

After you have selected your club, the next step is to select your target. Your target is not where the shot will end up but just an aiming point that will be determined by your natural ball flight and where you want to play your next shot from.

A target should be well defined. Something like a specific tree or a cloud in the sky.

Visulization and Feel

Once you’ve selected a club and target, the next step is to stand behind the ball and visualize the shot you want to hit and where it will end up. While you are visualizing the shot, take a practice swing or two with your head up still visualizing and feeling the shot.

This allows your eyes to see the shot you want to hit while your body is feeling how to hit that shot. What this does in allows for positive reaffirmation and in some ways is the same as what the laws of attraction is all about.

Addressing The Ball

Now that you have a club, target and positive visualization, the next step is to address the ball. But before that you need to align yourself to the target.

Do this by drawing an imaginary line back from your target to the ball. Focus on a spot a foot in front of the ball on this imaginary line and square the club face to that spot.

This is easier than trying to get squared up to your target some 100+ yards away!

Jack Nicklaus was the best at doing this and I have posted a video below to illustrate how he aligns to his target.

Just watch his head and eyes focus on the ball, a spot a foot in front of him and his target.

His eyes trace a line between all three.

Once you have your spot picked out and you’re standing over the ball, be sure to relax by gripping the club gently so that there is no tension in your hands and arms.

Waggle the club a few times also to ensure you’re loose over the ball and not standing there tightening up.

Quicker The Better

I also suggest standing over the ball for a short period of time. This allows those positive thoughts to stick in your head and will stop any doubts or fears from crepping in.

When you do waggle make sure it’s consistent in how many times you do it.

Take some time on the range to develop a consistent pre shot routine and groove it into your game.

It will take discipline on your behalf but it’ll be worth it. It’ll calm you down when your nervous as you’ll be able to focus more sharply.

Another benefit is that it ingrains consistent preparation and positive thoughts in your mind.

What Do You Think?

Have you ever tried to create a pre shot routine and implement it into your game?


Jordan J. Caron is a former Canadian PGA Class A member who still wants to help golfers shoot better scores. He is also the President of Meaningful Marketing. In his downtime he likes to read, play squash and drink wine.

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