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Pre-shot Routine... How do you "Create" it?

Discussion in 'General Golf Talk' started by warbirdlover, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. warbirdlover

    warbirdlover Ender of all threads Supporting Member

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    Everyone talks about. Most good golfers use it. But how do you arrive at your "Ed Norton" (see "the Jackie Gleason show" history) pre-shot routine. :confused: :confused:

    WHERE DO YOU START??? Is there a book on this? :laugh:

    :)
     
  2. Sandpiper3

    Sandpiper3 Golf Course Designer

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    Just kinda take a swing or two, waggle or two, and just rememeber what you did that one time you hit a perfect shot and work on it from there. Ive fiddled with my preshot routine. But its all good when im hitting it good.

    It used to be 1practise swing, stand directly behind and spin the club in my right hand, then lft the club pointing at my target and grip, step in (same 4 steps into the ball), take stance and waggle 3 times, Mike Weir waggle, two looks then pull.

    Today switched a little (no clue y, but it workdout:)). Two slower swings behind the ball, stand directly behind and spin club in right hand, lift club pointing at target and grip, step in, same 4 steps, take stance and 3-4 waggles, look, look (i kinda look at the target, but my head keeps bobbing away while i take a deep breath) exhale, look down and pull.
     
  3. cypressperch

    cypressperch Well-Known Member

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    There are several reasons why a pre-shot

    routine is a good idea. A good routine can prevent bone-head mistakes that come from forgetting something important relating to a given shot. It is nice to have something "automatic" before every shot which adds a touch of familiarity to all the different shots that confront you. It gets the necessary thinking done in very little time, and this is important because we really do not want to be concentrating the whole round which causes mental fatigue that brings about many mistakes.

    Before hitting any tee shot, develop your plan for that particular hole. This plan starts from the pin and works its way back to the tee. Take the dangers into consideration to figure out the target you want to aim at. Once that target is determined, your thinking is positive in nature (I will hit this shot to that specific spot) rather than negative in nature (I will not hit the ball OB, into the lake, into the bunkers, into the woods, etc.) I read that the subconscious is sort of like the way a dog thinks. Tell a dog, "Fetch the stick," and the dog fetches the stick. Tell a dog, "Don't fetch the stick," and the dog will still fetch the stick. Tell yourself, "Don't go out of bounds," and you still go out of bounds. (And 99 times out of a hundred, the person will complain, "I told myself NOT to go out of bounds." The subconscious is a dog.

    My preshot routine begins with some deep breathing before I go to my ball. This is for relaxation (My goal is always to be in a state of "relaxed focus"). If it is a tee shot, I figure where I want to hit the ball which determines where I will tee the ball up. Now I get behind the ball and VISUALIZE THE SHOT I have decided on. A couple of practice swings that will yield that shot. I pick an intermediate target a couple of feet in front of the ball on the line I want the ball to be on initially. I place the club behind the ball square to the intended line of flight. I grip the club for the shot shape involved. I position my body to the club that is sitting naturally as it is designed to sit. I keep moving to avoid tension, and I am looking more down the shot than at the ball. After the second look, my movement stops, slight foward press, and execution follows.

    For several years, I have had one swing thought. I imagine a light in the back at my right shoulder. I coil back until that imaginary light shines on the target. This gets me to complete my back-swing on every full shot. In general, I am trying to be smooth with everything I do, and this transfers to the swing without giving it any real thought. (I also think of the left shoulder getting over the right knee as I coil back, come to think of it.



    Perhaps, I should have added that when I "stand to the properly positioned club" I am making certain that my posture is correct. Standing to the ball this way takes care of ball position in stance and the hands will automatically be the right distance ahead of the ball. I might double check that my shoulders are parallel to the target line (this more important than feet).

    I have a lot of stuff going on here, but since it has become a habitual routine, it takes very little time for me to get to my ball and execute the shot. I would say about twenty seconds or so. When I first started playing here, the pro asked me if I were an engineer, a scientist, or some such. I said that I wasn't and asked him why he had asked. He had been watching me on the driving range and said that I did the exact same thing before every shot and took the exact same time. I felt really good about that because that is when the routine has really become a routine. That is also why I practice that way. To make the routine a part of every shot, and to make practice very much like being on the course (though it can never be exactly the same).

    Sincerely, Cypressperch
     
  4. gunning4u

    gunning4u Well-Known Member

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    My routine is not as deliberate as sandpiper. I pick my shot in my head I might take a practice swing or two to find the bottom of the swing. I stand behind the ball pick my primary target, then I look ahead of the ball a few feet and find a secondary target a divot or a tuff of grass in line with my primary target, walk up ground the club with my left hand only holding the club align the face grip the club take my stance waggle until I feel comfortable in the shot and hit it.
     
  5. chemboy2

    chemboy2 M634 Supporting Member

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    Let me start by saying, yes, I'm 16 capper with a pre-shot routine. Both my teaching pro and scratch practice partner insisted that I get one in order to get focused and stay in my game. My routine evolved innocently enough from drills actually.

    Edit: took a while to post this and didn't see Cypressperch's reply initially. I should add that I follow my pre-shot routine for every swing whether I'm on the course or at the range.
     
  6. BStone

    BStone PGA Class A Professional Supporting Member

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    You can't really plot out a pre shot routine, you simply need to find something that puts you in the right frame of mind to make your shot. Personally, it serves a dual role for me, it gets me to focus on the ball and the shot at hand as well as helping me to visualize the ball flight that I am planning on. I never thought about what I was going to do, it sort of evolved into what it is now, I will stand behind the ball and face the target while taking a slow deliberate swing while visualizing the shot, then address the ball and look down the target line and then take the club back to knee height and then pull the trigger on the shot.

    This works for me, but may not for other people, the biggest thing to do is to develop a routine that makes you feel comfortable and ready to take your shot. It won't become your routine until you end up doing it before each shot, no matter what the situation is. I even do the same thing before I putt (with the exception of taking it back to knee height).
     
  7. HighTopFade

    HighTopFade Well-Known Member

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    I think of Jessica Alba. During my practice swing, I say Jessica on my backswing, and say Alba on my downswing. I promotes a smooth tempo and I seem to relax more. Seriously, it works.
     
  8. Sandpiper3

    Sandpiper3 Golf Course Designer

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    Haha, that would work for a lot of ppl i bet and can see how.

    As tmag said, you cant really plot out a preshot routine. Originally when i started trying to build one i stole Annika's and then just kinda varied around until something worked and felt comfortable. That just kinda went from one to another, they were good for awhile, but itll change a little depending on maybe if im trying to change my swing or just not playing well enough so ill fiddle with it abit.

    Just waggle around and take a practise swing or so until something feels comfortable, if its good, youll remember it. Just for the rest of us, try and keep it relatively short;) Mine takes about 30 seconds give or take i believe, thats from when take my stance behind the ball to start the routine to the point where ive smacked that little white bugger out there.
     
  9. dave.

    dave. Well-Known Member

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    My routine started as a kid by emulating Seve,and a very good friend did something similar because his hero was Jack Nicklaus,and his routine was a relica of his.As for all the other kids I played with they all emulated a player either with the full swing and/or the routine.Yet as grown ups we probably feel immature doing this.I think this is wrong,it gives me a feeling of invincibility imagining I am Seve around the greens,so emulating a pre-shot routine can't be a bad idea.
     
  10. warbirdlover

    warbirdlover Ender of all threads Supporting Member

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    dave, you made my day. That was exactly what I was planning to do since I didn't have a clue how to "create" it on my own... :)
     
  11. Fourputt

    Fourputt Littleton, Colorado

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    My routine just sort of evolved. I was doing most of it before I kenw that I was supposed to have one. I started having aiming issues, and I'd seen a lot of the pros stand behind the ball at the start of their setup routines, so I started doing that. I don't really "visualize" a shot though, not in the sense that Nicklaus means when he says it. I use it see my target line, and to pick a spot about 3 feet in front of the ball for an aiming point. Then I walk up to the ball, set the club and my feet, press and swing.

    But it all evolved just to help me get aimed correctly, not with any intent of "creating" a pre shot routine. It became a set routine when I read about the benefits of always doing it the same way every time, and started making sure that I did so too.
     
  12. ualtim

    ualtim Carrollton, TX Supporting Member

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    All great advice. There are a few books out there that also help decribe the pre shot routine (if I recall correcectly, Dr. Bob Rotella's books), but in reality you are going to have to develop your own. Starting out by emulating the Pro's is a good starting point, but eventually you will have to develop your own to fit your game. Most pro's have a reason for each part of their routine either to get them in the right frame of mind or as a swing thought reminder. It may not work for your swing.

    Its kind of corny, but I actually developed my pre-shot routine based off of the Bobby Jones character in the movie "Bagger Vance". Visualization and trying to find my swing are key components to my routine. I will occasionaly even replay Will Smith's line from the movie in my head "find your true authentic swing" to help focus myself. Totally unrelated to the movie, I will occasionaly here a Scottich voice of my own creation to which I have assigned to Stewart Maiden for his famous quote to Bobby Jones, "You don't hit it with your backswing, laddie" anytime I find myself having problems with control. One of my swing faults that tends to creep back into my game is a fast backswing which leads to my accuracy problems. The Maiden quote reminds me to slow it down.

    Watch what others do (Master's weekend, you will be wathcing golf anway :D) and try'em out on the range. Copy one, take some parts from several golfers, or create you own parts until you find one that works for you. Once you develop one, it will become a part of your swing and you will not even realise that you are doing it anymore.

    ualtim
     
  13. cypressperch

    cypressperch Well-Known Member

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    I certainly agree that one's pre-shot

    routine will work best if it is their own. But I hope it is realized that when you watch a great player going through their routine, it is a very deliberate thing that is going on. Attention to detail is a big part of what is happening. That someone's routine would have originated due to concerns about alinement is very understandable because alinement of a shot that has been VISUALIZED is of paramount importance. Practice swings (such as Tiger and others) are adding a muscular, FEEL dimension to the process.

    I am writing all of this because, at times, I sense that some believe that a pro goes through a routine as some sort of quirky little thing that is not really that important. When someone gets to the point of wanting to improve and their reading comes across the subject of pre-shot routines, they usually develop one. Many times, such people drop their routine because it does seem to be doing anything for them. Their routine is not doing anything, but a more meaningful one would have done worlds of good. Good routines take care of the fundamentals so that carelessness is avoided. Such a routine will have you committed 100% to the shot at hand. You will be ready to pull the trigger because you are confident. A good pre-shot routine is as important as anything in getting one to reach their potential. Make light of its importance at your own peril!!!:miz:

    Yes, it is even as important as what sticks you choose to use.

    Sincerely, Cypressperch
     
  14. 15andlife

    15andlife Pulaski Golf Rocks!!

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    Mines easy, no practice swing, step in with my right foot line up, put my left foot in, waggle, than hit. Lining up with my right foot helps me keep my feet in line with the target.
     

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