“There’s an enormous gap between KNOWING and DOING.” -Some wise dude
While driving around the golf course yesterday, I noticed in 2 groups something interesting in some pre shot routines…..
The D player in an event would set up to the ball, then spend 10-20 seconds gauging where the ball was. You could see in their waggle, they were attempting to find the ball in the downswing…. Their practice swing was their backswing down to the ball… NO FOLLOW THROUGH! Watching 2 groups in a row hit a fairway shot to the green, the D player in both groups never looked at the green once they placed their feet into their stance. The major part of the check list was preparing to strike the ball…..
The A players in both groups did something very different. Their pre shot ritual was much more focused on the flagstick and green. The practice swing of one A player had almost no backswing, and you could tell he was just focusing on ‘throwing’ the club out towards the target…. Their practice swing was basically the follow through…. The other A player just kept looking up and adjusting to what was out in front of them….
It’s an important lesson. THE BALL IS UNIMPORTANT in the golf swing. Prepare to throw the club and let the ball get in the way.
My 100th blog! How about that? Just a couple months ago, I wasn’t even sure what a blog really was…. Now that I’ve reached 100, I may not add an entry EVERY day. I’m quite certain it will be several times a week, so there should be plenty of thoughts, suggestions and opinions for you to ponder. Send me more questions and comments via the blog or my email and I’d be more than happy to discuss it! For now, soak this entry up. It’s the last part of the PRE-SHOT ROUTINE. Go back and review the other steps and put it all together! This is great stuff!!!!
TRUST YOUR SHOT!
TRUST IT! You’veDECIDED on the shot. You’ve SEEN veryclearly the swing you want to put on the ball and the ball flight it willproduce. You’ve FELT the swing that willproduce the shot…. You’ve done all youneed to do. You’re mind is clear andfocused. Confidence has been buildingbecause each stage pushes away doubt and fear!
It’s like a funnel of
concentration…. As you go through each step, your focus narrows. As you go through the routine, extraneous
thoughts (doubt, fear, lack of concentration) are pushed outside of the
conscious. Many great players talk about
routine as walking into a bubble, where only the shot and its execution are
You’ve OBSERVED the situation
and DECIDED on the shot. It’s now time
to really get into the thick of the routine!
SEE IT. Say it
to your self! SEE the shot you want
to execute. SEE the swing that will
produce it…. SEE IT!
You’ve chosen your club and now
stand behind the ball. SEE the shot
vividly. SEE the swing you will make….
Can’t see your swing? SEE Ernie Els, SEE Tiger Woods… SEE what you want!
You’ll be amazed at how you
improve at this step with repetition. On
every shot, SEE the action, SEE the result.
One of the critical results of
this part of the process is that while you are seeing what you want vividly,
you cannot (by definition) think about what can go wrong! The entire routine puts you in a more
positive frame of mind (repetition of phrase on purpose)!
pin. The ball lies in the fairway. The pin is tucked right with a bunker
guarding the front of the green. The
wind is blowing 5mph from left to right.
It’s your second shot of the day and it’s early, so you are not full
warmed up. You’re beginning to picture a
fade. You’re beginning to consider an
easy 6 or a full 7….
If you’ve taken in all the
information needed, it’s now time to DECIDE.
I think back to my youth (and young adulthood) and realize that a great
portion of my bad shots were simply due to not deciding on a specific
shot. I find that saying DECIDE each
time before I pull a club out of the bag is a great way to make a better
several options for you to choose. For
me, that was a big problem! I was not
great a committing to a shot, and that is critical for long term success (long
term being 18 holes or 3 months, or more….).
above. Since it’s early and the swing
isn’t as free as it will be later in the day, I’m going to DECIDE on the 6
iron. I’m already more confident because
I’ve observed not only the lie of the ball, the position of the pin, and the
wind, but also the state of my body and my swing….
on each shot and it will pay off in the long run. I would much rather DECIDE and be wrong, then
be wishy washy on any swing!
This will be a saga blog (I may
have just coined a new phrase!) that will likely last for some time. My intention is to lay out a simple and clear
cut mental pre-shot routine for you to use on the golf course.
I developed the routine I use
about 18 years ago, after spending a day with Dr. David Cook. The 3 simple phrases he uses to describe the
pre-shot routine are as follows:
I like to use his system.
beginning. You step on the first
tee. I want you to simply OBSERVE. How does the hole look? What is the architecture asking you to
do? What are your tendencies as a golfer
(Slice? Hook? Pull?) What are your tendencies on the first tee?
I want you to notice the wind,
the largest area of the fairway, the hole location… I want you to observe the level of the tee
Most importantly, take all the
information in, rather than just grabbing your driver and teeing up randomly.
I want you to really observe on
each and every shot! Notice the lay of
the land, and the lie of the ball.
Notice where the trouble is, and more importantly, notice where the best
place to put the ball is…. Notice if the
terrain is hard or soft, notice if you feel tight or really free and
This one step will put your mind
in a positive mental frame. This one
step will set up the rest of the routine!
When you get on the golf course, you should be PLAYING GOLF, not THINKING golf swing. The best way to do this is through high quality, consistent and systematic training. One of the goals of good training should be to put the golf swing on “automatic”.