It's boring but there's a reason every pro golfer does this
Welcome to GOLF IQ, a game improvement podcast by Golf Digest's Play Editor, Luke Kerr-Dineen. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Kerr-Dineen uncovers nerdy nuggets of information you can use to improve your game.
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There are very few things that every golfer on tour does religiously. A pre-shot routine is one of them.
It's not the most interesting thing. I fully admit that it can be a boring topic of conversation. And yet, I have a pre-shot routine that I do before every shot I hit. I know it's important, and whenever I forget, players are quick to bring up the importance of it, unprompted.
So, that's the topic we explored in back-to-back episodes of this week's Golf IQ podcast.
You can listen to each of those episodes below, or scroll down to learn why you should care more about having a pre-shot routine.
Physical pre-shot routine
Lots of things change during a four-hour round of golf, and you'll never hit the same shot twice. That can be an uncomfortable truth that makes consistency from round-to-round—or even shot-to-shot—really tricky.
Pre-shot routines exist to solve that problem. To give you something you can do the same way, every single time, to help you feel more comfortable. A pre-shot routine doesn't need to be complicated, it just needs to be reliable. A physical cue you can use before you walk into your shot, and get focused.
They come in all different shapes and forms, but I've always liked Adam Scott's. He stands behind the ball, sets the clubface towardsthe target, grips the club with his lead hand, then walks into the ball. It's a clever move which ensures he grips the club the same way every time. It's a good habit to have.
But the physical side is only one half of a good pre-shot routine...
Mental pre-shot routine
If a physical pre-shot routine is the literal thing you do before hitting your shot, a mental pre-shot routine are the things you think about during your pre-shot routine.
It's basically impossible to not think about anything, so rather than worrying about hitting your ball into the water, the goal of a mental pre-shot routine is something good to think about. Being proactive, rather than reactive.
My go-to thought, seconds before I start my swing, is "stay centered." No time for any last-minute bad thoughts to sneak in. Just something I’m focusing on trying to do.
You can listen to our pre-shot routine podcasts, and our other pods, below.