Pre Shot Routines Are the Package That Holds it All Together - Article Series 11 of 13

in Routine

Strategy, Pre-Shot Routine and Trust

We will not be discussing the elements or importance of the Routine or indeed the mental game in depth here but it is timely to show how Aim/Alignment from the previous articles fits into those larger areas. The following S.P.T. is a model of what a golfer goes through shortly before and leading up to each swing. This will vary greatly from golfer to golfer with the worse cases being golfers with poor Strategies, no meaningful Routines and an inability to trust their swing to the unconscious.

Strategy & Course Management. This is your decision making. It is taking in all aspects of what faces you such as lie of ball, your capabilities, what is between the ball and where you would like to send it, weather conditions etc, and then deciding on the strategy for the shot required. This may entail laying up, going for it, just wedging it out of rough back into play, choice of club, fade or draw, high ball flight or knock down etc.

Routine. The pre shot routine is designed to give you a solid, repeatable and comforting habit (which helps to keep you calm when executing pressure shots) and brings together the physical/technical aspects of setup and then allows your unconscious mind to make the actual swing without interference from you. (Getting in your own way)

There is no hard and fast rule about when this routine should start. For some it may be during the strategy phase and for others after they have decided on the shot and pulled the club from the bag or for some it only starts after walking in to the ball. Most good routines will be between 20 and 30 seconds in duration.

It is during that this pre shot routine that your aim and alignment of club, body and mind all takes place. At this point of the shot making process the golfer should not be consciously trying to do all of these things but rather letting them happen. The conscious mind should be focussed on targeting and little else, allowing the unconscious to move the body.

Trust. You will hear many coaches saying that you must trust your swing, and it is important to be able to do so. Unfortunately the ability to switch from trying to trust it is not something that necessarily comes naturally to most golfers but it is (luckily) a learnable and necessary skill for great golf. New skills are learnt on the practice ground where you are actively "trying" and using a lot conscious thought to master the new skill. By repeating this process over and over again, it is eventually committed to the unconscious in exactly the same way as you learnt any skill in life from tying your shoe laces to riding a bike. Take for example tying your shoe laces. When you first attempted to do this it was a complete struggle, but after a while it got easier and easier until eventually you could tie your laces without any conscious thought. At this point the skill is now learnt in what we call the unconscious competence stage of learning. Meaning you can do it without thinking.

In the case of this chapter on aim and alignment you would practice correct aim and alignment on the practice ground with the long-term objective of its becoming an unconsciously competent skill. Once you are receiving evidence on the practice ground that you are completing the new skills efficiently, without conscious thought, then you must trust your unconscious on the golf course and allow it to do its job.

Precision Aim and Alignment are a crucial part of the Pre-Shot Routine if you want to ever play your best golf.

Next - Article 12 In Series - Your Body, The Bio Machine

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Mark H Wright has 1 articles online

If you want to read a great book on routines I highly recommend "The 30 Second Golf Swing" which you can review on our site at

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Pre Shot Routines Are the Package That Holds it All Together - Article Series 11 of 13

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Pre Shot Routines Are the Package That Holds it All Together - Article Series 11 of 13

This article was published on 2010/04/01