The Importance of the Pre-shot Routine

By Bruce Dowell
April 27, 2015


Something I see missing from many golfers is a solid pre-shot routine.

A pre-shot routine is very important, and should be followed on every shot in a round of golf. Without it, the steps involved in performing a good swing and hitting a good shot can be overlooked.

Many golfers are afraid of taking their time on the golf course. When they started playing golf, it was often the older or more experienced golfers who pushed fast play or “ready golf” on them until it became a nervous habit.

Blow up hole

Now, I’m not advocating slow play at all. The guys and girls that play on TV do move at a snail’s pace sometimes, but they have a routine that they follow. Most of my players can go from the start of their routine to impact in less than 20 seconds. That’s not much time.

Look at it this way: Going through a 20 second routine may help you save that 5 minutes you’re allowed to look for a golf ball.

There’s a lot of information for your routine that you can get quickly before it’s your turn to hit. When you arrive at your ball, here’s your list of tasks:

  1. Get your yardage
  2. Read your lie
  3. Gauge the wind
  4. Pick out a target

A lot of the time you’ll be able to do this is while somebody else is playing their shot.  I see so many golfers that leave at least 2 of the 4 variables out.

For example, if your ball is 150 yards from the flag, the green is about 5 yards uphill, with a 15-mph wind coming at you, it’s really not close to your normal 150 yard shot. You have to know each variable to have successful results.

My players start their routine as soon as the player before them has hit their shot, seen the result, and the comments such as “good shot” or “I see it” have been said. Many start by standing behind the ball, getting their alignment for their shot. Some visualize the ball either starting its flight, or landing at the target, or the entire shot.

Either way, they see it quickly. From there, they’ll step in for a practice swing. After that, they’ll address the ball and take their grip, stance, etc. After one last look at the target, they’ll hit the shot.

So much of golf is mental, and what you do before you hit each shot is just as important as the golf swing you make. Take the time and pay attention to details on every shot, and it will help your score.

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