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Pre-Shot Routines - Putting and Other

Pre-shot routines need to be practiced, just like everything else. They need to be second nature so that you launch into them automatically, otherwise you will be too mindful of mechanics, you'll waste time, and it will be difficult to execute a good shot.

It's a left brain (analytical) and right brain (creative) conundrum.

To execute our best golf swings, we need to let the left brain handle the preliminary aspects, then let right brain go to work.

The left brain is a great mechanic, but a lousy golfer.

Also note that good golfers stare at the target then glance at the ball; bad golfers glance at the target then stare at the ball - usually until rigor mortis sets in and prevents a smooth swing! After your last glance at the ball for any type of stroke or swing, execute the swing within 1.5 seconds. According to research I've seen for putting, your brain starts to lose the feel for the correct length stroke about 2 seconds after your last look at the target, so get to it.

Pre-Shot Routine - Putting

On the putting green get there first and get most of your calculating done before the rest of the group arrives, that will allow you to be ready to go when it's your turn.
  • See It
    • Approach the ball from behind, mark the ball.
    • Stalk the putt - walk to and around the hole, observing slope, break, firmness, speed, and distance with your feet as well as with your eyes; pay particular attention to the fall line of green around the hole.
    • From behind the ball, line your ball up to your aiming point for your putt.
  • Feel It
    • Clear your mind of extreaneous clutter; at this point in time this is the most important thing in your life.
    • From 3 feet behind the ball, while looking at the hole, take 3 to 5 practice strokes to get a feel for the distance and the putting stroke you will use.
    • From next to the ball, take another 3 to 5 practice strokes while looking at the hole so that your brain calibrates the correct length stroke that you will put on the ball.
  • Do it
    • Step into the ball and assume your personal putting setup, square your clubface to your aimline.
    • Keep your feet moving a little bit to combat tension until you start your putting sequence, then everything should be still except for your shoulders, which will move the stroke.
    • Execute this 8 step putting stroke sequence, hold each visual command for one count:
      1. Target (look at the target), Target (look at the target), Ball (glance at the ball)
      2. Target (look at the target), Target (look at the target), Ball (glance at the ball)
      3. Stroke the putt
      4. Hold Your Finish
  • Pose
    • Don't observe the result until you've "posed" in your finish position for two full seconds, and pose as if you were about to be photographed for Golf Digest - that will get you to a good finish


Pre-Shot Routine - Other Swings
  • See It
    • Approach the shot from behind the ball, pick out an intermediate target one foot in front of the ball as your aimline
    • visualize the curve and height of the shot you want, see it landing at your target.
  • Feel It
    • Clear your mind of extreaneous clutter; at this point in time this is the most important thing in your life.
    • Stand next to the ball and take a couple rehearsal swings, feeling the swing that you want to use for the shot.
    • If it's an iron shot, your club should brush the grass with your rehearsal swings.
  • Do it
    • Step into the ball and square the clubface to your aimline using the intermediate target that you identified one foot in front of your ball; make final setup adjustments.
    • Optional waggle the club to ingrain the feeling and direction of your takeaway swingpath.
    • Keep your feet moving a little bit to combat tension.
    • Set your feet just prior to starting your takeaway, then
      1. Target (look at the target), Intermediate Target (look at the intermediate target), Ball (glance at the ball)
      2. Target (look at the target), Intermediate Target (look at the intermediate target), Ball (glance at the ball)
      3. Swing no later than 1.5 seconds after your last glance at the ball;
        Do not think about anything mechanical at this point, simply swing and hold your finish position.
      4. Hold Your Finish
      When you stare at your target, really home in on a very specific portion of your target. ie: if it's the flag, home in on a specific corner of the flag; on the last look at the target, visualize the ball flight and imagine it landing at your target spot, then stopping or rolling depending on the shot
  • Pose
    • Pose in your finish position until the ball lands. Pose as if you were about to be photographed for Golf Digest, that will get you to a good finish.
  
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[ Lessons from Tom Tucker - Class "A" Teaching Professional - WGTF "Top 100 Golf Teacher" ]