Make Practice "Routine"

Doug Hammer (Sports Network) -- We live in a world that has become more about "how fast we can do things" than how well. Not good and, while this way of life may help us get more accomplished during a given day, it rarely helps our golf games. Golf is a game that is supposed to take four hours so why do I always come in contact with people who try to play it in two and a half?

When I am at my driving range watching my customers, it amazes me to see that 90% of them have no rhyme or reason to their practice sessions. It constantly appears that they are just going through the motions, because they are told that they are supposed to practice as much as possible...not how to practice. If you are one of the those I always see, walking onto the driving range and hitting your bucket as fast as you possibly can, I have news for are absolutely, in no way, doing your golf game any good.

One of the major differences between tour pros and the average golf enthusiast is that tour professionals practice the same way that they play. The average golfer goes to their local driving range and bangs ball after ball without any method, only madness. When that average player practices this way, he/she is not in the proper state of mind to make their practice productive.

A great way to improve your golf game is to add a pre-shot routine. A solid pre-shot routine is beneficial not only when you play but, also, when you practice. Having a consistent routine will do three main things for every golfer:

1. Focuses the mind on the task at hand. In this case, hitting the golf ball.

2. Creates attentiveness to being in the proper set-up position.

3. Calms you down.

While pre-shot routines vary from player to player, I am going to give you a few simple steps to start you on the path to building your own pre-shot routine. You can stick to the following routine, or adjust it according to your own comfort level.

1. Stand behind the ball and pick out your target.

2. Visualize exactly what you want to accomplish. Remember, always be positive.

3. Walk up to the ball and address it.
  • More specifically, set the club behind the ball and then set your body.
4. Take a deep breath. Exhale.
  • This will release a large amount of unneeded stress from your body.
5. Swing!
  • I use the end of my exhale to signal the start of my swing.
Many players' routines are different but what they all have in common is that they repeat their own personal routine exactly the same way, every time. Your pre-shot routine should not take too much time. It should be simple and easy to repeat. When developing a routine, many tour players will time themselves from start to finish. This helps them ensure that everything is within seconds of being exactly the same. When developing your own routine, a stopwatch can be a useful tool. The 5 steps I have laid-out above are the only ones I personally use. My entire process takes between 10 to 15 seconds. I do not recommend a routine that takes more than 20 seconds. Remember that our goal is to keep things simple and to remain positive. A routine that takes too long can allow the wrong thoughts to creep into our mind.

By perfecting your routine during your practice sessions you will be more productive in your time on the range. Productive time on the range will help lead to lower scores on the course. Always remember: golf is about quality, not quantity. Likewise, quality practice will help reduce the quantity on your scorecard.

Doug Hammer * Director of Instruction * Troon North Golf Club p 480-585-5300 ext. 251 * f 480-585-5161 * 10320 E Dynamite Blvd. * Scottsdale, AZ 85262 Managed by Troon Golf? *

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