The word “routine” in golf refers to many different things. As the golf season of 2017 moves into the fall, this is a good time to reflect on how this word affects your golf game.
Here are some examples to reflect on: The routine of your practice and playing schedule. The routine of who you play with. The routine of preparing for a round of golf. Most importantly, the routine of your preparation to hit a golf shot.
Think back over the summer and notice what days and time you tended to play golf. Then consider how much you practiced in relation to how much you played. If you were happy with your golf game this summer then you may want to continue the same routine moving into the fall and next spring and summer. If you felt your game let you down this year, then consider adding more practice sessions and some possible instruction. Practice sessions can be short, often, and effective if you have a purpose and routine.
Take a moment to ponder who you played with this summer, how often you played with them, and how rewarding or frustrating it was. I see many of my students playing with the same group at the same time every week. Some of these groups are lifetime groups and provide great enjoyment and memories. Other groups find it frustrating and tend to want the round to fly by so they can go on with other things in their lives. One of the greatest factors of golf is the company, the connections and camaraderie that comes from spending four hours with people on the golf course. If you are not getting this feeling, then change your routine. Also, if you are not improving each year, try to play with people who are more experienced and learn from them.
In preparing for your rounds of golf this summer, did you just show up and go to the first tee? If you did and your game is where you want it, don’t change a thing. If you always start off rough and get better as the round progresses, consider a few changes. Make sure you eat and have plenty to drink before your round. Show up to the golf course early for your round and stretch out, hit a few balls, chip and putt for a while, and plan your strategy. These are just a few things you can change in your routine to improve your game. Any one of these will help, but the best players tend to do all of these and more.
The pre-shot routine is something I ask all my students to develop and I find most of them don’t have a consistent routine when they come to me. There is some great golf left this season on TV. I challenge you to watch some of these great players and notice every shot hit is preceded by a consistent and purposeful routine. Each player has their own routine but nearly every one of them has the following factors: thinking about the shot, visualizing the shot, rehearsing the shot, deep breathing, then trusting the preparation, moving into the ball and executing the plan with little or no thinking during the swing.
If you want to save a few shots or more during your game, take some time to study pre-shot routines and develop your own.
Matt Stottern is the PGA Director of Instruction at the Peninsula State Park Golf Course. He is also the Director of the John Jacobs Golf School at the same location. He has spent more than 20 years teaching golf to golfers of all ages and abilities. He spends the winter months teaching golf schools and private lessons in Arizona. He can be contacted at 480.620.5395 or email at [email protected].