Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Play Better Golf With A Solid Pre-Shot Routine

In the last post, we talked about a couple of things that separate a low handicapper from a high handicapper. We dis­cussed “positive” swing thoughts, and selecting a “swing key” during warm‑ups. This will help immensley when you hit a poor shot and help you react to it.

From observing golfers at all levels, it seems that balance is a key element that separates the low handicap player from the vast majority of golfers. Good balance keeps the club and the weight shift moving in the same direction and in the right sequence. Balance also encourages good technique. Many swing flaws send the body into positions in which it is impossible to maintain balance and decrease the chances of solid contact between the club and the ball at impact. Next time you are on the golf course, think about finishing each swing by holding the follow through for a few seconds. You will soon start to feel the correlation between good bal­ance and solid contact.

If you can hold your finish for three seconds, you hit a good shot
(click to enlarge)

Pre‑shot routine
Many golfers who lack consistency have overlooked the pre‑shot routine as the most important part of the swing. A golfer’s routine is what builds the set‑up for each shot. If the routine is not consistent the shots will also be inconsistent throughout the round. By building a sound routine you can improve your swing and eliminate flaws before they begin. Your pre‑shot routine should contain these elements:

  • proper grip and grip pressure
  • precise alignment of club and body
  • correct ball position for the club and the desired flight
  • continuous motion to encourage a smooth start to the backswing
  • a mental image of the shot currently being played

(click to enlarge)

The Golf swing is a chain reaction of events. For more consistently good play, try to keep in mind a systematic method for setting up to each shot that includes all of these factors.

Bobby Hinds is a Teaching Professional at Woodley Lakes Golf Course with over 10 years of teaching experience. In each issue of the Wedge, he will ,share with us some helpful thoughts and tips to help lower your index and make the game more enjoyable. He is available for lessons through the Pro Shop. For more information, go to BobbyHinds.com.