Golf Pre Shot Routine

Many times when you watch golf on television you will hear the commentators talk about the players having a golf pre shot routine.

Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions like... 

What is a pre-shot routine for golf? 

Should all players have a golf pre shot routine?

How do I create a pre shot routine?

What is a golf pre shot routine?

Should all players have a golf pre shot routine?

This question is often asked in the form of “Do I need a pre-shot routine?” Depending on your golfing goals… I would answer quote “It depends.”

If you were playing golf mainly to spend time with friends and family, enjoy the outdoors or just for some exercise and score does not matter to you, then I would say it's not a necessity for you.

However if you were competing against others or even just against yourself, I would suggest implementing a golf pre-shot routine.

Keep in mind the overall pre shot process should be done in a timely manner. Pace of play is an important part of the game.understand if you were the first one to your golf ball it may take you a little extra time.

However, while someone else is gathering their information, you should be doing the same. Therefore, not taking as much time in the big scheme of things when it is your turn.

You should not wait until the other player has played before you start your process.

How do I create a pre shot routine?

Gather Course Info

Your Golf Shot Conditions

When first talking about a golf pre-shot routine with a player, they are surprised at how early the process can start.

The way golf courses are designed today, typically the process cannot begin until you get close to the teeing ground. However, once you get in the fairway you can gain information that will help you when you get onto the putting green.

For example, you will be able to tell the general slope of the green front to back as well as side to side.

This information can be helpful once you are on the green as some golf course architects try to make it difficult for you.

Golf Pre Shot Routine

The Lie Of Your Golf Ball

As you approach the golf ball for your next shot, you will want to figure out what type of lie you have.

What you are really asking yourself here is how easy or difficult will it be to put the club face on the golf ball.

Many players think if they hit the ball in the fairway the lie should be perfect. In theory, this is a good thought. However, even on very well manicured golf courses, you can find yourself with different lies in the fairway.

For example, different varieties of grass need to be cut at different heights. The longer the grass is the more the golf ball can sit on top of the grass.

Typically, Mid to high handicappers like this situation. With the ball sitting on top of a grass, it's kind of like having the ball sitting on a tee and they find it easier.

Depending on the golf course you play, the weather conditions can wreak havoc on a golf course as well. I spent many summers in Texas.

Even the best maintenance staffs with the best irrigation systems would have a hard time keeping up during some of the hot Texas summers.

Some parts of the fairway did not always have the same amount of grass as other parts.


The Yardage


The Wind


I think it goes without saying but, in my opinion,attempting to judge the wind is an art. It seems like some players have it all figured out and it is easy for them.

I have actually had conversations with players (some really good players) that thought that the wind did not change the flight of their golf ball.

I listened… but I do not agree with them.

Below is a good video from Trackman talking about how a tailwind or headwind can change the flight of a golf ball.

Once you figure that out, do not forget you may also have a wind blowing the ball from side to side.

Identify the Hazards On The Golf Hole


It never fails while I am doing a playing lesson on the golf course, I will ask a player where they are aiming and they will look at me like I have two heads and say... the flag.

That is not always the best choice.

Even the players you see playing on TV every weekend do not always aim at the flag.

I go back to the same they hitting a golf shot is not like shooting a rifle it's more like shooting a shotgun. there is going to be a dispersion pattern.

Whether you like it or not, you do have a regular pattern to your ball flight. You can use this to your advantage.

It is safe to say that most amateurs cut and or slice a golf ball and it only gets worse when they have a driver in their hand.

Many of you would benefit from teeing your ball up on the far right side of the teeing ground (tee box). Once you do this, the target that you select should be in the left center of the fairway, the left edge of the fairway or maybe even at a left side tree line.

This would depend on the typical movement of your golf ball in the air as well as where the hazards are located on the hole.

I know I know... I can hear you now, “but... that's when I hit it straight.” You may hit it straight every once in a while however, your past history does not indicate that that is going to happen on a regular basis.

If you keep setting up this way and keep hitting it straight, then I think we have a different problem.

Pre Shot Golf Routine From The Fairway

Once in the fairway, I typically go through a quick ABCD process.

Depending on the club that I have in my hand and where the flag is located that day, I will pick a small area around the flag and label that as A.

I will then look at the big part of the green also known as the fat part of the green and label that area as B.

I will then look around the green for hazards and I will label those areas as C.

Finally, there is usually a place that no matter what you do not want your golf ball to end up and I label that area as D.

2. Make a decision
What type of shot
Pick the club
4. Start behind the ball
5. Visualize the shot
6. Eliminate tension
7. Turn yourself on
8. Practice your golf pre shot routine

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