Have you ever said to yourself, “I’m really hitting it well on the range, but I just can’t take it to the course?” Or “I can make putts on the practice green but can’t keep it going during my round?” I may have an answer.
Most golfers spend much of their time practicing the physical part of the game – hitting balls, practicing putting, chipping, etc. When was the last time, if ever, you “practiced” your pre-shot routine? I mean really worked on it.
I recently asked 10 of my students what their routine was before every shot. Only one had a “semi-routine” but when I played a few holes with him the routine was not consistent (and consequently neither was his play). While winning the U.S. Open, Martin Kaymer had a consistent and deliberate routine before every shot he played.
The timing of his routine did not change from Thursday through Sunday. Years ago, Greg Norman lost a six-stroke lead to Nick Faldo in the final round of the Masters. It was later noted that Norman literally doubled his pre-shot routine time from his first three successful rounds and was completely out of sorts.
The practice tee is just that – the area that you practice completely what you might expect on the course. I see too many players hitting ball after ball on the range as if it was an aerobics exercise. That’s not how it works on the course.
Take the time to go through your pre-shot routine and then play a shot on the range. Get good at a concise, repeatable, dependable routine before every shot in practice. You will then become much more consistent on the course no matter who is watching or what you are playing for – maybe even a trophy!
Tim Fries is head pro at the Transit Valley Country Club in Clarence. For Fries’ video demonstration of this tip, go to video.buffalonews.com. WNY PGA club pros will offer weekly tips in Wednesday’s editions of The News.