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On a daily basis, I will occasionally glance out my office window that overlooks the driving range here at the Cantigny Golf Academy  and watch the golfers hitting balls. Inevitably, here's what I see... golfers warming up for their round, or in a practice session, standing over their ball at address, making a swing, hitting their shot, watching the result... then immediately rolling another ball from their 'rock pile' in front of them and repeating the process... over and over and over again. 

So what's wrong with this picture?  Let me answer the  question  by first asking another question...

Do you think 'how' we practice impacts our performance on the golf course when we actually 'play' a round? Simple question, simple answer... ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

Therefore, because 'how' we practice on the range directly correlates to the results we get when we play, we better make darned sure that we have an effective practice system that includes... a PRE-SHOT ROUTINE ... and make sure that we make the 'routine' just that... a routine! We need to make the routine 'exactly' the same when we  practice and when we play!

Doesn't it make sense that, if we continue to practice one way... rolling ball after ball in front of us and hitting shot after shot in nearly rapid-fire sequence... and then play another way... taking time between each shot, and having a changing target for each shot that includes a different lie, a specific different distance and direction from the previous shot... that our results may be markedly different than our effectiveness when hitting balls on the range?  It doesn't take an experienced golfer to know the answer to this question!

We are creatures of habit and the habits we develop while practicing on the range... and even during our pre-game warm-up sequence... completely translates into the results... 'good or bad'... that we experience when playing on the course!

Therefore, w hat does your pre-shot routine look like? You have one right? 
If not, here are the steps to build one. It's never too late! And, the sooner you have one, the better! 

Developing an effective pre-shot routine takes time and practice. In the end, the routine will reflect a system that works for you and one that you can embrace for every swing you make... in practice, in warm-up, during every round you play, and in every situation during the round. 

The pre-shot routine is your 'constant'. It is the routine you do which puts the whole golf swing and upcoming shot into motion.  Each player will have a different spin on what this should look like and feel like for them, yet will share certain commonalities with the most successful players.  Remember the goal of this routine is to create the right feel in your swing, help you relax, guide your focus and get the ball to the target. 

Here are some considerations in developing your own pre-shot routine:
  • Each swing should have a specific purpose. Don't think club to ball, but rather ball to target!
  • Make your pre-shot routine dynamic and alive!
  • Begin your routine with a rehearsal swing next to the ball so that the player can get a feel of the slope of their shot and the lie conditions of their shot.
  • Chose a movement that allows you to perform your real swing with the right tempo and rhythm. You can use a waggle, several short practice swings, etc.
  • Make sure you include some sort of relaxation or visualization technique. For example, Aaron Baddeley always closes his eyes for a brief second prior to hitting each shot.
Most great players of the game are always collecting vital information on the conditions around them. They know these conditions will affect their club selection and shot selection and ultimately dictate the outcome on their ability to score. 

Pros think, "Okay, what is my plan here? What do I need to be doing? Where do I want the ball to land?" 

They're evaluating the direction of the wind and how hard or light it is blowing. By the time they're over the ball, all they're doing is looking at their target, feeling what they want to do and then pulling the trigger. 

If you ask anybody who plays and shoots a great score, "What were you thinking?", they'll tell you the same thing, "Nothing." All planning and preparing goes into the pre-shot routine so golfers are 'free' to simply execute once they are at address over the ball.
Hope some of this information helps you play this week... and for the remainder of your season!
To your 'golf-fit' game,

Dr. Paul

P.S. Still searching for  help with your swing?

Life's too short to have a bad swing... so  CONTACT ME TODAY  to schedule your FREE Golf Fitness Training and Total Golf Performance Consultation 

There are many other helpful strategies to improve your full swing and help you achieve full control of your shots.  Therefore, if you're serious about improving your game, consulting with a golf fitness and total performance professional to help design a golf-specific and fully-customized program to most efficiently and safely reach your total golf performance objectives is something you should consider.

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It's always great to receive positive feedback from clients I work with about how their custom golf fitness training and total wellness and performance programs are working for them to feel better and play better golf.

Here's a note I just received yesterday from one of my clients...

"Dr. Paul,

Before I started my golf fitness and total golf performance program with you, I was having balance problems with my swing... I was always falling backward onto my back foot just after impact, so I was losing the ball way to the right of the target and losing a lot of distance.  

I wanted to share with you that, the balance and stability training program you prescribed has been working great! In just a few short weeks, performing the exercises and swing drills you gave me on a daily basis, I can now swing through my shot in balance, my shots are going much straighter, and my swing is much faster and more powerful...  I have picked up at least 25 yards with all of my clubs!

Thanks for suggesting your '1% Membership Club'. It has been perfect for me since I live far away from your office.  

I'm very happy so far with my early results and am excited to think about how much better I can get as I continue your program!"

P.F. (age 27)
Dallas, TX