By John Hayes, PGA
You should be able to write down the ROUTINE that you use to play any golf shot. If you find that you cannot put it into words in a simple manner then you may want to work on this in your next practice session! Athletes in all sports say how their ROUTINE will carry them through in the pressure of competition.
A basic pattern that I always teach to new golfers is to use a 4-Step process to play a shot. Step 1 involves looking at the GRIP. Step 2 has the golfer ALIGNING the clubface to the target. Step 3 involves you SQUARING UP YOUR BODY to the clubface. And Step 4 is the SWINGING of the golf club.
So your ROUTINE should involve all of these things. When you develop your ROUTINE it may seem awkward and time-consuming at first but keep working on it and it will begin to flow more smoothly. You need to be able to say, “This is what I need to accomplish to play a golf shot. And this is why I need to do the things in my routine.”
You may find that there are some things you need to discard from your normal routine such as the third through the eleventh practice swing that you have been taking! You may want to include the planning of the shot in your ROUTINE so you are selecting a target and then a club and shot that will get you to the target.
Your ROUTINE may begin with you standing by your golf bag and asking yourself, “Where is my target?” The flagstick is not always your target depending on the problem areas around the green. Your target may be an imaginary flagstick on the front left part of the green when the hole location is on the back right part of the green by a deep bunker.
So write down your ROUTINE starting with “Where is my target?” And ending with you holding the finish of the swing and watching the ball. Then go to the practice range and fine tune it.
Now when you go to the golf course you may actually have more time to socialize and enjoy the day because you don’t need to worry about the shot until you start your ROUTINE and when you are done with the swing then you are “off work” until your ROUTINE starts again at the next shot.
John Hayes is an accomplished PGA Teaching Professional who teaches at the Chi Chi Golf Range & Family Sports Complex at 2987 McMullen Booth Rd., Clearwater, FL 33761. For more information or to schedule a lesson, call John at (727) 692-4679 or email: [email protected]