It is here at last the final installment of this series. So lets skip the intro and jump straight to it!
Pre Shot Routine
This has been an ever changing area for me, when I 1st started to play I didn’t have one and was 100% focused on hitting the ball pretty much as hard as I could.
Fair to say my journey of ‘Pre Shot Routine’ has seen a few versions, I would take a guess and say I’m on my 3rd or 4th concentration of it now! Not good, and some of you may ask why it has changed so much in a 12 month period…. Good questions, the answer…..
I’m improving, I think… What I mean is I am improving, and I think because of this my pre shot routine is altering to my new game and mind-set. I have touched on this in Past 2 of this series, but my routine consist of the follow which I will go through briefly:
Common sense and this is no different to any golfer good or bad. Picking a target it sticking with it is critical; I have usually accepted a genera area. I may say I’m aiming at the flag but in all reality I’m happy with 15 foot circle around my target, if not bigger. Unless I’m putting!
A great phase I have picked up on recently is from Nick Dougherty’s “Aim small miss small, aim big miss big” This really hits the nail on the head, laser like focus on your target does really help. Yes it does take a lot of concentration for a whole round, and yes I fall short of 100% concentration on every shot but its part of my learning curve. At least I know I suffer from this.
Side note: Search Nick Dougherty on Instagram for Tee Time Tips, they are great 60 second videos on tips to help you. If you are a UK golf watcher of Sky Sports, you would of recently seen him during The Open broadcast.
As for putting, this is no different in fact we all natural aim small here, but not always of the tee or playing a 2nd shot on a par 5. Do you fall short of this? Let me know, and challenge yourself to ‘Aim Small’.
So I’m going to un-shamefully promote an upcoming post here, on a full revie of the mobile app HOLE 19. The review covers both the free and paid for service offered the app covers stats that can be reviewed after a round but also works as a GPS and map whilst you are on course. Can it help a newcomer to golf? You will all have to wait and see, post will be out early August!
Moving on from that little advert, distance! Knowing or figuring out the distance is part of the pre shot routine, selecting what club to play is based on mine and your perception of distance. So naturally I take this into consideration, and like most newcomers to golf I have my preferred clubs and clubs that the ‘fear factor’ starts to creap in, again I take this all into consideration before stepping up to the ball to swing!
An area I have struggled with, I have touched on this during the 2nd post of this series and there is a great video from Andy and Piers from Me and My Golf that I shared a link with…. Not seen the video or read the whole series so far? Why not? I’m not going to help you out by re posting the link, but I will share the link to the blog post it’s in! Yes another plug from me!
The video did have an instant improvement from me, however I have to stay conscious of this and not become complacent with aligning to my target just because I’ve seen a big improvement in this area.
It helps me with knowing if I have hit a bad shot off line or if I have just lined up off line. There is a big difference here both with confidence and fixing the issues. So many times I have assumed have push a shot when in reality I have been aiming right of my target! Sound familiar??
My home course is less than a mile from the coast, it’s not a links course but I we do get links like conditions.
I’m still learning to play in windy conditions, I have had a lesson when it was blowing a gale so had some tips thrown in on how to play.
Knowing that I have a high ball flight does not help here, so trying to hit a 52 degree wedge onto the green from 90 yards out (it’s my only wedge before any one thinks why is her hitting that club!) is not going to be the most effective shot in high winds. So opting for a low bump and run shot is the more effective shot.
This is due to experience gained of being on the wrong side of the wind. A scenario that all of you would of experiences over the last couple of months is baked and rock hard fairways. I’ve had time to gain experience playing in these conditions, but last week played a charity/corporate golf day with work. One of my colleagues who plays golf on and off depending on how much we play with work had never played in these conditions. He could not get use to have to select clubs to play short of the green and let the ball run up to the pin. In stead for the 1st 4/5 holes he was trying to pitch it within 6 foot of the pin to find every ball was bouncing and running well off the green.
The point I am trying to make is conditions play a massive part to pre shot routine as club selection is a key part of this.
Knowing how the ball will play in all conditions is key as well, I have the winter to come so have all the joys of learning to play in wind and rain to come! How do you get on with this area of the game?
I touched on this at the start of this subject, ‘Grip it and Rip it’ was the mind-set last summer. Without sounding like an egomaniac, I can hit the ball well (from time to time), I can generate a lot of power in my small statue (from a history of sports). However I have to slow my swing down to keep accuracy, tempo some call it.
The slower I swing the more accurate I become, and generally I don’t lose distance by doing so.
I drum this into my head before I get to the course, swing slow and swing smooth, during the warm up and during my practice swings. I had the luxury of attending the senior open at Royal Porthcawl last year and saw Fred Couples swing which I can only described as lazy for a want of a better phase, and I mean that as a compliment! I try to emulate that laziness!
So my swing thought is not when I am over the ball but a mindset and reminder I tell myself before and during the round.
Please bear in mind that all of the above is from my point of view, it may be expressed differently by others. The point i am trying to make is that a pre shot routine is VERY IMPORTANT!
My final comment on the subject of pre shot routine is I tend to do 90% of this about 6 foot from behind the ball. So when I step up I have a clear vision in my mind.
Do you have a pre shot routine? Share your thoughts and ideas, as you can guess I’m not shy of changing!
On/Around the greens
Just to clarify when I say around the greens I’m talking 20 to 30 yards and in, but let’s start with…..
3 Putting, we have all been there, some more than others! For me it went a little unnoticed if I am being 100% honest. I was more concerned with striking the ball well and not losing tee shots, once I started to track stats I noticed that I was 3 putting up to 50%! That’s 9 shots I’m giving away.
I tried to correct it myself, but as some of you know I am a fan of lessons and getting things right before I build up bad habits. Needless to say I have my own pre shot routing for putting, and the dreaded 3 putt is now down to 10% .
Over the last few weeks I’ve had a number of people get in touch with me as I have recently hit my 2018 goal of breaking 100! Asking how did I do it, that their putting is way off! Some have had lessons some haven’t. I don’t think there is a quick fix here or anywhere in golf. Even with lessons you have to put the work in. With more of us having less and less time for ourselves the less we are working on the game especially newcomers that may only get out 2/3 time a month.
The point im making is practice as I have mentioned in part one of the series and on the green is a place to focus on saving a few shots. Just think for every 3 putt you prevent you save a shot. So those of you on 101 or 102 you are so close! Keep grinding!
For those shots that didn’t make the green the dilemma comes, do I try and get the ball up in the air or do I go for the boring bump and run?!
Me? I use to go for the up and down option, when my striking got better I went with the 52 due to the loft, did it help? Only over bunkers or when I have to go over water. Everything else getting the wedge, 9i or 7i and get the ball rolling with some pace has worked out so much better for me!
I feel into the habit of watching the pro and thinking I should be using wedges from here. In reality I can not control spin and distance control at that distance is still a work in progress. So the bump and run is way my effective and functional.
Still this is an area where I am prone to leaving it well shot for an up and down par save or even a bogey!
So to summarise I use my pre shot routine to get my target set based on weather conditions and distance. Drumming into my head that my swing speed needs to be slow and smooth to increase the probability of the shot being pulled off is my main swing thought at the moment.
Thought for the readers: Do you have a pre shot routine? If you are new to golf, not matter how basic this process is; it has a positive impact on your game so try and work on one! Need help get in touch and I will share some of the videos and tips I’ve gone through.
On/Around the green, I don’t go for what looks good. I go for what I’m more likely to pull off! Doesn’t stop me trying to work on those dramatic shots for a later day but when I’m on the course to score I play what works for me.
So that is the series done! I hope some of you have taken some positive tips from my mind set to golf as a Rookie in my 1st year! Or perhaps you can take solace that you are not the only one going through the same things as me, and visa versa!
I am really keen to hear your thoughts on this seris so please do get in touch via social media, the blog contact info. I want this to be interactive and I want to be able to deliver content that is great to read and informative.
Until next time happy golfing!