Top 100 Teacher: Follow these steps to perfect your pre-shot routine
YouTube / Transformation Golf
Every golfer has a different pre-shot routine, but most of them resemble one another. Player tees up their golf ball. They look up towards the target to visualize the shot. They step over the ball for a practice swing. They hit their ball.
While this all seems simple enough, every golfer knows that it’s not always easy to master the right approach.
Outside factors often come into play — especially on the mental side during a frustrating round, when golfers often speed up their game. But having a pre-shot routine that is consistent before each hole will go a long way in hitting better golf shots.
Setting up the perfect pre-shot routine
In the video below, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Lou Guzzi explains his pre-shot routine, which should serve as a guide for golfers — whether amateur or more experienced — for finding a more consistent tee shot.
Guzzi’s tee shot in the video is difficult, as he’s carrying the water in front of him, yet still needs to avoid going out of bounds on both the left and the right side of the fairway. This is where having a pre-shot routine to calm any nerves and get your mind right is so important, and Guzzi breaks down some steps below to get into the right groove.
1. Tee it up and take a step back
Part of having a good pre-shot routine in golf is to visualize the shot before hitting it. Guzzi reminds players this, saying, “from the point where I tee that ball up, to the point when it hits the fairway, it’s about 30 seconds. So I’m getting behind the golf ball here, and I want to make a practice swing, and feel the club that I’m about to use.”
2. Focus on your angles
Now that you have an idea of the different landing spots on the hole, Guzzi says it’s time to focus on your angles. This will help you put together a plan of attack for your shot.
“I’m going to get behind the golf ball. This is the time where I’m going to relax and start to see my angles; where I’m going to start this golf ball,” Guzzi says. “As I’m looking at the hole, I’m starting to pay attention to where I want to start the ball — my little left-to-right fade.”
3. Visualize the shot
There are different ways to visualize the shot, but Guzzi says he first imagines a field goal post from a football field, which gives him the ideal width of the fairway. He then takes his mind back to the driving range, to give himself a comfortable setting.
“I’m going to visualize a field goal [from football], and my golf ball is going to go through the left side of the field goal. I have some wiggle room to right, and I know the fairway is a little past my field goal.
“Next, I’m bringing it to the range, where I’m used to hitting my driver. I can now see the range with the same environment, with both the aim line and the field goal. That’s going to make it so much easier to make this swing on such a difficult hole.”
4. Breathe in and out
Next, Guzzi suggests releasing tension by breathing in and out, which helps relax the mind and muscles.
“I take a deep breath in through the nose, and, as I start to walk towards the ball, paying attention to where I need to aim the club, I’m going to let the oxygen out through the mouth, nice and slow. That’s going to release a lot of tension.”
5. Find your aim line, waggle, swing
Finally, before taking your swing, Guzzi approaches the ball and says he’s “staring at that spot [about 18 inches in front of the ball], since that’s on my aim line. That’s where I need the club to be set up.”
Next, Guzzi gives “two waggles,” loosening up his muscles and hips.
Finally, stand over the ball, and give yourself one last visualization to build confidence.
“Visually, I’m going back to the range, where I can see the shot I’ve hit hundreds and hundreds of times. That’s going to make me relaxed, and visualize that I’m on the mat, ready to play my little left-to-right fade. Now it’s time to swing… let’s go.”