If you have ever been to a PGA Tour event and followed a player throughout his round, you probably noticed him going through his pre-shot routine before almost every shot he hits. Some players have very unique routines that they might go through while others might have a few simple things they do before they hit their shot. Either way they do it, what matters is the actual process that they go through. This process is what clears their mind and prepares them to make a great swing. The key point to remember about a pre-shot routine is that it stays consistent. The consistency of this routine will make your body and mind familiar with what is about to happen, therefore will make a better environment to hit the ball whether you are under pressure or not.
So what does a good pre-shot routine consist of? It can be any number of things to get you ready to hit the ball – the most common being alignement, grip, practice swing, and waggle. You’ll often seeing players lining up behind the ball and looking at their target. Jim Furyk will often pick out a spot in front of the ball to align his clubface before each shot. One or more practice swings are common to get the feel for your lie, slope, stance, and the type of club you are using. A grip check is often done to make sure your best grip is in place. Then finally, you might take a few waggles to relax a bit more and feel the clubhead. Jason Dufner has a very pronounced waggle that he takes before each shot he hits.
Each pre-shot routine is unique and yours should be too. Just make sure it’s not too long and it makes you feel comfortable. Stick with it and make it consistent – you’ll be glad you did.