Watching the world’s best players, you will notice every player has a specific routine. Whether that’s Jason Dufner and his club waggle (seven waggles at the last count) or Jordan Spieth tweaking his cap before he approaches the ball, Tour players use these routines to make sure they are in the right mindset to hit each shot. When I am on the range, I’m thinking about swing technique, drills and how to improve mechanics. When I’m on the golf course, there are four key steps to my routine.
1 Pick a target
The key here is to analyse what is around you and pick a small, precise point beyond your target – a pylon, a bench or the corner of the clubhouse for example. Remember, aim small – miss small.
2 Practice swing
The practice swing should be a relaxed rehearsal of the shot. Think about how you’re going to swing the club to produce the shot. For me, the number of practice swings I take depends how long it takes me to find the right feeling.
3 Setup to the ball
The key here is alignment. There are a few different ways to do this – I tend to be happy to align myself to my small target in the distance. Some people like to pick an intermediate target 2-3ft in front of the ball. Use an alignment stick on the range and find the process which works best for you.
4 Pre-shot look
I take one last look at the target before settling into my stance and taking the club away. If you’re comfortable at this point, let it go.
These steps work for me. Next time you’re practising, think about how you prepare for each shot and create a routine which works for you.