Updated: May 3, 2019
If I had a dollar for every time a student told me that they'd "like to be more consistent", well, let's just say I might just be lying comfortably on a beach somewhere in the caribbean right now... rather than shoveling snow!
Consistency is something that everyone struggles with. Bogey golfers and scratch golfers alike.
Now I should preface this by saying, there is no guarantee stated or implied in this tip toward consistency. There are too many external variables in this game to guarantee 100% consistency by heeding the following. I can say with certainty, however, this will make you MORE consistent.
THE major issue contributing to inconsistency that I find (in nearly every golfer's game), is that they approach EVERY shot with a different pre-shot routine/ritual. Swing flaws aside, how can you expect consistency if, prior to your approach shot on the first hole you take 2 practice swing beside the ball while looking at the ground, and prior to your approach shot on the second hole you take 3 practice swings while standing next to the ball - looking at your target? This game is difficult enough... who needs another obstacle!?
Here is my proposal (this may change a bit when you get to the green, and that's fine): that each type of shot in your bag have a consistent pre-shot routine.
Keys to developing a solid pre-shot routine:
1. Comfort You
- DON'T rush yourself in getting over the ball and making your stroke. Take a few seconds to consider the shape of the shot (trajectory, wind, etc), your target (which isn't always the flag), the lie of the ball. Take a couple (the number is up to you) of practice swings visualizing the shot your are about to hit. Don't address the ball until you've committed.
2. Get'a Rhythm
- Every golfer has a different rhythm about their game. Consider the pace that you walk, think, speak, come to decision on clubs, etc. Use this rhythm/timing in formulating a pre-shot routine. For most golfers, a pre-shot routine will last between 12 and 24 seconds - that's time from selecting the club to the second you pull the club back after addressing the ball. The idea is to spend enough time in your pre-shot so that you can formulate a shot that you are comfortable hitting without taking too much time. Taking more time than is necessary will get you thinking negative thoughts (hazards, misses, etc.). Those are important things to consider, but your last thought before you swing needs to be positive.
3. Over and Over Again
- Practice it until you can't practice it anymore. If you decide that you prefer to take 2 practice swings alongside the ball while looking at your target, DO IT. If you think you need 2 half-swings behind the ball while looking at your target before making 1 full practice swing alongside the ball while looking at the ground, do it. Just make sure that you do it EVERY SINGLE TIME.
The more you can stick to your pre-shot routine, the more likely you are to begin seeing consistent results.