golfer getting ready to hit ball on course

How to Build a Pre-Shot Routine for Golf

All great golfers have one thing in common: a good pre-shot routine. While all golfers have different swings, they all have some sort of routine that they do before each round of golf that gets them ready to get out there and get in a great shot. But what’s the secret? How can you build a great pre-shot routine for golf? Continue reading to find out.

Whether you are a pro golfer or just play for fun, a good pre-shot routine is important to possess. This article will take a look at the reasons you need a pre-shot routine, as well as some tips on building the perfect routine for you and your golf game. So, without further ado, let’s get started! 

Why do You Need a Pre-Shot Routine?

Well, if you want to be a pro you need to act like one. Picking up some of the things that pros do during their game can only help you in the long run. While you may not be knocking the ball all the way down the green like they do, but you could at least incorporate some strategies in there, like a pre-shot routine. 

A pre-shot routine in golf can help you speed up your playing time, gain more and more confidence with each shot taken, adjust to new courses no matter where you are playing, and play better competitive golf. These are just a few of the benefits of creating a great pre-shot routine for your golf game. Putting in the work will create a much better game for you and get your swinging like a pro (or closer, anyway) in no time.

Tips For Building a Pre-Shot Routine

In order to create a pre-shot routine, you  may have to go through some trial and error first, as everyone is different. However, there are some fundamentals that should be included in everyone’s routine. Let’s take a look at what those are.


  1. Have a trigger to tell your mind when it’s time to prepare. This may sound menial and unimportant. However, training your mind to know when it is time to get into game mode is important. It sets the tone for your whole game. This can start the moment you velcro your gloves or when you are walking out to the green. This is the moment that you should go into playing mode and turn your thinking mind off. Focus on the game from this point on. This may sound a bit extreme to someone who is playing for fun, but doing this can help you tremendously if you ever do play for competition, as your mind will be trained to do this each time you do that trigger.
  2. Calculate your distance. Now that your mind is in the right place, it’s time to look at the distance you will be shooting. If you are teeing off, then you will want to create a strategy involving how you will play the hole, your club choice, analyze any fairway bunkers, OB or hazards you want to avoid, and your intended outcome of the shot. If you are playing the fairway, you’ll need to take into consideration the distance to the flag, your club choice, your biggest target, any bunkers, and OB or hazards you’ll need to avoid. Though this may sound like a lot of work, the more you do it and it becomes routine, the easier it will become. It will be almost automatic.
  3. Analyze your shot. This is the thinking phase of your pre-shot routine and should be done carefully and methodically. Analyze where you want your ball to land and what would happen if your ball landed in another place, but not too far off. Then, you can make your intended target halfway in between those two spots. By having a “good miss” in mind, even if you do miss your intended target, you will (hopefully) still be in a good spot. It has been said that “a good round comes down to how good your misses are” (Golf State of Mind). Make sure to zone in on your target and be very specific on where you want your ball to land. Then, you should at least be able to get a good miss.
  4. Visualize your shot. Visualize everything from the shape and trajectory to exactly where the shot will land and even how it will behave upon its landing. Visualization is a very powerful tool in your pre-shot routine because it dives into your subconscious mind. The more your mind focuses on the outcome you want, the more confident you will be in your shot and the less negativity will pop up. By placing efforts in visualizing your perfect shot, you are setting yourself up for success.
  5. Take practice swings. Now, after all of your mental prep, you will need to prepare your physical swing. Taking practice swings is important to get the feel for your shot. Remember, you are not simply loosening up here. You are physically preparing your body to meet your mind and bringing those visualizations to life. Also, practicing visualization while practicing is a great way to meld the two together. Bring your mind and body together to prepare you for your shot.
  6. Execute your shot. Now that you have gone through your pre-shot routine, it’s time to execute it. Take all of that preparation and put it to use. Then, whatever happens, accept the outcome. Practice makes perfect, even with pre-shot routines, so keep it up and it will become like second nature before each and every shot.

A great pre-shot routine is the foundation of a good shot in golf. It should be designed to fit the individual golfer’s needs and skills, yet there are some fundamentals that should be incorporated into every pre-shot routine, no matter whose it is. Going through a routine will not only have you well-prepared for your shot, but it will also drive away any negative thinking and give you more confidence in yourself and your shot.

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