The Importance of Routine
Routine, we all have some sort of a routine in our daily lives to one degree or another. The underlying principle behind many successful people is the tailored nature of their routine. From Olympic gymnasts to multi-billionaire successful entrepreneurs.
There is no reason your average weekly golfer shouldn’t incorporate some basic concept of a tailored routine into their practice and play. Having a routine of any sort limits uncertainty and offers a base from which to always return home. It has proven to limit tension and anxiety, the Grim Reaper of the golf swing!
Learning Routine at College
Before turning Professional I was fortunate enough to receive a golf scholarship to the University of Louisville. 5 am structured workouts, followed by a quick breakfast, and then straight to morning classes, a quick lunch thrown in following the nutritionist’s meal plan of course! all before the afternoon practice. To finish the day: evening study hall with some extra tutoring and finally fall back into living quarters for some version of a lasagne!. A few hours sleep if you were lucky and the alarm rings again alerting you to the fact that you have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to do something you love and the bonus of getting an education.
The early morning structured routine proved invaluable to ensure everything else could get done. The nutritional plans (when followed) did provide that extra pep in my step for the afternoon sessions and the team building gave me friends for life.
Good coaching, in my opinion, is not just about the mechanics of the swing, it’s about relaying the message to the student on all aspects of the game. From clinching the putt for a win to how you set up the approach. What’s the focus: how much negative talk is going on, replacing the negative with a positive. All of this requires a tailored routine of some sort.
Having a pre-shot routine, both on and off the course sets the stage for learning. I see far too many people go to practice with no plan, in 20 minutes they have hit 50 balls with no real aim, in any sense of the word. They then go to the course and wonder why the ball is heading in the opposite direction from their intended target. Little knowing the “practice” they had so diligently worked on just reinforced the fact that every one of those 50 balls they hit they were never aiming at the target and now their swing has developed accordingly to accommodate for the misalignment.
So the practice routine should include structure, in lieu of quantity. It is better to hit 25 consistently well thought out shots as opposed to 100 hit as if firing an AK-47.
Routine in practice can look different for many, but the main points to follow are:
- Take your time on each shot
- Alignment is critical, use alignment sticks or clubs laid down parallel to your target. BE as exact as you can.
- Visualization – Whatever it is you are working on try to incorporate some. So you can take it to the course.
- Step away from each shot – before hitting the next one. You would On the course so practice should be the same.
- Be methodical – in how you work through your practice. For example, you could hit 4 balls doing drills and then the 5th would incorporate your on course pre-shot routine.
Develop Your Own Pre-Shot Routine
I can’t stress enough the importance of this. For me and every other Professional, it provides the backbone to consistent rounds of golf. Pre-shot routines vary greatly, from highly detailed to just a couple of basic steps. My pre-shot routine was developed during college and includes details such as the number of steps I take to get to the setup to how many moves I make before hitting the shot. It is the same every time. Yours can be as basic or as detailed as you choose. Some questions to consider for developing your pre-shot routine can include all or some of the points below:
- Evaluate the shot – look at what you do naturally before you take your stance.
- Steps to walk to your ball – after evaluating – how many do you take?
- Practice swing – if you take one, where do you take it?
- Setting your stance – do you move your feet back and forth to get set?
- Trigger – what is your trigger just before the backswing?
My Pre-Shot Routine
- Place bag down 3 feet to the right of ball
- Assess the shot
- Visualize the play
- Stand behind the ball and take a practice swing outside of the play box (See Vision 54 Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott)
- Walk 4 steps into the play box and set up just inside the ball
- Watch club halfway back for pre-shot practice feel
- Step forward and feel weight balance between each foot
- Move club back with wrist motion twice
- Club down behind ball checking alignment over left shoulder
- Set all body lines from ground up
- Breathe out
PS. Remember as always: Do as many of these things as possible while the other players in your group are playing their shots and do everything you can to keep up with the group ahead – play fast.
Lizzy Freemantle Schremp has been coaching golf for over 15 years. After receiving a scholarship to play for the University of Louisville in the United States she subsequently went on to become a PGA Professional at Oxmoor Country Club in Louisville Kentucky. Lizzy has worked with a number of other professionals and coached clients of all skill levels, ranging from beginner to professional.
Lizzy completed certification in all 6 areas of the PGA certified professional program in 2007. She was honored to receive Kentucky Section Assistant of the year, 2007, Created and developed the Oxmoor Golf and Fitness Academy and received the Titleist Scholarship Award in 2006.
Lizzy now spends most of her time coaching and fitting in the United Kingdom as one of the Professionals with Adam Bishop Golf.