Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Power of a Routine.

I received a call at United States Golf Academy from a player I know pretty well. He was concerned about the lack of consistency in his game. My answer to him was the same as always. The player never approached a shot the same way twice. He just walks up and hits the ball and wonders what goes wrong when he hits it poorly and thinks he has it all figured out when he strikes it well. The lack of a consistent approach to the shot breeds the inconsistency he fights.

As you think about your own golf game and whether or not you have consistent routine to prepare for the shot, it is important to realize that the routine is not the cure to bad shots. I have worked with many players on developing a routine only to see they have abandoned the process because “it didn’t work”. The routine is just a way to simplify the process and eliminate as many variables as you can.

Any routine is a good start. We use the following guidelines at the Academy:

Target Acquisition. When deciding where the next shot needs to go one should make the decision from a consistent location. We recommend behind the ball looking directly at the intended direction you wish the ball to travel.
Build the Robot. Once the direction is determined you have to take the time you place the mechanism (your body) in position to complete the task (hit the golf ball). As we have discussed before, this is best achieved by placing the club head to the ball, then hands on the club, then the alignment of the shoulders, working your way to your feet.
Create a trigger. The start of the swing should be automatic. It is tough to think your way to a smooth start. My daughter is a dancer and I have encouraged her to use a 5,6,7,8 count as they would to start a dance routine. She has taught herself 8 means move and so there is no additional thought to take the golf club away.

Once the routine is place practice the routine. You need not hit balls to do this. You will find the consistency of your golf shots will improve. The good swings will produce better results, but more important the poor swings are easier to fix because the misses will be more consistent so the flaws are easier to detect.

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