A routine is not a routine

PGA Fellow Professional

A routine is not a routine

A routine is not a routine
A routine is not a routine comes from the famous phrase, “A routine is not a routine if you have to think about it.” -Davis Love Jr. A very true statement when it comes to Golf.
I am a huge believer that when you have practised something over and over again it can become automatic. In my experience, I really do think that the majority of amateur golfers do not spend enough time on the driving range practising.

During my time as a PGA Golf Professional, I have taught thousands of golfers and there are very few who are happy with their game on the course. They spend 99% of their time on the course and 1% on the range and then they wonder that they struggle to play well.
I would love to see more players improving their game on the range but the 1% that do practice, general practice incorrectly.
We have all seen the average player turn up at the range and the first thing that they do is pull out the Driver first. They start thrashing balls with full force without warming up or stretching. Typically, they hit buckets of balls with no plan in place of what they want to achieve.
Players expect to see the odd miracle fly straight but the reality is different. They really tend to struggle and are upset that things didn’t go their way. With such poor results, they leave the range with no intention of returning anytime soon. Most people don’t want to go through that pain & misery again and again. Yet they then walk to the first tee and expect to have a good day and play well.

Is this ringing any bells? Does this seem familiar to you?

I suggest that you start with a practice plan.

If you play once a week, then have at least one session on the range, whether it is a planned session on the driving range or a planned session on your short game. you should at least balance out your Golf.

What do I mean by a planned session?
Start off with a little basic stretching for 5 minutes. 5 minutes feels like a long time for those who don’t normally stretch. Do this, even, before a short game practice, it will help you to create a stretching routine before you play.
I always go to the range with a practice plan. It could be that I wish to work on balance or rhythm. I may even work on a swing improvement but it is always only one thing that I work on. Don’t go to the range with no plan in mind.Then I suggest that you start off with a wedge. Making short swings and pitches, first of all, and slowly build up to full swings. Between each shot, take at least 2 or 3 practice swings and try to envisage your intended ball flight.
I would suggest playing 5 balls with each club. I like to skip over clubs too.
The practice routine that I do before going for a round of golf.
I start with a wedge, 5 balls, then I skip to the 8 iron, 5 balls, then skip to a 6 iron, 5 balls, then to a 4 iron for 5 balls. Eventually the rescue for 5 balls, 5 wood for 5 balls and then the Driver for 5 balls.
After finishing the above sequence I then turn again to my wedges and play a further few short pitches followed by a few chip shots. One thing that I never see is somebody working on their pre-shot or post-shot routine.
A pre-shot routine is vital if you are playing tournament Golf. It should make no difference if it’s a Monthly Medal or The Open Championship. A routine is very important.
So, What is a pre-shot routine?

I like to compare a pre-shot routine like a baking recipe. (I know, stay with me here)

Every recipe has a title and it will usually have a picture of the end result.
The recipe will have a list of what you need before you start.
There will be a step by step guide on how to bake your cake.
When you have followed the recipe exactly you should have the desired result.

In Golf, you will be faced with a situation.
You will need to make the right shot selection and also you should be able to see the shot in your head.
Take a look at the lie of the ball.
Choose the right club for the shot taking into consideration how the ball lies.
Decide on the length and speed of swing.
Take a few practice swings and imagine how the ball will react to those practice swings. Adjust the swing or club selection accordingly.
When you are sure that you have the correct club, swing length, swing speed, then play the shot.
When all goes to plan, you should find that the result is a good one.

If for whatever reason your result is poor, go over it again (in your head).
Remember what you did exactly and try to find something that you might change the next time around.
Not every baking recipe works on your first attempt but through practice, it should improve.

Do you agree with Davis Love Jr, “A routine is not a routine if you have to think about it.”
Would like to know how to practice properly?
Do you have a preshot routine?
Have you developed a warm-up routine before playing?
Do you stretch before practice or playing?
If you require any help, then get in contact with myself our with your local PGA Golf Professional.
What are your thoughts?
Please leave a comment or send me a message over the contact page.
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