Creating The Perfect Golf Routine
There’s a joke that describes a golfer’s perceived struggle with consistency. Following four topped shots and a beautiful tee ball, the golfer says, “You see…that’s my problem, I’m just not consistent.” The instructor replies, “All we gotta do is get rid of that good one and you’ll be perfect!” The secret to a sustainable level of incremental achievement lies in creating the perfect golf routine.
A big part of playing great golf is being more consistent within the process associated with achievement. One of the ways we do this is by building a routine that provides the structure for positive performance and growth on the course. Here are a few strategies to consider from start to finish to get the most out of your day.
A solid pre-round routine encompasses a variety of areas which should include: fuel, muscle activation and shot warm-up.
Upon waking, start with 1-2 tall glasses of water followed by a breakfast low in sugar and rich in protein. 2-3 organic eggs, steamed kale and a couple slices of nitrate free bacon will get you moving and full of energy. Pack water in a BPA free container to store in your golf bag, along with a banana and nuts to keep you fueled throughout the round. If you like a little caffeine, try organic coffee or green tea sweetened with stevia. The key is to avoid the common breakfast pitfalls. Skip the cereal, ditch the donuts and avoid sugary coffee concoctions or orange juice that lead to a late round crash.
Your best warm-up takes place before you hit the practice tee. Begin with cardio to help get your heart rate elevated and blood flow moving. Jumping jacks or a walk around the block are great from home, whereas a little time on an exercise bike or treadmill are tops for a fitness center or clubhouse gym. Once you get moving, incorporate some active stretches that target the glutes, hips and shoulders. Finish off with massage on a foam roller or other devices designed to break up tightness and knots.
Once you’re loose as a goose, arrive at the practice tee at least 45 minutes before your tee time. This ensures you won’t be rushed, which can immediately throw you off your game. Begin by focusing on the basics of alignment and rhythm. Hit a sampling of short, medium and long clubs in the progression that works best for you. A great strategy to get off to a fast start is to play the shots required on the first few holes. Finish with a few putts to gauge the speed of the greens and you’re on your way.
A pre-shot routine gets you set for success and ready to play with confidence. Begin by connecting with the target. Use your imagination and create a mental picture of what your perfect shot looks like. This quote from Jack Nicklaus perfectly illustrates this concept at its best.
“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. First I see the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I see the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”
Think Jack “actually” did this? I’d say 18 major victories is a pretty good indicator he’s telling the truth.
Once your image is crystal clear, your next goal is to surrender to the moment. This is where you allow your body and mind to relax as you swing with total freedom. A good way to think of this is to consider the difference in physical and emotional state of two parachuters. Parachuter “A” is terribly afraid the parachute won’t open. The fall is full of worry and the experience an unpleasant one. Parachuter “B,” believes in his equipment and training. He screams with excitement as he enjoys the ride. Golf is the same. Train for success, see what you want, then let go.
The post round routine is designed to help you recognize the good stuff, while identifying key areas for improvement. At the end of your round take a moment and acknowledge something you did great. A nice putt, drive, birdie, recovery shot….whatever. By pointing out one instance where you were amazing, you’ll set the stage for more positive experiences to come. Once you accept a personal pat on the back, focus on what we call “The Lesson.” This could be anything, so long as improving this area leads to lower scores. Whether it’s straightening out the tee ball or playing more break on your putts, your “Lesson” creates a functional practice focus to prepare for your next round.
Routines, like fingerprints are unique and no two players are expected to prepare in the exact same way. The key is to understand the basic elements of a solid routine and then create one tailored to your personal style and attitude. Once your routine is established, remain steadfast in your execution and commitment.
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