Golf Pre-Shot and Post-Shot Routines…Improve Your Consistency

Kathy G. Jensen

Why is a routine good for your golf game?  A routine is a very effective method of improving your focus and consistency.  By focusing on a plan for the current situation, a routine should have the tendency to execute the shot at hand with more confidence.  A golf pre-shot routine creates a consistent pattern that you have control in the beginning set-up, while the post-shot routine is about supported balance and ending posture.

Pre-Shot Routine

What is your pre-shot routine?  When looking for your own personal pre-shot routine, consider a style that makes sense for you and your level of golf.  It is like a unique fingerprint that varies from person to person.  A routine is a systematic and consistent function that may contain a sequence of checkpoints, thoughts, movements or details, which executed by a player before hitting a golf shot.

A pre-shot routine is great system for simplifying thoughts prior to the golf shot and reducing the time of unwanted irrelevant other thoughts.  As you watch players of all skill levels, the mannerisms at the beginning of their swing or set up tend to be identical for each shot.  They are going through their pre-shot routine.

What methods are contained in a pre-shot routine?  It usually is a simple pattern of events that each player covers that are important to their needs.  The grip, alignment to the target, visualizing the shot, certain wiggles and posture are basic movements prior to actually hitting a golf ball, which may be included into a pre-shot routine.  Other ideas to your routine may also include the beginning process: choosing a club, imagining the shot at hand, going through your significant steps as grip, aim, posture, comfort, clear mind and beginning balance before the entire actual movement begins.  Keep in mind the overall balance for timing throughout the swing. There are more or less detailed thoughts per individual and situation before performing the shot.

This not only carries through the full swing but also should be a very similar system for the short game and putting too. This process should take less than 15 seconds. When developing your own pre-shot routine, start with practice.

Post-Shot Routine

What is a post-shot routine? Most players know about a pre-shot routine, but what happens at the end of your shot?  By developing a consistent ending to the golf shot, it will compliment the beginning and creates a total package to the golf swing and shot execution.  The post-shot routine helps you keep the emotions in check; the swing becomes more balanced, developing consistency throughout the entire game.

Some suggestions for a post-shot routine may contain these methods.  Balance is probably a high priority on the checklist.  At the end of your personal golf swing, hold your finished posture in balance until the golf ball lands after flight for the full swing.  In putting, hold your finish until the golf ball stops rolling.  This gives the player a chance to identify where the golf ball is going, but most important holding the balance longer is part of a post-shot routine.  Sticking the landing, so to speak, will determine confidence on shot execution.  Pose at the end to look like a golfer, creates a routine for balance.  If you watch better players, they even add more to their balance finish with a relaxed style.  They may relax the arms or twirl the club, whatever your ending, make it repeatable.

Ending balance also maintains a sense of rhythm and timing of the golf swing.  You can swing as hard, fast or slow as you want, however only swing to your skill level when you hold your ending in a controlled balanced finish.  Visualize your ending of your swing at the pre-shot routine and try to obtain this image to reality into the finish posture.  Over time, both the pre and post shot routines will work together and develop a total overall swing that is manageable throughout your practice and game.  Use your routine when you need it most and trust your techniques.

In no time, you’ll have a pre-shot and post-shot routine that you can maintain and feel good about, which should be easier to take out on the course.  Once it is ingrained, I believe you should notice improvement in your consistency and lower scores.

Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen, PGA, is the PNW PGA Section Golf “Teacher of the Year” 2012. For more information, please visit