Watching the U.S. Open recently reminds me of a basic principle that makes golf so unique and challenging…”you never know where your next shot will be hit from.” Abendroth ’07
This championship proves that even the best players in the world can not be 100% sure where their shot will end up, and that makes the next shot a huge challenge. Now we reach the ball, and need to prepare the next shot in about 30 seconds. Check the wind, distance, elevation, club choice and how you are feeling? Every time we hit a golf shot something is different. One must be adaptable.
So let me give you a couple of ideas on being adaptive and ready to hit a new shot every time. You need to be ready for just about anything… remember, it’s golf!
Get to your ball and be observant of the conditions as you prepare. After you check the wind and yardage, now you go to work. Make a couple of rehearsal swings that can act as your preparation. From the very beginning with a tee shot this preparation is a key, as you may have a certain target or want to work the ball with a draw or fade. Plan your play and learn it here, because you hit a tee-shot every single hole you play.
If you have a tight line with an approach shot, find a similar ground condition and make a few practice swings to test the turf. Great preparation and pre-shot routines is unique to golf. In other sports you cannot prepare so well as most sports are more based on immediate reaction.
Putting may be the most appropriate place for rehearsal and preparation, especially when you consider that putting is generally in the range of 25%-35% of the amount of total strokes you make in a round of golf.
In his books, Dr. Bob Rotella highlights the idea of looking at the line of the putt and focusing on the speed, as the lion’s share of your preparation. Your putting stroke should be pretty instinctive, so don’t think so much about that in your pre-shot routine but do focus on the line and the speed.
So be ready, be creative, adaptive and you’ll be a better player.