Pre-Shot Routine and its Importance

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

More Information

Better the player, the more emphasis on a pre-shot routine.  This is what I continue to see during my lessons. In other words, the higher the handicap the more emphasis the player places on the ball. The lower the handicap the more emphasis a player places on the target. Remember: Great players are target oriented not ball oriented.

Let me give you a few thoughts that may get you more target oriented and not so ball oriented. The list below is something that will take some time to implement into your new shot program. But, if you work on this in your practice sessions I’m sure you’ll see some excellent results.

1)  Stand behind the ball and look at the target. This is where you will prepare, visualize, relax and process your data. Based on the data, make the club selection that will give you the results you desire. At this point in the pre-shot routine, many players will visualize a particular ball flight they expect to see.

2)  Take grip and pick out an intermediate target in front of the ball. (This intermediate target will be a blade of grass, a divot, leaf or anything that will help you to align to the target.  This will be approximately one to six feet directly in front of the ball).

3)  Walk over to the ball on a 45 degree angle keeping your eye on the intermediate target.

4)  Step into the target with your right foot first. Then set the clubface down behind the ball square to the intermediate target.

5)  This step is the key to a successful start. Square up your body perpendicular to the clubface. The body, which consists of feet, knees, shoulders, hips, forearms and eyes will be parallel to the target line at this point in your swing.

6)  Look at the target once, then look at the ball, look at the target twice then the ball. At this point go ahead and pull the trigger.

7)  Make your best swing through the ball to the finish.

8)  Complete follow through. Bring club down in front of you.  This is where you will analyze your shot.

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine TOP 100 Teacher since 1997, teaches full time at McCormick Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. To get more information on lessons, visit To contact Scott personally, e-mail