This is not the first time that I have spoken about routine, please take note, it's because your routines are super important! The best way to play consistent, solid golf or any sport is to develop a routine that works for you. That means that my routine may not work for you to play your best golf. So take some tips from this, try some of it, ignore some of it, try some of your own things and see what works best for you. Also note that I don’t do all of this every single time, because I may not have the time for it, but I always do it before an important round or important event. Every time I play a tournament or I know I am going to play, I make time to do this. Again, it may not all work for you, so do your own thing, as long as it's the same every single time!
The Night Before
I’ve spoken about mental practice before, but I always “play the course” that I am going to play the next day before I go to bed. I go over all the shots I will hit if things are ideal, where I miss, where the ball will go, everything in that round, I like to go over. The ball rolling into the cup is something I like to focus on. I find it ups my confidence imagining a ball going into the hole. When you are confident, you are in great shape.
Before the Course
Whatever I am doing before the round, I make sure I eat at least a similar meal with the same kinds of foods, proteins, carbs, everything. I go ahead and typically eat a breakfast meal, with eggs, bacon, and toast. Just trying to make sure it is similar. I typically drink at least one Gatorade before going to the course, and of course, a lot of water! Just make sure it is the same every time! Avoid too much sugar right as you go to play. You want to keep your blood sugar pretty similar, you definitely don’t want to deal with sugar crashes, you want to keep the same level of energy available for each swing you take!
Arrival at the Course
Once I get to the course, I have a process of getting everything I need for my bag. I check the number of balls I have, all of my clubs, my towels, my speaker, my range finder, making sure it is charged, making sure I have everything I need for the round. If I’m walking, I keep the balls I have in my bag to 9. If I’m in a cart I like to have at least a dozen, just in case I have a bad round. I always use the same ball, so I like to mark them the same each time as well. Once I have everything, I head for the putting green for the first round of putting.
Putting round one is short, gets me focused on the task at hand and is really focused on starting the ball off on my line. This is when I use my trusty Pelz putting tutor! This is one of my favorite training aids of all time, right behind the CTRL Swing Master. CTRL is coming out with putting eventually and that will take over this portion of the routine once it does. I use the Pelz putting tutor to hit 5 putts down the line, then I go ahead and hit a couple short putts without it, then go right back to the Pelz. I hit 5 more, then a couple without it. I do this for 20 putts on the Pelz putting tutor to build my confidence that I am going to hit my line every time I pull the club back. Then I put the Pelz in the car and head for the range.
Once I get to the range the focus is tempo. This is when I use my CTRL Swing Master now. I warm up by hitting 10 pitch shots, getting further with each one. Then I hit 5 full sand wedge shots, 10 shots with my 8 iron, 8 draws, 2 fades. Then I move to 5 iron, I hit 10 shots with it, 8 draws, 2 fades. Then I move to 3 iron and hit 5 shots, 4 draws, 1 teed up draw. Then I hit 1 shot with my 4 wood, then tee it up and hit another 4 shots. Then I move on to my driver. 5 shots teed up. 4 draws, 1 fade. Once I’m finished with this I head to the chipping green!
The chipping green is probably my least time spent at any one spot. The goal is to just remind myself of the feeling of my wedges. Whichever wedge I think I will use a lot is the wedge I hit shots with. I’m not trying to be perfect here. I am more trying to gauge how far each feeling gets the ball going. This just helps me with distance control and confidence once I am on the course. I tend to hit several high soft shots, low spinning shots and running shots. I usually use my own golf balls for this. I only spend 10 minutes at the chipping green.
Now I head back to the putting green. This is where I work on my lag putting. I take 1 ball and putt around to different holes, and practice uphill and downhill putts trying to get the speed right for the day. This is my last bit of practice before heading to the first tee and I use this slower form of practice to go through routine, think, and slow my heart rate down especially before a really important event.
On the First Tee
Once I get to the first tee, I am ready to play. I am getting my scorecard ready, meeting my playing partners, establishing the rules of the day, learning the different local rules in effect for the day, and making sure everything is in place. If playing in a serious tournament, this is when I turn my phone off and put it in my bag. If I am playing a match where we are betting, we establish the game and the rules of that game. This is where you get your score card, mark your golf ball, and tell your partners what ball you are playing. Go through your routine, trust it, and pull the trigger.