Scott France, Contributing Writer
Those of us in the Northeastern US find ourselves only a few weeks away from the official start of the handicap season. To compare our golf seasons to Major League Baseball – we find ourselves beginning our very own ‘spring training’ at this time of year. It’s what we do in the coming weeks, with regard to practice, that will make the biggest difference between getting our seasons started on a good note or enduring a painful, frustrating acclimation period as we attempt to chip away the winter rust that has formed in our golf games.
The article I’ll reference below is a must-read for those of us who are serious about getting the 2012 golf season started on the right track; it explains how Justin Rose utilized his pre-shot routine last week in his impressive victory at the Cadillac Championship, and how his pre-shot routine helped him coming down the stretch during the pressure-packed situations he found himself in during the final round. Below is a snippet of the article, courtesy of the PGA.COM website. (Click on the quote to be directed to the full contents of the article.)
“Spot aiming is such a simple part of being a fundamentally sound golfer yet it is rarely used throughout an entire round by most amateurs. I see golfers start the round with a solid pre-shot routine based on alignment, yet the player will start to rush when he/she hits a bad shot and start compounding their errors. Justin Rose’s pre-shot routine is definitely one to emulate to ensure proper fundamentals so you will be in a position before you even swing the club to give you the best chance to make a great swing every time — and enjoy positive results.”
It can take some players several weeks to get reacquainted with their golf swings after a lengthy winter layoff, but paying attention to the simplest basic fundamentals can certainly expedite the process. Proper alignment, as the author of the quote above suggests, is often the most overlooked aspect with regard to hitting a good golf shot. Spot-aiming, in particular, can make it easier for us to get into a good setup position at address with our feet, hips, and shoulders square to the target line. During your next practice session, take the time to get back into your pre-shot routine and avoid hitting balls without a defined path to a defined target. It’s always a good practice to use aiming sticks (or your longer irons) to help get your feet where they need to be in your setup at the address position. The goal is to get our feet, hips, and shoulders all pointing in the same direction before swinging the golf club. We’ve heard it said many times, “A good golf swing starts with a good grip.” While that is indeed true, a good grip alone will not assure that you hit your target if you’re not aiming at your target properly.
Remember – Golf is a game of precision…. the more precise you are in your pre-shot routine and getting into a comfortable, properly aligned setup position, the more likely a good result will happen.