Visualization on the course.
Create your own pre shot routine that includes visualizing the shot you want to hit.
Visualization is one of the routines that good players do on the course that sets them apart from amateurs.
As a teaching Golf Professional one of the biggest questions I get on a weekly basis is how to transfer what my students learn at the range or on the simulator out to the golf course. In order to take what you’ve learned on the range out on the golf course you need to visualize the good shots that you had on the range during your practice time. In other words when you get a perfect shot on the driving range you need to lock that in. You should remember both how your body felt in making the swing but also the process of the shot. If you can do that, it will help you because the more you practice this, the more it will start to register in your subconscious mind.
Webster dictionary online (www.webster-dictionary.org) says the definition of visualization is “a mental image that is similar to a visual perception”. The best way you can practice this is to create your own pre shot routine and envision every aspect of the shot you want to hit. Breaking that down, you want to picture the trajectory of the shot and where it lands on the fairway or the green. You also want to envision small aspects of the shot including the size of the divot you’ll take and where the ball rolls out to when it lands. Then once you get over the ball, you take a deep breath let the visualization go and make a good swing.
Every good player I know and that includes my father, PGA tour player Billy Casper as well as many other Pro’s, have always used a pre-shot routine that includes visualization. Once they lock in what they want the ball to do and where they want the ball to go they rely on their training and their subconscious to make it happen. When I was younger and caddying at the Vintage club in Indian Wells, California during a champions tour event I made the subtle mistake of handing the player a sand wedge when he was in the bunker close to the green.
Simple right? No, not simple because I had changed this particular players pre-shot routine. He took the sand wedge from me put it back in his bag. He then walked over to his ball, thought about the shot and came back to his bag and picked out the sand wedge again. You see, I wasn’t wrong with my choice of clubs for him, but what I had done was change his routine and so he went back to his pre-shot routine before grabbing the same club again to hit the shot and get up and down for par. This was my first real experience in understanding how important visualization and pre-shot routine is in the game of golf, especially on a professional level. The truly interesting thing to me about this, is that it doesn’t have to just be on the golf course, you can visualize things in your life that can have an affect on the outcome. An example of this is that if you visualize where you want to be a year from now with work or a relationship and visualize it on a daily basis youve got a better chance of getting there.
One of the other benefits I have personally found in using visualization on the course is that it keeps the mind busy and does a great job of stopping those negative thoughts that can creep in, both on and off the golf course.
So the next time you go out to play, take 20 seconds to think about the shot you would like to hit and then allow your body to make a good “practice range” swing and watch for the positive result!