The Opposite of Routine is Random
Shots that count for your score are somehow always harder than shots on the practice tee

Do you ever struggle to take your practice game to the golf course?

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hots that count for your score are somehow always harder than shots on the practice tee.  Every shot taken on a golf course should be preceded by this simple 4 Step Routine. Steven Bann has been a pioneer in many facets of golf development in Australia. Below is a look at a 4 Step Routine he devised back in the 1990’s whilst training such greats as Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby. By learning and working through the following process, you’ll learn to hit the shot comfortably under any situation and help raise your level of play.

Step One – Decide on the shot

Steps 1 and 2 are where all decisions are made – otherwise known as the think box.  Inside the think box you will consider things such as target, distance, wind, lie and how the ball will react when it lands.  Only after gathering and assessing this vital information should a club and shot type confidently be decided on.  It’s important to gather this information with your thoughts centered totally on the situation at hand.  As simple as this step seems, many golfers get the order wrong and will question the following list whilst they are preparing to hit or even worse, whilst over the ball.

Below is a checklist to consider prior playing a shot:

  • What is your target? This may be an area of the fairway or green
  • Consider the distance to the pin and landing spot
  • Direction and force of wind
  • Shape and slope of hole or lie being uphill, downhill or flat
  • What will the ball do when it lands, and how will the playing lie effect the shot


Step Two – Program the feel

Program the feel of the shot by visualizing the shot, and by focusing on a body position and/or feel of the swing.  This can be done by rehearsing your swings and visualizing the shot simultaneously.  A combination of visualizing the shot while going through some swing movements, will allow you to match the feel of the swing to the shot required.



Step Three – The Set-Up Routine

Now it’s time to go through the ritualized set-up routine – otherwise known as the play box.  Inside the play box we want your set-up routine which includes the set-up for taking your grip, stance, ball position, posture and aim connect to the target. Many great players also encompass a waggle during the set-up routine to take tension out of the hands and arms.

This step is quite individualized and should follow the same process each time in order to become totally comfortable. This step should encourage a deep level of concentration, helping to shut out any external distractions.

Your set-shot routine can have variations, though you should follow the same procedure every time and in the same amount of time. Remember the opposite of routine is random so step 3 and 4 are key steps as it relates to sticking to a time frame and process.

  • Assume your grip either with the club directly in front of your chest or down by your side
  • Relaxed, walk to the side of the ball
  • Step in with both feet together
  • Place the club behind the ball, aiming the clubface and sighting the target
  • Now adjust your left foot and then your right so your stance and body parts are aligned properly
  • Implementing a waggle or two sighting the target again
  • Now it’s time to pull the trigger!

Step Four – Commit to Planned Shot

Step four is to commit to and repeat the feel of the shot you programmed (in step two) without any further thought.  The total golf swing will take about 1.5 seconds and the challenge is to repeat the programmed swing of step two that matches the decision made in step one and the set-up that’s created in step three without the mind wandering.

The longer you wait to hit the shot the more opportunity there is for doubt – and tension – to creep into your mind and body.

The best golfers in the world have always been the masters of committing to their 4 step routines without fail.  Jack Nicklaus states he has never hit a shot in competition without visualizing a positive outcome beforehand (step 2) and Tiger Woods often measures his round with a statement like he was happy with his commitment to every shot today regardless of score (step 4)

Tiger Routine – Video

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One Comment


  1. Mar 23, 2011
    9:43 pm

    Paul Jones

    Nice post… very good advice

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