Your pre-shot routine is the process that you go through prior to hitting each golf shot. This includes gathering information on distance, wind, and your situation, organizing your thoughts and setting a shot plan in your mind, any rehearsal or practice swings, setting up for the shot, and then pulling the trigger. A well organized, repeatable pre-shot routine is one of the main things that will help you successfully bring your golf game from the practice range to the golf course, and perhaps into competitive pressure situations.
Almost all good players have a well-defined pre-shot routine, while beginners and high handicappers tend to be very disorganized and haphazard as they go about each shot.
Your routine can be as simple as this: First, get your yardage, wind, and other information. Second, determine where you want the ball to end up and visualize how it will get there. Third, select your club. Fourth, stand behind the ball, picture the shot, and make one rehearsal swing. Lastly, step up to the ball with intended grip, stance and alignment, and let it go. This process should be brief and unwavering for every single shot you hit.
In summary, it is very important to develop a solid pre-shot routine for consistency. This routine will help you organize your thoughts, gather all the information you need for each shot, and better equip you to bring your game from the practice range to the golf course. Your pre-shot process does not need to be long and drawn out, but is better to be short, concise and repeatable. Your pre-shot routine should be identical for every shot you hit.