Golf Tips - Develop A Post-Shot Routine

By Dr. Bob Phillips, Golf Psychologist

The Post Shot Routine

While most golfers use a pre-shot routine, many neglect to use a routine after they have hit a bad shot. This leaves them open to several problems that can damage their overall play.

After a bad shot or putt most golfers will tend to lose focus, tense up and waste energy on thoughts and actions that do nothing but interfere with the next shot. All or most of this can be avoided by being prepared with a solid post shot routine.

The post shot routine I teach has five parts. They are the emotions, the breath, the tap, the good image, and the letting go.

The emotions. When you make a bad shot you will feel disappointed or frustrated or even angry. Take a second and let yourself feel these feelings. It is only human to feel upset, annoyed (better than angry) or frustrated. Give in and give it all of the two to three seconds it deserves.

The breath. After the emotions have had their time, take a deep breath and let it all out. Anxiety is increased by poor breathing so practice doing it right. Then, take another deep breath and let it all out. Taking half breaths only increases the tension.

The tap. Take the club or putter and gently - repeat, gently - tap the ground or your shoe. This tap is your release of the tension. This is your "shaking it off". Two taps for a bad shot and three for a truly horrible shot.

The image. Now take a second and think about the shot that you just messed up. Now change the image to one of you doing it differently and doing it with a very good result. Notice the difference and focus on the feel of the good shot. Make a mental note of the changes.

Letting go. Now snap your attention from the past and into the future and the next shot. Bring your attention into clear focus on what needs to be done now. This is the hardest of the steps and must be accomplished completely. The past is gone. Now move on.

Using this routine will enable you to let go of the bad shots and move on to better play. Practice in your mind until you have all the steps memorized and can move from one to the next with ease. *


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