Out of the Bunker: The Post-Shot Routine

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I would suspect that you are all familiar with the idea of a pre-shot routine in golf.  Whether it’s taking a certain number of practice swings, or breathing a certain way, most successful players have a routine that they repeat prior to each shot they hit on the golf course.  That being said, I am surprised at the lack of attention paid to a players POST-SHOT ROUTINE.

One of my top junior golf students is a member of a junior golf tour that competes at various golf courses throughout Los Angeles.  I frequently caddie for this student in these tournaments, and I notice a variety of behavior from each of the participating players.  Most have parents who are very involved, most have pretty good golf swings, and most have a very difficult time accepting poor results after a shot.

The post-shot routine is a practice I regularly work on with my students, especially my juniors.  You may be familiar with the book by sports psychologist Bob Rotella, “Golf is not a game of perfect”.  That is FOR SURE!  However, I see golfers all of the time struggle with this belief.  The post-shot routine I teach my students is to accept the poor shots, and learn how to minimize the damage that comes from them.

Most of you are good players when things are going your way.  However, only the truly great players remain good when things AREN’T going their way.  A solid post-shot routine is one that allows you to immediately get over the last shot, and begin focusing on how to recover from an errant shot.

Too many times I witness junior golfers becoming overly emotional when things aren’t going their way.  I see it in adults, as well, but I focus on it more with juniors because they can learn to overcome this flaw.  When my juniors become emotional after a poor shot, I quickly explain the importance of acting like a champion and having the confidence to recover from adversity.

When golfers have a difficult time accepting poor shots, there is an unmanageable pressure felt to always hit good shots!  Nobody can handle that.  By learning to accept poor shots, you will feel less pressure, and your game will likely improve.

The next time you play a round of golf, focus on your ability to handle a poor shot and have the confidence that you can recover.  You will quickly learn that your post-shot routine is likely more important than your pre-shot routine.

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