Erin Menath, GolfTEC Certified Personal Coach and LPGA Member, GolfTEC Bellevue
Every golfer knows the importance of developing a proper pre-shot routine, but the value of a post-shot routine is equally important. Often individuals play fabulous golf, yet don’t quite understand why they “blow up” for two consecutive holes. If you as a player cannot learn how to shake off a poor shot before moving onto the next, it will be difficult to consistently play your best golf by reducing the number of “blow-up” holes.
Promptly after each shot, you should conduct a quick self-debrief. If your shot was good, then replay it in your mind. Build as much emotion as possible into the visualization so that you take ownership of it. You could add a specific action (e.g. fist pump) to anchor the emotion to that action for future reference. In essence, you want to create an emotional library of success to draw upon on the next shot. Look back on Tiger Woods’ successful rounds; did he ever miss a fist pump after an incredible putt?
If you hit a poor shot, realize that every shot is a perfect reflection of the actions that preceded it. Ask yourself, “What happened…did I commit to the shot…was contact poor…did I lack focus?” Logically, you want to learn from it. If we truly look hard enough, almost every disaster contains elements of a blessing. Next, play that shot backwards in your mind – then scrub it out. The point is: learn something from each shot, make way for positive energy and focus on the next shot.
Two of golf’s greatest players, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, use post-shot routines. Woods uses the “10-pace rule.” For the poor manners and anger he sometimes displays, if you watch him carefully, you will observe that he purges himself once he moves roughly ten paces beyond the shot. He understands that you cannot continue to embrace your anger and disappointment, and you must return to an optimistic, positive state of being.
Nicklaus has commented that he has never three-putted the 18th green in a tournament. However, the facts would prove him wrong. He replaced the negative feelings and replayed it as a successful outcome to ensure he always had confidence when approaching the final putt in a tournament situation.
Although the steps described above may seem like a lot of work, in truth, they only take seconds. Remember that poor swings will produce poor results, but at a deeper level, a poor swing could be the result of fear, bad memories and/or timidness. A post-shot routine is every bit as important as the pre-shot routine and incorporating one into your game will not only help you build mental toughness and golfing self-forgiveness, it will help you excel at the game.
As a coach I ask, “Why stop yourself from excelling?”
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