This Often Overlooked Area Of Your Golf Game Could Set You On The Path To Lower Scores... And All Before A Ball Is Even Hit!

Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Ben Emerson reveals how adopting a consistent pre-shot routine can help save you shots

Pre-Shot Routine Ben Emerson
A consistent pre-shot routine can save you shots over the course of a round
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

As golfers, we often obsess about many different things over the course of a round, like how far to stand from the golf ball and how we consistently achieve the perfect golf grip. In this video and article, Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach and PGA Professional Ben Emerson explains how a consistent pre-shot routine could allow you to take advantage of an often overlooked area of your game which you are 100% in control of.

When you consider the speed at which you swing your driver, and the aim of returning the club perfectly to the ball at impact, it is easy to understand why we don't always get the result we want. The pre-shot routine is something all golfers are capable of controlling, and with a much higher level of predictability. This simple, yet essential, two-step process can help golfers of all abilities to improve their game before a ball is even hit.

1) The Tee-Box Set-up

The first thing every golfer can do is ensure that their tee-box setup creates an opportunity to consider the shot they are about to hit. Many golfers arrive at the tee-box, place their bag down and reach immediately for the head cover. 

It all starts with the position of your bag. I want you to think of a tour player, where are they standing? They are with their caddie, back from the tee, visualising the shot. From behind the ball, I can now see a complete picture of the target, allowing me to visualise the shot and pick the right club to execute it.

Pre-Shot Routine Ben Emerson

Visualise your target and select your club

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

2) The Practice Swing

After selecting a club, it is now time to complete a few practice swings. Typically, many golfers stand next to the ball to carry out their rehearsal strokes, but as part of my pre-shot routine I want to complete all my practice swings behind the ball. This will provide an opportunity to perform a couple of nice rehearsal swings, getting my body primed for the action that is about to happen.

Pre-Shot Routine Ben Emerson

Practice swing behind the ball

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

When I feel ready, I have one last good look at the target. I can now walk in from behind, set myself up, and get organised with a couple of waggles just to keep everything loose.

All that is left to do is take one final look, and pull the trigger. This simple two-stage process will not only help you gain confidence in your game but also help to dispel some of those negative swing thoughts that may creep in as you step up to your next shot.

How can I speed up my pre-shot routine?

GM says: While we have established that a consistent pre-shot routine can set you up well to make a confident swing, pace of play is also an important factor to consider. Your pre-shot routine should not feel rushed, as this is when you can start to become flustered and lose focus on the task at hand. With regular rehearsal, and a clear plan before you arrive at the tee-box, you should find you have plenty of time to prepare yourself using the tips above before striping one down the middle of the fairway.

Ben Emerson
Top 50 Coach

Location: Sand Martins GC 

Ben’s modern approach to golf coaching has seen him become one of the most sought-after coaches in the country and teaches none other than Robbie Williams. His honest, modern and fun style of coaching has help thousands of golfers of all ages and abilities and he has been coaching for over 20 years.

Advice for practice:

Start with slow, small swings. If you can’t do it small and slowly there is not a hope in hell of doing it at full speed with a full swing! In other sports such as rugby or martial arts they slow learn new moves/plays before making them at full speed. 

Teaching philosophy: 

‘Why guess when you can access’ Ever new student goes through a full TPI movement screen, 3D motion capture and pressure plate analysis as well as TrackMan and 2D video analysis. Coaching is based on facts and not guess work. 

Most common problem:

A lack of clubface understanding and awareness. I get golfers to aim the clubface directly at the target and get them to make a slow swings and deliver the club to the ball with an open face, then repeat the same thing again but with a closed face, followed by one at the target. Giving them full awareness based on feelings errors to find a happy middle ground.


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