Speed up your pre-shot routine transition for better golf psychology


Golf instructors often talk about the transition in the golf swing as that pause between completing the backswing and starting the downswing. They often suggest that slowing down the transition is one of the most important keys to hitting a good shot.

Well, I’m not qualified to comment on the technicalities of the golf swing. However, I am qualified to comment on what for me is an even more important transition in golf psychology. It’s the transition from the conscious analytical planning phase of your pre-shot routine to the unconscious instinctive phase of actually hitting the ball. Unlike the pause at the top of the backswing, the faster you can comfortably make this transition, the better and more consistently you’ll find yourself striking the ball or rolling the putt.

If you watch the top players in the world, like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, you’ll notice that they take very little time between taking their chosen club out of the bag and hitting the ball. A recent study suggested that Tiger and Phil consistently take around 11 to 12 seconds to do this and they are very consistent with the timing. If they took any longer, they often hit a less than good shot – these guys don’t hit many downright bad shots.

So what do they do in those 11 to 12 seconds? Well, every player has his own idiosyncrasies, including re-gripping, waggling, breathing, blinking and countless other rituals. However, they all seem to

  1. take one or two practice swings to get the feel of the shot they visualise playing
  2. step forward to the ball and take their stance
  3. align their body and clubface
  4. take a final look at their target
  5. finally, hit the "start button" and swing the club or putter.

What’s interesting is that they don’t seem at all rushed in fitting all that into such an apparently short time. They certainly don’t have any spare time for self doubt and that little voice in their head telling them they’re doing it all wrong! In fact, they complete the process like they’re in some sort of trance and that means that they are leaving the whole process to their unconscious golf mind, just like driving a car or riding a bike.

Now some of the players you watch on TV or out on the course take a lot longer to make this transition and the time they take is less consistent. How well did you see them play? If you watched Sergio Garcia playing golf a few years ago, you’d have often seen him take an inordinately long time to hit the ball. He had a pained expression on his face that suggested he was experiencing a lot of negative self-talk and he seemed to be wringing the life out of the club as he repeatedly re-gripped his hands. It’s no surprise that his golf was inconsistent at best and he certainly didn’t seem to be enjoying his golf.

So how do I speed up my transition from taking my club out to hitting the ball, I hear you say. Well one way is to make the whole process an instinctive or unconscious activity. Streamline your own transition process and use it every time you hit a shot on the golf course, at the driving range, on the practice putting green and in your mental golf practice. You do practice and play golf in your mind, now don’t you?


  1. Dawn Grant says:

    Hello Andrew! Thanks for the advice!
    I’m having trouble because I’m learning a new swing and when I step up to the ball all I’m thinking is the new swing any help please ?

  2. John A says:

    Thanks Andrew. My main problem was having too many swing thoughts while addressing the ball. Now’s it’s just 1 practice swing, move in and get set, look at my target and bang. Simple but effective. The process works for all shots including chipping and putting to my surprise.

  3. Andrew Fogg says:

    Hi John,

    That’s great news. Thanks for the very positive feedback. Have you tried my free “Your Own Virtual Caddy” MP3 hypnosis programme? You can download it by signing up to my ezine.


    The Golf Hypnotist

  4. John A says:

    Genius, used this technique and shot a 75. Previous best was 81!!

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