PGA Championship Tip-Preshot Routine

Hitting good golf shots begins with a good pre-shot routine, and not just on the tee or in the fairway.

"Every shot, always and forever," says Eagle Vale head pro Chris DeVincentis.

The pre-shot routine is a great way to turn off the mechanical, diagnostic thinking often used on the driving range. "When I get to a golf course, I'd like to go through a routine that gets me hitting a shot without thinking so much about my swing," DeVincentis says. "It's the most important thing you can do."

DeVincentis starts his routine by standing behind the ball about three or four feet. He then draws a line from his target through straight down to the ball and picks a spot a yard or two in front of the ball as his intermediate target. He then walks to the ball and takes his stance with the clubface behind the ball, perpendicular to the line from ball to intermediate target.

The most crucial part of DeVincentis' routine is next and you might be surprised by it. He waggles the club three times over the ball. "That keeps my hands and wrists relaxed enough to make a good springy tension shot," DeVincentis says.

And then he goes, without taking a single full practice swing.

On short game shots, DeVincentis will practice a bit. The swings are to "feel the length of the swing that I need". Once that is done, the routine is the same: stand behind the ball, draw a line through the ball, step in, three waggles and go.

When putting, DeVincentis uses a trick many touring pros employ, but may not be noticed on TV. He'll place the ball on the green with a line on the ball pointed in the direction he wants to hit the putt, using an intermediate target to help set the line. The clubhead is placed behind the ball so that the line on the back of the putter meshes exactly with the line on the golf ball.

Before stepping up to the ball, DeVincentis will take two practice swings next to his ball trying to gauge the length of the swing required for the putt. This is similar to what he does for short game shots. Once the two practice swings are done, he steps up the ball with no waggles and hits.

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