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  • Stephen Arnold

Breaking Routine into 2 parts for better committment

With all the data and information you now have, it should be much easier to come up with a game plan at this point. Knowing how you want to play a hole, how far you hit the ball and what your dispersion patterns are gives you a great chance at shooting your best score. How do we now tie all this together on the course and make good decisions in real time while we play? To me, the answer to this question comes down to our routine.

For many players, all that I have talked about can be a little overwhelming to process on the course. That’s where routine comes in. For me, a routine has two parts: the decision-making routine and the execution routine. They are two completely separate entities on the course and need to be treated as such. For my players I am far more lenient on the execution side of routine. I don’t mind if you take a different number of practice swings or waggles each time, I also don’t think you need to be overly consistent before you hit the ball. All I want in the execution routine is for it to make you comfortable and be positive. The decision-making routine, however, needs to consistent and precise.

The decision-making routine must happen before you go into trying to execute a shot. Without a clear decision on club and target it is extremely hard to hit a committed golf shot. A quality decision gives you a number, a club, a shot and a target. From there the goal is to execute the decision as well as possible.

In the picture of the 5th green at Longboat Key Blue Course the shot is 120 yards and the hole is located 5 yards onto the green and 4 yards from the right edge(Black Dot). My target is 5 yards left of the flag and 125 yards(Blue Dot) and I’m hitting a pitching wedge. How did I come to this decision? Especially as my pitching wedge is a 140-145 club carry.

This all comes down to routine. I’ve outlined the decision-making process below to both pick a target and a distance. The first step is to figure out how far the pin is and its location (120 front and 4 right). Based off location and trouble (in this case the penalty area) I figure out good landing number with my dispersion. In this case, with no room short of the flag I know I need to land the ball past the hole. Based off of my dispersion left and right I can determine how close to the flag I can aim. In this case, with only 4 yards between the hole and the water and a dispersion of 10 yards left-right at this distance, I know I need to aim 5 yards left. Finally, with a target picked I take into account the conditions (lie and wind). With the wind into at 10-12 mph I add 15 yards to my target number of 125 which gives me my club choice of a pitching wedge.

This may seem complex, but with a little bit of practice and using the sheet I attached it can become habit and that’s what the routine is all about. If we can have a process that leads to consistently good decisions that we can commit to, it makes it much easier commit to the execution of the shot. I added two other scenarios to the chart so you can see how 3 very different numbers can wind up being similar clubs. I have also added a Trackman wind chart to show just how impactful wind can be when making your decision.

I hope you have found this helpful and a way to organize all the data you have put together about your own game. Good decisions, time after time, lead to best results when you play. If you can make this part of your routine it will lead to much better decisions and hopefully much better results. As always feel free to share this article and if you have any questions don't hesitate to email or get in contact with me.

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