PRE-SHOT ROUTINE, RITUAL & RELAXED CONCENTRATION
The March 16, 2018 blog chatted about green reading fundamentals drawn from the research and genius offered in Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible. At the time a commitment was made to share a blog about Pre-shot Routine and Ritual, including relaxed concentration experiences.
After the distance of the putt has been determined and green reading is complete, the inspiration to drain the putt emerges and it is time to begin the Pre-shot Routine (20 seconds).
- Stand behind the ball on the optimum Aimline (Pelz, 163) and make practice strokes to subconsciously program the stroke necessary to move the ball along the true break path to the hole. The perfect distance will place the ball at an imaginary point 17 inches past the hole.
- Walk to the ball along the optimum Aimline mentally embracing the putter, the optimum stroke, the hole and the ball clicking in the bottom of the cup.
- Remove the ball mark and go to the breath to activate awareness: focus on the in-out breath and begin to quiet the mind, release tension and create space for awareness. Swing thoughts evolve to become only passing thoughts. As deliberate, deep breathing continues, the golfer begins GAS:-Aim: parallel flow lines of feet, knees, hips, forearms and shoulders are aligned parallel with the optimum Aimline.
- –Set-up: fine-tune ball position, stance and posture; square putter face; dance to feel static and dynamic balance; place eyes over the line-marked ball; sense free arms below shoulders and move putter to hands. If additional practice strokes are necessary, the right-handed golfer can set up four inches to the left of the optimum Aimline, make necessary practice strokes, and then move to the ball and the optimum Aimline. Ritual, relaxed concentration, unconscious trigger and celebration are all that remain.
- –Grip: hands act as a single unit, not too loose, not too tight; for a right handed golfer the palm of the right hand and the back of left hand face the target and are parallel.
Ritual and relaxed concentration (5 seconds)
A good athlete can enter a state of body-awareness in which the right stroke or the right movement happens by itself, effortlessly, without any interference of the conscious will. This is the paradigm for non-action: the purest and most effective form of action. The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can’t tell the dancer from the dance.
Relaxed concentration is a state of mind one chooses to create; and it is the state achieved as the learned and practiced skills of mindfulness, awareness, self-restraint, will, trust and feedback are synchronized and become one. This evolving master skill is individually unique and is the state of being present, tension-free, with that which is intended, for as long as intended.
Summon the inner artist for a remarkable and often indescribable zone experience of spiritual oneness; and be witness to freedom and an intuitive unleashing of a unique, creative, synchronous flow of human physical activity. Simply relax and put your awareness where your deepest natural breathing originates—sensed image approximately 1½ inches below your navel. Let breathing be deep and full, shake loose any tension in the muscles, and trust that as center is experienced appropriate actions will result naturally without effort. Just do it!
- Go to deep, in-out breaths to quiet the mind, to release tension and to enable space for awareness and the artist to unleash.
- Make a final visual touch of the target; and a final impassion of optimum speed, true break ball path and intent to drain the putt.
- Using deep, in-out breaths, center: feel static and dynamic balance; synchronize causal, subtle and physical bodies; and be the artist with tension-free focus on putter sweet spot-ball impact point.
- Go! With absolute trust, subconsciously trigger the tension-free stroke that produces optimum speed on the optimum Aimline.
Celebrate, reflect and learn
- Cherish the message in every moment.
- Reflect, learn and improve: How did the green reading, pre-shot routine and ritual processes work? What needs practice? What needs coaching? What additional skills will support development and reduction of interference?
 Pelz, D. Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible (2000). New York, NY; Doubleday, 222-227.
 Pelz, 100.
 Mitchell, S. (2006). tao te ching. New York, NY: Harper, viii.
 Fred Shoemaker, Extraordinary Putting (2007). New York, NY: Penguin, 8-10.