Instruction Video

VIDEO: A pre-shot routine that helps you keep your eyes on the prize

A focused pre-shot routine and positive pre-swing imagination will help shave shots off your score says The Address Montgomerie Dubai’s head professional, Martin Robinson.

How you use your eyes and vision can have a big impact on your mental and physical performance. Ernie Els worked with vision coach Dr Sheryl Calder on his way to winning The Open Championship at Lytham St. Annes in 2012 and credited the South African sports scientist and performance coach for helping him claim a surprise second Claret Jug. Let’s look at how you can use your eyes to enhance your focus.

At the beginning of your pre-shot routine you need to establish a very clear and precise target. Many of us are guilty of just aiming towards the general direction of the fairway, whereas picking a precise target, such as the edge of a building or a window, can really help your mind to settle and focus. Studies have demonstrated a correlation between the last place you look before you swing and where the ball ends up so make sure you have several glances to your target so that it is imprinted in your brain before you swing. This sounds simple but you may be surprised how often your eyes actually look towards potential danger on the course.

The next step is to use your eyes to carefully check your alignment. The clubface should be the first part of the aiming process. Take extra care to ensure it is square to the target and when you are happy you can then bring the feet into position. An extremely common fault I see at this point is the golfer plonking their feet down in the most comfortable position which are often not parallel to the club. Watch the top professionals closely and you’ll see their eyes flash back and forth between the club and the toes to ensure their alignment is spot on every time.

Make sure to align your club face to the target and then set your feet parallel

After you have settled in to your final position, and whilst still looking at the ball, you should attempt to see a clear picture in your mind’s eye of your target (see main image). If you are able to create a clear image, your visual cortex will be in control and you will find it difficult to have any other significant thoughts which makes performing the action a much more unconscious manner, often the way we produce our best. Try retaining the image throughout your entire swing. It’s actually quite difficult but can help to alleviate a wide variety of clutter and negativity that can creep in during your setup and swing.

Vision plays a big part in putting. It’s important to consider what your eyes are doing mid stroke. They can often be found jumping around all over the place, particularly if your eyes follow the clubhead. This can lead to unwanted reactions, particularly close to impact, resulting in jerky movements and an inconsistent stroke. Try to keep the ball in focus throughout the stroke and keep your eyes still after impact. If your eyes are focused on the ball and the putter head is blurred, it will allow the stroke to move more freely and will stop conscious thoughts and harmful adjustments. – with Kent Gray. Images and video by Farooq Salik. 

Martin Robinson is Head Professional, Golf Academy, at The Address Montgomerie Dubai. He is a Neuro Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner and a Trained Brain Advanced Coach. 


Kent Gray

Kent Gray

Editor of Golf Digest Middle East. Has written about golf since 1989 and owned a suspect short game even longer.

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