Golf tip: Play better with a better pre-shot routine
Julius Boros won the U.S. Open in 1952 and 1963, he was a collegiate baseball player, and he didn't play professional golf until age 29. What does this have to do with improving your golf game?
What I hope to communicate to you is the genius of Boros' rhythmic pre-shot routine and its continuation into the swing itself, and how emulating it will help improve your game.
Boros thought the pre-shot routine was critical.
Good grip, arms together, clubhead behind the ball and feet together (heels touching). Then move the left foot and then the right. Lean slightly left (with your irons) and swing without delay.
Any thinking you do in the pre-shot routine is unwanted. Save your thinking for the practice tee.
The effectiveness of his method is that it takes the thinking completely out of the golf swing, transcending the motion of hitting a golf ball into an instinctual athletic endeavor, much like a batter hitting a baseball.
A major league hitter only has a split second to react to a pitch coming at 90 mph so there is no time to think about anything other than reacting to where the ball is and meeting it with the bat. The best thing a batter can do to help hit the ball is create rhythm and motion in the batter's box to allow the body to react quickly, athletically, with speed and power.
Boros does exactly that with his golf pre-shot routine which you can view here or at youtube.com/watch?v=W3QQZcScbmg. This may be the most important 2 minutes and 12 seconds of your golfing education.
What did I tell you? His style is graceful, flowing and without thought, he is playing golf with a clear mind which is the best one can hope to achieve.
For Boros, the golf swing itself, the act of actually hitting the ball, is just a continuation of the rhythmic footwork and body motion of his pre-shot routine, which translates into a mindless, efficient, athletic motion.
To be sure, learning proper fundamentals of the golf swing are extremely important and must be worked on at the range during practice time. There is no substitute for having proper form and possessing a working golf swing to elevate one's game.
However, when it comes time to hitting the golf ball on the course, it is necessary to let go of the technical thoughts that bog down the athleticism of the motion. Standing over the ball at address with no motion for any length of time and ruing over a multiplicity of swing thoughts will take the joy and instinct out of hitting a golf ball.
Swinging with freedom is the goal, both mentally and physically, so next time you are at the course, channel your inner Julius Boros and use your pre-shot footwork and rhythm to execute a flowing, nonthinking golf swing.
• Pat Lenski is a teaching professional at Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva.