By Joe Thiel


Pre-round preparation has to be considered a top priority for all competitive players. It is the exact location that all things are mentally set to begin play in the event. It is much more then warming the body up, it is the place where each player transfers the mastered skills to competitive play. It is where each prepares to trust the sub-conscious to perform the habit engrained tasks.

Over the years I have seen many different warm up routines that worked very well. I have to say I have seen just as many routines however that set players up for poor performances and that is what we want to discuss today. What is a great routine for pre-play? What are good things to incorporate that will have a positive influence on the entire game?


First, since every great of this game had a consistent well organized plan that soon became automatic, it is important for you as well to create your own personal consistent plan.


Thoughts for consideration in creating your pre-round plan


1. How much time before your tee-time would you like to arrive at the course?

2. What is the total amount of time you need in your entire warm up program?

3. Know your exact and ritualistic stretch and warm up program that frees your body and mind and the time needed.

4. Develop a consistent location to start into your practice i.e. the putting green first or to the range.

5. If putting green first:: start with short 5 foot “star” putts with entire focus on trust and let go automatic feelings. This is for total sub-conscious putting and not at all mechanical in any way. Some use their aids and tools as a ritual and if you have these tools you should as well. Mirrors, yardsticks, strings or tees. Make it a ritual to build complete confidence. Finish up with several 5 footers in a row that drop into the hole. You may use your eyes closed drills here or even 1 handers if you wish to prove trust!!!

6. Next go to the practice tee and once your body is warmed up completing your warm up program, make your pre- round performance routine a ritualistic habit that is near exact always. From wedges to driver it is not be about finding a swing but must be about preparing to play the course. Heighten your mental skills here of trust, visuals, rhythm, and exact times that you incorporate on the course in your regular routine. Pre round practice is for warm ups and mental connection and not a practice time!!!!! It is not a time to practice swing mechanics.

7. Next to the short game area for a few pitches and chips to get used to the speeds of the roll outs. Hit a few down hills and a few up hill shots. Make each shot count going through your entire routine as you would when you play. Get the feel of roll outs, releases and trajectories. Hit a few bunker shots to get a feel once again for the sand.

8. It is here that you can consider a bathroom break before you start your final putting routines.

9. Back to the putting green. Work on getting re-acquainted with the speeds of some longer putts and some quality 15-20 footers as well. It is not about stroke but once again about warming up the natural instincts of speed. I personally like students to hit a few putts in a virgin area of the green where there has been no cup set and no traffic has marked it up. Putt at a tee or a Mizuno cup to get a feel for speeds. Remember this is about warming up and getting speeds ingrained into you sub-conscious mind.


10. Change holes a lot so you can work on plenty of up hillers, downhillers, side hillers, and all sorts of putts you may encounter on the course. Eventually putt a few 10-25 foot putts at a real hole building confidence in speed.

11. Finish with several 3-4 footers dropping in all putts sensing the sound, feel and sight of the ball dropping into the hole.

12. Finally start making your way to the first tee well before the group in front of you starts play. Not even a hint of rush, nervous anticipation, or anxiety of any kind interfering with your process. Your focus here should be thinking about your first perfect tee shot and not allow any other distractions to interrupt you. Many times there will be well wishers that want to say hello etc but you need to let all people know that you’re in your pre game plan and not allow the interruptions. Stay well inside the ropes and away from spectators if possible.


These consistencies in your pre-round WILL enhance your consistency of play.



The object of a quality committed time in your post - round program is to leave the golf course totally confident for tomorrows play. You want to be free to enjoy the evening without your mind wandering back and forth about tomorrows possible difficulties and problems etc.

  1. 1.After your meal of snack to the practice range. Work on all your drill rituals and if your game was a bit off go to the off program of development and get it back perfectly. Prove that your fine with several full committed routines with the driver and several iron shots. When you change clubs and work your way into your bag, finish with that club by going through your full committed on course tournament routine. Do this with every club.
  2. 2.If your short game or bunker game was a bit off then spend a few minutes working on the real time committed practice plan you have developed for just this situation and be confident before you leave the short game area.
  3. 3.To the putting green going thru your perfected post round putting program that gives you great confidence. The many drills that get you there and use the tools that you are a ritual to your confidence building. If you were off a bit out there and you felt uncomfortable then reestablish your fundamentals using your go to rituals designed just for this situation.
  4. 4.Finish your putting program with your personal designed confidence building steps that allow you to leave the putting green feeling real real 






book-cam-image From one who is considered among the nation’s top teachers comes A Master Teacher’s Secrets To Accelerated Golf Performance, an informative and practical guide to achieving success in golf.



Joe Article In China Golf

china-mag-small-icon Newest Joe Instruction Article in Chinese.



Olympia Golf Schools

Palm Dessert Golf School

About Joe

Joe Thiel has spent 40 years helping others learn and enjoy the game of golf.He is one of only a few golf professionals in the U.S. who has earned the prestigious PGA Master Professional designation. The local PGA region has honored him as the PGA Teacher of the Year three times - in 1993, 1995, and 1997. He was also inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the 'Millennium Who's Who in America.' Golf Magazine has also honored Joe with the title of Top 100 Teachers in America for many years and Golf Driving Range Magazine has also honored him as one of the top 50 Teachers in America. More About Joe.