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Adam Riedel - Aug 3 2022

My routine and thoughts before every golf shot.

Being an amateur golfer, I fall in and out of confidence. Some days, I feel like I can swing as hard as I want and the ball will go straight down the middle. Other days, I don't even pull my driver out of the bag because I have zero confidence in keeping the ball in play. That being said, when approaching the first tee box, I like to analyze the hole and choose a club that will be my safest option. Starting the round with a confident swing and solid shot can set the tone for the entire 18. If the fairway is wide open and plays into my miss, I might swing away and try and put a bomb out there. If the fairway is tight and there is a good chance I go out of play hitting driver, I will likely play a hybrid or iron that I feel I can put myself into a good position with. For me, the first hole set the tone for the entire round so I am trying to take as little risk as possible and play conservatively. As the round progresses and I begin to feel more confident in my swing, I will start to play more aggressively and take riskier shots. 

When approaching the ball after a tee shot, there are several factors I think about for the next swing. First, I will look at the position of my ball to the pin location. I take into consideration the bunkers in play, potential hazards, green shape, etc. Next, I look at the lie of the ball. Am I in the fairway? Rough? Lifted up on the grass? The lie of the ball can determine the club choice. If I am in deep rough and 215 yards out, there is a slim chance I will hit a solid shot with a wood. If I am propped up on the rough and the ball looks like it will jump out, clubbing down may be mandatory. The more golf you play, the more you will experience different types of shots and start to understand what to do in each situation. I always suggest doing what you feel most confident in. It is much easier to hit a light 9 iron rather than full swinging a wedge. Choosing to hit the smart shot rather than the hero shot will lead to lower scores and less mistakes. Once I learned this concept and started applying it to my game, I found myself in much more desirable positions around the course. 

Another thing to consider before your swing is the weather and environmental conditions. I'm not saying you should be checking the exact temperature and wind speeds before each round, but being conscious of your environment can pay dividends. Getting a general idea of your distances on a hot day versus a cold day or a dry day versus a wet day can help tremendously. Additionally, being mindful of the wind can help you make better club choices. Remember that often the wind higher up in the air where your ball is flying is much stronger than what you feel on the ground. Often times a lower ball flight is smart on a windy day because it will not get caught up and lose distance. If you are feeling good about your ball striking and golf game in general, it might be time to start considering some of these factors when playing. For the longest time, I would play the exact distance of the flag regardless of conditions. This led to many missed greens and bad shots. Once I started paying attention to things like weather and ball lie, my game started to improve. Next time you're out, see if your club choice changes when thinking about these things! Chances are, there will be more than a few shots you rethink.