The Pre-Shot Routine
A pre-shot routine is critical for golfer’s who want consistency in their ball striking.
Years ago a young friend of mine told me this story about an incident that occurred during his time in the United States Navy working as an ejection seat technician on the Navy’s now outdated Grumman A-6 airplane. To let you know how old the A-6 is, and how old I am to have a friend who worked on the A-6, it was designed to replace the old Douglas A-1 piston-driven Skyraider. The A-6 went into service in 1963. That’s an old airplane, isn’t it?
The A-6 Intruder saw service until 1997. It’s an interesting aircraft. The pilot and the navigator/bombardier sat side by side. My friend told me the A-6, nicknamed ‘Double-Ugly’, had a glide ratio of something between a cast-iron, claw-foot bathtub and a grand piano. If you’re interested in this old aircraft you can go to this website. CLICK HERE.
Well, my young sailor friend and his unit were out in the Gulf of Mexico on an old aircraft carrier. The A-6 pilots were practicing take-offs and landings. There can’t be much in life as unnerving for a human being than to ask a young man or young woman to land a two-hundred mile-an-hour airplane on a moving surface not much larger than a tennis court. I do exaggerate, but not much.
Here’s the point of my story. One day a pilot was sitting on the flight deck of their little aircraft carrier in his A-6 side by side with his navigator-bombardier getting ready for a takeoff. The pilot had completed his pre-flight checklist and was ready to give the go ahead for the catapult.
At the proper moment, the pilot would give his two engines full throttle and the powerful catapult would sling the aircraft off the end of the small practice carrier like a little boy with a rubber band shooting paper-wads in class.
Just as the pilot was about to give the order to launch, power was lost on the catapult. Oh no. The pilot sat in the aircraft waiting for the restoration of power. As you might guess, it was impossible to launch the A-6, or most any jet aircraft, without the aid of a catapult.
After only a couple of minutes the pilot got word the catapult was again powered up and his launch was a go.
The sailor in the carrier’s tower asked the pilot if he wanted to go through the preflight checklist once again. Since the pilot had just completed his check list and since the power had been down on the catapult for only the briefest of time, the pilot declined. He told the tower it was un-necessary to go through the annoying check list a second time.
The pilot called for launch and powered his engines to full throttle and the catapult was released . The G-forces on the men in the airplane under full throttle with the additional energy of the catapult would pin the pilot and his bombardier/navigator back in their seats as the A-6 screamed down the deck destined for the wild blue yonder.
There was one problem, however. The pilot had re-applied his brakes when the power went down on the catapult. The aircraft’s brakes were necessary to prevent the airplane from inadvertently rolling on the unstable flight deck to an unwanted position because of wave action.
Normally, pilots release their brakes before takeoff. There’s a good reason for that. It’s not easy to launch an airplane from a carrier deck with the brakes on, even with a catapult.
The A-6 started forward. With the immense forward thrust of the two screaming jet engines and the powerful catapult, the rubber tires, locked by the aircraft’s brakes, instantly exploded with a huge bang.
Since the explosion of the high-pressure pneumatic tires occurred precisely at the same time, the sound of the explosion was loud enough to convince the pilot that one or both of his engines had failed. The pilot was certain that his now underpowered airplane would be thrown off the end of the flight deck and he, his bombardier/navigator and the airplane would sink to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in humiliation.
The A-6 went off the nose of the carrier and instantly disappeared below the level of the flight deck exactly as the pilot had feared. The airplane, deprived of proper take-off speed, predictably dropped towards the sea out of the view of all the sailors topside. Oh no! Oh no!
As if from out of the sea, two ejection seats appeared heading upwards powered by their underside rockets. The pilot and his navigator/bombardier sailed high into the air. When they reached their apex and began to fall, their parachutes deployed and the two airmen landed softly in the sea beside the aircraft carrier.
The resilient A-6, though deprived of a great deal of speed by the tires that failed to roll, surprisingly had enough power to continue flying even after the crew had ejected. As the pilots landed in the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico, the airplane continued climbing for a few minutes and then, without a pilot at the controls, the entire topside crew of the carrier watched the pilotless plane roll over and dive into the sea.
The pilot should have used his checklist, shouldn’t he?
Guess what? If you don’t want to crash and burn, or sink to the bottom of the watery depths of the lakes, ponds and rivers on your local golf course, you’ll develop a set-in-concrete pre-shot routine you will use each and every time you strike a golf ball.
Professional golfers ALL use a pre-shot routine. Why? Because their livelihood depends on their performance.
Even if you are an amateur weekend golfer, a simple pre-shot routine can save you from an ignominious mistake on the golf course in front of your friends that might cost you dearly when you settle up in the clubhouse.
Everyone’s pre-shot routine is different depending on the golfer’s experience and ability.
After the golfer has determind what kind of shot to hit with which club, a beginner’s preshot routine might be something like:
- Address the ball
- take my stance
- assume correct posture, watermelon back, arms straight, cantaloupe up.
- A little tension releasing waggle
- Hit the ball!
No two experienced golfers would have the same pre-shot routine. No two professionals would have the same pre-shot routine, but they ALL have one.
Everyone will develop their own pre-shot routine on the practice range. My advice is develop your pre-shot routine to the point that you’re able to reproduce it EVERY TIME you swing at the golf ball on the golf course.
Of course, you can ignore this advice like the pilot did. If you do, I suggest you get a supply of those floating golf balls.
Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game
ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee. My Momma would be proud of me. My book, Golf for Beginners won the silver medal in the FAPA literary competition and the bronze in the elit competition.
pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.
I often have spare copies of various golf instructional books in good condition by well known authors available for sale if you come by the range. I keep a supply in my truck, $5.00 a copy.
ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.
Copyright 2019 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.
Well, I’ve finally done it. My historical novel about the Cherokee deportation, A White Killing Frost, is on the shelf ready for you to check out in the Lady Lake Library and the Sumter County Library in Wildwood. It’s also available in almost every public library system in both Georgia and Florida. How good is that? Also, you can buy it directly from me off my tailgate for a discount price and you won’t have to pay shipping. I suppose I am a late bloomer, as my mom suggested long ago. How good is that? The book is also available on Amazon both digitally and hard copy. The digital book is only $2.99.Click Here. I have a new book just published, The Bow Window. Click Here.