“Quicker Shots Improve Performance”, the new RSM Player Performance Study states. In cooperation with the European Tour, the RSM collected data of 22,579 shots at five European Tour events. The focus was on two pre-performance routines, the time a player spends over the ball (from address till impact) and pre-shot routines of the professionals on the European Tour. The study was published late November of last year and here is an overview of the results.
The 47 pros were carefully studied by the researchers in the five tournaments. They have mainly measured how long a player spends over the ball. According to the researchers, less time is much better and it is for one very simple reason – the longer it takes before you hit the ball, the more time there is to think about your swing, technique and goal. Once you have figured out what you want to do, then the rest must not take too long.
The researchers also studied the pre-shot routine of the players, the actions in preparation for a stroke, for example the number of practice swings but also how often a player looks at the target after addressing. Several studies in the past have concluded that a player benefits from a pre-shot routine and the new research endorses that.
Some interesting conclusions and figures from the report:
1. When players spend less time over the ball at address, their performance improves.
– For putts inside 5 ft, the likelihood of making the putt is doubled.
– A shorter time over the ball for all putts results in a 90% increase in the likelihood of strokes being gained.
– Being quicker over the ball for tee shots gives a small (12%) but significant likelihood of a golfer playing a better shot and gaining more strokes.
2. Consistency of time spent over the ball leads to greater chance of making the cut. When European Tour players are more consistent in their time over the ball in rounds one and two, they are 50% more likely to make the cut compared to players who are less consistent.
English Ryder Cup player Andy Sullivan was asked whether these conclusions would change the game. His reply was as follows, “Absolutely. We play a complex game with many variables and that is why it is crucial that we look at all the data and how even the smallest changes can help improve our performance.” said Sullivan. He also thinks that the conclusions can be an eye opener for amateur golfers as well.
Edoardo Molinari shares the same thought as he encourage amateur golfers to go for the shot they decided to play. “Be committed to whatever you are trying to do,” says the Italian golfer, “It’s easy to address the ball and question your club choice or ask ‘is the wind off to the right, or is the wind into me?’ Once you commit to the shot, stick with it and believe in your choice.”
The researchers advise all recreational golfers to develop their own pre-shot routine and to always use it when practicing and in competitions. The points of attention are:
Take one-two practice swings, always stand behind your ball to identify your starting line, don’t stand over the ball too long, a shorter time will give you the best chance to play better shots and make more putts; and there is no need for more than one-two looks to target once at the ball. Good Luck!