Golf Pre-Shot Checklist

golf pre shot checklist

Before hitting a golf shot, it is important to consider the following six factors that could affect your decision of how and where you intend to hit the golf ball.

  • Wind
  • Lie
  • Pin Placement
  • Distance to the Hole
  • Risk-Reward Analysis
  • Picking a Target


Wind is the movement of air that can affect the distance and direction of a golf ball. A golfer should use less club when in a downwind and more club in a headwind.


Lie resembles the status of the golf ball as it rests on a surface. Good lies make it easier for a golfer to hit a solid golf shot, whereas a bad life makes it challenging for a golfer to make clean contact with the golf ball.

Distance to the Hole

Distance to the hole marks the total yardage a golfer must consider when evaluating what club and shot type to hit. To help with this decision, a golfer should practice with each club to know how far that particular club hits the golf ball on average.

Pin Placement

Pin placement is the location of the pin on the green. A golfer should know the pin is situated on the green in order to choose the correct club to hit an approach shot. A tucked pin is a pin that is located close to an edge of the green and is usually framed by a hazard or bunker. A tucked pin makes for a difficult approach shot and creates more risk for a golfer.

Risk-Reward Analysis

A risk-reward hole challenges a golfer to hit a shot with less margin for error, but upon hitting a good shot, it can leave the golfer with a greater opportunity to make a lower score on that given role rather than playing the hole safely. This is mostly applicable when playing competitively, as one may choose to be riskier when they are trailing in the match.

Picking a Target

Once you have gone through all other variables pertaining to your next shot, you will then have to pick a spot where you want your ball to land. To figure out this spot, you must take into account all of the variables previously discussed, especially distance, lie, and wind.