Originally Posted by SunDeck
This may sound redundant, but you have to develop a consistent routine. Watch the pros and you'll see them doing the same things on each shot.
Of course, it goes without saying that routine needs to line you up properly- my own habit is to find something about five feet from the ball in line with the target and make sure to line my stance up parallel to that line. But I also do the same thing on every shot, in terms of the sequence of events it takes to get to the swing. By putting that stuff on auto pilot, I can focus on seeing the shot and making it happen (as best I can, naturally). As for how far you are away from the ball, I have a place where my hands should be for my swing at a solid, relaxed and athletic stance. How far I am away from the ball is determined by that place and the club length.
The way I do it is I line up every shot from behind my ball. I first start with one practice swing, then I find the spot where I am aiming, then address the ball and go. If I get distracted by noise of a bug I repeat the process. I will practice swing other times while waiting and such, but once I begin to address I am one swing then go.
On the green I line up each put from behind the ball, address the ball, one practice put, pick my spot and then go. I do practice my stroke quite a bit more while standing behind my ball waiting, but only once when I address the ball. If I have a bad practice stroke I will step away and then begin my address again.
The only area where I don't follow that routine is when I am chipping. Often I address the ball and take several practice swings. Some of the time its looking down and others its looking at the hole trying to visualize what shot I am going to hit. When I finally decide on the shot to take and like my practice swing I go.