A further secret to great putting


“I was lying ten and had a thirty-five foot putt. I whispered over my shoulder: “How does this one break?” And my caddie said, “Who cares?” – Jack Lemmon

By Ian Hardie

It’s a fairly well known thing that great putting is more about having a great mind-set

Than it is about technique

As a lot of golfers I see out there have really good technique

But still struggle to hole as many putts as they should

Or as many as they would like – I suppose – to be more correct

As with most things in golf

If a golfers technique is good but they are not getting the results they should

It generally comes down to either their preparation or their mental state while playing

For a lot of golfers I see

I’m pretty sure it’s about their preparation

As most of them walk up to the putting green before their round

To ‘warm up’ with a few putts of course

Which you would expect is a good thing

But then the first thing they do is put a ball or two on the green

And aim their first putt of the day at the hole

Normally it’s not that far away

But nine times out of ten

They will miss that first putt

Then they miss the second putt

The third

The fourth

All the time their brain is ‘recording and saving’ all those missed putts

As it doesn’t distinguish between warming up and playing

It simply stores ‘the failures’

Way to build a positive mind-set for the day!

Now occasionally of course the golfer might make the first one or even the third putt of the day

Typically though

While ‘warming up’ the golfer misses considerably more putts than they make

Which must put the golfer in a negative state of mind before the round

And unless they hole their first half dozen putts on the course

They will continue in that negative state for the entire round

Unlikely to hole many putts that day

Complaining in the clubhouse afterwards that ‘they can’t hole a thing at the moment’

Only to turn up for the next game and repeat the process all over again

And again…………

So what’s the solution?

I make a point of hitting my first 20 or so putts of the day

Without aiming at a hole

I use the sides of the greens instead

As I think it’s more important to get a feel for the speed of the greens first

As I’m doing that I vary the distance of course but the direction is irrelevant

All I’m looking for is to get my putting stroke into gear

And for the ball to finish at roughly the edge of the green

Once I think I have got my stroke operating well

I then switch into doing longer putts

Which as you will guess

I’m trying to hit into a 3 foot circle around the hole

So no danger of affecting my mind-set if I don’t hole them

As I said above – I’m simply trying to warm up my putting action

Without creating a negative mind-set while doing it

After a few long putts I normally try to leave the putting green and go do something else to warm up like hitting a few chip shots

Or even a few final full shots before teeing off

I find that it helps to have a bit of a break from putting

Then as close as possible to teeing off

I try to get in 10 or so shorter putts

Putts of about 3 to 6 feet in length

Most importantly

I never head off to the tee without holing my last putt

Which allows me to step onto the tee

Knowing that;

I have the feel for the speed of the greens for that day

My putting technique has been warmed up sufficiently

And that I have just holed my last putt

Why is that important?

Think of how much confidence you get on the course

Standing over a putt

Knowing that you holed the last putt you had!

Play well


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