“Putting is like wisdom. Partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.” – Arnold Palmer
By Ian Hardie
In the article How to make more short putts on the golf green I took a look at something that can affect almost every golfer – regardless of their skill level or experience at the game
The ability to consistently make short putts that keep your score going during a round
Most of the time they are fairly easy to make – assuming you don’t suffer from this affliction at all but as you may be aware from personal experience – every so often you will have a round
Where you will struggle to get those short putts in as often as you would like
The effect on your confidence, your score and your state of mind can be devastating if you end up missing short putt after short putt during a round
Something that you may have witnessed with other golfers you have played with over the years or that you may be all too familiar with yourself
Either way, the problem of missing those short putts needs to be addressed quickly
This is because putting is the part of your game where confidence in your ability to putt is actually more important than your physical ability to do so
You might want to read that bit again by the way – as you may have never considered that!
In that first article, I let you in on a little practice drill that most good golf pros know about but I don’t think that many other golfers are even aware of or if they are
They don’t seem to take much time to do that stunningly effective little practice
If you happened to miss reading what it was – you can find out how to do it here
For those of you who did read the first article, it’s time to get onto the next point that will allow you to make more short putts on the golf green
You may recall from reading the articles How to make more putts and How to make more putts – part two that the idea that I term as ‘holing speed’ is an important factor in how well you putt during your round
In simple terms, it means that for each putt that you hit to have the best possible chance of going in – it needs to be hit with enough speed
That if it misses the hole – it will go a foot or two past before coming to rest
This idea is something that virtually every great putter over the years has based their game on – the most notable exponent of this being the Spanish golfing legend Seve Ballesteros
A world class professional golfer who was happy to hit his putts hard enough that if they missed they would go up to a yard past the hole
That’s probably a bit far past for most golfers to be confident while standing over the return putt but it certainly worked well for Seve
The other thing that you will have probably realised by now is that the idea of ‘holing speed’
Is almost directly opposite to the common idea that most golfers have when putting
That the ball should only be hit hard enough so that it will ‘die into the hole’
But as you will know by now – I don’t talk about things that ‘all the other golfers know’
Instead I talk about things that will actually help you to play better golf!
The question that arises from applying the idea of ‘holing speed’ on the green is this:
How can you combine hitting your putt with sufficient speed that it will go just past the hole if you happen to miss with the accuracy required when faced with a short putt?
Before I get to the answer I’d like to give you a little example of what you can use to do this from another area of your life because in actual fact
You already naturally know how to do what’s required!
Imagine that you are driving your car down the road and you realise that coming towards you is a familiar car that is being driven by a friend, family member or workmate of yours
As you get closer, even though in theory – you should be focussing on the road and where you are driving to – your attention will generally start to focus on the number plate of the car and if you recognise that
From their your attention will probably end up on the face of the driver of the other car
In fact, the human eyes and brain are so good at doing this that most often you can clearly make eye contact with the other driver – even though both vehicles are moving towards each other at some speed and there will still be a reasonable amount of distance between the vehicles
It’s this same function of the human eyes and brain working together that allows you to ‘lock eyes’ with someone across a crowded room or quickly scan the area and locate your child if you hear their cry at a playground
In short the targeting ability that you have sitting under your golf hat during every round is one of the most efficient on the planet and even better – it’s actually free!
Most golfers don’t use it well enough when it comes to putting or just golf in general
It’s as if they have either been convinced not to or will have given little thought to the idea that they can actually aim at something much smaller than ‘the golf hole’ itself
Obviously when you are lining up a putt – nothing will be moving as it would be in the car example I gave above and ideally there won’t be anyone’s eyes near the hole you are about to putt into
However, you can still use this ability to ‘lock onto’ a specific point when putting
Which I recommend would be something very small at the back of the hole – a different coloured piece of grass or an inconsistency in the cup
In the image at the start of this post for example, I would be using the odd bit of white paint that is on the back of the hole above the actual cup to aim at
Once you get used to looking for a small target at the back of the hole for every putt that you hit – you will be surprised at just how many you will see that you have never noticed before
I’m going to leave it there for now as I’d like you to head out and have a go at ‘locking on’ to an extremely small target at the back of the hole prior to putting for a few rounds before I get onto the next point I’d like to discuss in ‘How to make more short putts on the golf green – part three’
It’s something that will really open your eyes to better putting!