Why you should never watch another golfer putt – part two

bad putter

“The next time you see a good player stalking backward and forwards on the green, do not be led away by the idea that he is especially painstaking but rather pity him for a nervous individual who is putting off the evil moment as long as he possibly can.”  - Ted Ray

By Ian Hardie

In the post Why you should never watch another golfer putt

I talked about the fact that most golfers while they are playing their game of golf

Will watch the other golfers that they are playing with

As they putt on almost every green during their round

I also suggested that doing that will actually do your game more harm than good

Due to the fact that when you watch another golfer hit their putt

Or play any shot on a golf course for that matter

Subconsciously your brain automatically records everything that they do

As a result of an inbuilt evolutionary trait that all humans have called Mimicry

A tendency which has evolved over many thousands of years

As a form of survival not only for humans

But almost every other living organism on the planet

It’s the reason by the way that you will frequently find yourself in situations

Where without you consciously realising what’s going on you will suddenly

Be aware that you are watching the people around you and not really

Paying attention to whatever else is going on at the time

It’s simply that part of your brain scanning for behaviours or other things it can mimic

Before you think that it’s a completely terrible affliction that needs to be avoided at all costs

Just remember that mimicry is also the main mechanism that enables

Virtually every human being on the planet to learn how to walk

As well as learning a bunch of other skills

It’s also the thing at work when someone smiles at you and you can’t help but smile back

So while this inbuilt mechanism of mimicry is the thing that makes us

Start watching the other golfers we are playing with without us realising

I’m sure you will understand it means that if the golfer you are watching putt

Has a lousy putting technique like the one in the image at the start of this post

As a result your brain is going to start confusing the way that it generates

Your putting technique with the lousy technique of the golfer you are watching

It’s the main reason why some golfers can putt well in their first few holes of their round

Then completely lose all touch and skill with the putter for the rest of the round

Did that just ring a bell for you?

If so then you need to make a real effort to stop watching the other golfers as they putt

Which won’t be that easy by the way as it will be your normal tendency

However if you can manage to do it, you will transform your putting and your scores!

But what if the golfers you are playing with are good players I hear you say

Is it alright to watch them?

I’m going to suggest that’s still not a good idea for the simple reason

That almost all golfers have things going on in their putting stroke

Which are imperceptible to your conscious mind

Things like a slight tremor in the hands that causes a miss-hit putt

Due to an excess of caffeine before the game or alcohol the night before

Low blood sugar levels or even the early onset of the yips

While all these things are difficult to detect when watching the overall motion of a putt

The subconscious part of our human brain however

Is somewhat better at observing and recording these things

Just think about how good it is at recognising a human face across a crowded room

Or zeroing in on the eyes of a driver in a car going past you on the road

And just as it isn’t helpful in the long term to watch the way a golfer putts

It’s also not useful to intently watch the entire putt that they have just struck

Which is something that a lot of golfers do to try and get an idea of the speed of the green

As when you think about it in the terms I have just described above

How can you accurately differentiate as to whether they have struck the putt well or not?

If you base the strength you are going to use for your putt on what you think you saw

As a result of the speed of the first golfers putt to the hole

But they haven’t actually contacted it very well for whatever reason

What will that do to your putt?

I think you actually know, so I won’t dwell on it

So if you do want to get an idea of what’s going to happen to your putt

The best thing you can do is to watch what the other golfer’s putt does

In the last few feet as their golf ball is nearing the hole

Just as the grain of the grass and the borrow really starts to affect it

That will tell you more about what you need to know to hole your putt

Than watching them miss-hit the putt for a start

Play well

 

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