Putting is THE most important element of our golf game. On average, the number of putts we take per round will vary from 28 for the pros to 40 and over for the higher handicapped golfer. By and large, that equates to about a third of all our shots being putts. Do you devote a third of your practice time to putting?
All of us who struggle with our putting can benefit from these putting tips and you will improve quickly. These tips have helped me get over the “yips” and have made a noticeable improvement in my putting. If you can improve your putting by only 10% that will equate to bettering your scores by 2 to 4 shots per round and even more for others.
You may have seen on TV that many professionals are now marking their golf balls with a thin black or colored line, Tiger Woods being one of them. Clearly, the golfers do this to help with their aim while putting. They do this to give themselves one less thing to worry about while putting. I will explain more on this shortly but the less we all have to think about while putting the better. The more positive and relaxed we can be, the more putts we will make.
Most putts are missed by golfers because they are not completely confident that they are aiming correctly or that they will not have the correct speed. This doubt causes all manner of problems but mainly:-
* Lifting your head or peeking too soon to see if you have made the putt. Generally, this causes a putt to be pushed because the shoulders have opened up slightly.
* Manipulating the putter head to compensate for a perceived error in your aim. Our subconscious believes there is a problem with either aim or speed so try to adjust our stroke to compensate even though there may be no need to in the first place. The “yips” may be the worst-case scenario as a result of this.
In order to get rid of these problems, we need to mark a black line on our ball. (ball marking kits can be purchased very cheaply and many balls already have a line on them). Use this black line to your advantage. Perform your usual routine to determine how much break there is in the putt. Point the line on your ball along the line you have decided to put along. You can now completely forget about this element of the putt. It is vital at this point that you must trust that the line you have chosen is correct.
Concentrate now on your ball speed. Take up your normal stance and make a few imaginary putts. While doing so look at the hole not at your ball. Try and FEEL how hard you need to hit the ball to make the putt. Picture if you can that you can envisage the ball rolling to the cup and going in. Take as many practice strokes as you feel are necessary to get the feeling of the correct weight of the stroke. Make sure you remember this feeling.
Once you are confident that you have the correct feel, stand over the ball and make the putt using the weight of stroke you have just decided on. Trust it. Never doubt that what you have decided on is correct. Trust that your weight of putt and line is perfect.
The only thing you must do now concentrates on making a solid stroke.
We know the line we have chosen is correct so we can forget about it. You have already decided what weight of stroke you will use, so you can forget about that. All we need to do now is make a stroke with our putter; straight back and straight through.
We can also get significant feedback from our line on the ball. If the line is wobbling a lot as the ball makes its way to the cup then we have not put a good stroke on it. If the line rolls flawlessly end over end and appears to be a continuous line, we have put a great stroke on it. This will give us something else to work on at a later date.
By eliminating most of the processes associated with putting, both mechanical and psychological, we have greatly improved our chances of making the putt.