Your putter can certainly make or break you. There are days you feel like it is your best friend and then there are those ‘other’ days where you just want to break it over your knee. It seems like putting should be so easy. It is a fairly small stroke, unlike the mechanics needed in a full swing, and all you need to do is roll the ball on the green. You don’t have to negotiate bunkers, trees, water hazards or any obstacles on the green. So, in essence, it should be pretty easy, right?
What seems to give many players a test on the short grass is their brain. Yes, your mind can be the biggest obstacle you must overcome to be a better putter. If we can get just a little control of that brain of ours, we will see many more putts drop. Sound like a plan?
I figured with courses opening up after a long winter, it would be good to start knowing that putting is about 40% of your score.
One thing we must all do a few times a year is see your nearest professional to be sure your putting mechanics are solid. If we don’t have a solid foundation to start with, any amount of mental work will be for naught. Just a side tip.
Mental Tips to Help you with the Flat Stick
- Stop thinking so much! It is so hard to putt if you are totally wrapped up with the end result and how it may make or break your round. Think of it this way: Baseball season has just started and when the shortstop fields the ball and is trying to throw out the baserunner at first, is he focused on mechanics of how to throw the ball? Not at all. He simply grabs the ball, looks at the target and throws. Even though we are with our thoughts for hours on the course and we don’t ‘react’ to the ball/target, we need to quiet the mind and let it go.
- Create a consistent pre-shot routine. This alone may get your brain to quiet down a bit and not focus on mechanics. Your pre-putt routine should consist of visualization of the ball’s pathway to the hole, and how it will drop into the hole, practice strokes to ‘feel’ the speed of the putt, and a consistent approach to how you address the ball (for example: stand behind the putt, take 3 steps to the ball, set right foot first and then the left foot, place putter behind ball, take one last look at the hole and execute the putt).
- Put more focus into the process and the results will take care of themselves. The idea is if you stay focussed on the intended target line with decisiveness on the exact point where the putt will start, the result will be positive. Give yourself a pat on the back if you are committed to your line with a solid pre-shot routine and the balls will drop.
- Last but not least, leave the mechanical thoughts of your putting stroke at home or at least in the trunk of your car. You play with what you brought to the course, and love it! Tell yourself your stroke is amazing (fake it if needed) and remind yourself of all the putts you have dropped in your life. You got this so there is no need to constantly ‘tweak’ the stroke during the round. LET IT GO!
Putting is just one part of the game. It is an important part, but going into the round with a different mindset will take you to the next level. Your putts will start to drop if you focus on your pre-shot routine, leave the mechanics in the trunk, and constantly remind yourself with positive thinking about how great you are on the short grass.
If you simply commit to your intended line of the putt, and let the rest go, you will be a happy putter.
We here at Bunkers Paradise value each member of our community. Let us know in the comments below how this tip helped you, and we’ll continue to deliver tips to make golf more enjoyable. Thank you.
‘keep smiling and always believe’