This week I had a conversation with a pupil who was off a very lower handicap, 3.4 to be exact and a great player from tee to green. He had lost all confidence on his putting, mainly his short putts, Missing great birdie opportunities and resulting in bogeys. When I asked him what was he consciously aware of before, during and after he was hitting those putts, he said to me he started to fear missing. He got all tense and was telling
himself he can't miss the putt. This then led to him gripping the handle tighter, over thinking his process, his read, his routine was getting longer and standing over the putt longer before he came to hitting the ball. During his stroke he said he was aware of his stroke a lot more, causing to manipulate the putting stroke as he was trying to prevent missing. Resulting in miss hits and a miss of putt. After the putt was hit he said to me that he was frustrated with himself, didn't know why he just didn't trust his process and stroke.
After asking him a few more questions I then gave him 3 things to work on...
HOW TO MAKE MORE SHORT PUTTS
1.What are you thinking?
A lot of players I speak to who have the same issue and a number one cause of this is thinking about the putt to much while waiting to play the shot. This comes back to routine and only focusing on the putt when you are within that moment of your routine. People tend to think about the putt to much and what might happen if they miss: “You need to make this to remain at level par or, if you miss this, you’ll be one over…or even worse, you better not do what you did last time!”. If you’re standing there while your playing partners are putting, thinking about what will happen over your putt, you’re going to build anxiety which is going to tighten your muscles and your grip pressure. The end result will be a tight, jabby stroke. In between any shots, it’s an exercise in staying present and keeping your mind quiet. You can start the thinking process during your shot routine. Think about something totally different than golf is a great way to take our mind of the shot ahead. Staying focused on breathing and being conscious of each breath you take is another way to release any anxiety and putting your mind into a positive state. So the next time your get to the putting green try one of these methods and see if you can stay relaxed over your short putts.
2.Keep the process consistent
Having familiarity and focusing on what’s most important for you during your pre-putt routine is very important. Perhaps have a pre-shot trigger to remind you to focus on the steps of your routine. E.g. Picking your spot to aim at, visualizing the ball going in, focusing on tempo during your practice strokes, how you align and set your ball position etc. Make these a habit and a pre-putt check-list and you’ll make more short putts. Alignment for putting is a key part of this process, so be sure to have an intermediary spot picked out or use the line on the ball to make sure the putter face is square to the line you intend the ball to start on.
The method I use and teach is scan it, plan it, point it, roll it and rate it. When you focus your routine on these steps you you will become a very consistent putter and clever in how you approach each putt. But the important part is that it is a routine, its a consistent habit that will bring you out of thinking about all the negative thoughts and focus you only on your task in hand. If your would like to build a solid routine and learn the method of becoming a better putter get in touch with me and see your putts start too drop.
3.Notice where your focus is right before the putt
My student said that he was staring at the ball for longer over short putts. In fact I can tell when a player is struggling with confidence in their putting by the time they spend looking down at the ball. The time between setting the putter down behind the ball and starting the stroke is very important. If we’re not making each putt “reactive” to what we see in front of us, then we allow time for doubt to set in, which will affect the fluidity of the stroke. Good putters stay engaged with the target and the intention for the putt, and start their stroke as their eyes return back to the ball.
Here’s a trick you can try for dealing with this time. Do these steps to the count of “1-2-3-4-5”.
Place putter behind the ball aligning to your intimediate spot or line on the ball towards your indtended target .
Look at the hole and imagine the line of the putt and where the ball will enter the hole
Glance back at the ball and draw your imaginary line again from the ball to the hole
Recheck your alignment is correct & glance back to the hole
As you bring your eyes back to the ball, start your stroke.
This sequence will ensure your conscious mind is occupied fully (on something positive) focused on your task, before pulling the trigger with little tension. Give these a go and I’m confident you’ll make more short putts.
If you would like help in building your confidence and a solid routine to holing more short putts, get in touch with my details below for my 2 Hour Putting Masterclass!