This morning I got a call from a former client of mine. He told me that he just made a putt on the eighteenth hole to win his club championship. He said, “Everybody was watching and he used one of the hypnotic techniques I taught him to tune out distractions and stay relaxed and focused. This kind of success is a wonderful experience for the golfers who I coach and it is delightful news for me to hear about.
Here are some simple tips to help you improve your putting now and avoid those dreaded three putts. Do not try to implement all these tips at once. Try to use or two of these tips at a time and determine which ideas make the most sense for and for your golf game.
1. Get a putter that you really love. Look for one that is the right length, shape, weight and design. The putter should also allow you to find your line easily and it should allow you to hit the ball square frequently. Try a bunch of putters in the golf shop and try to discover the one that enables you to make putts of varying distances. If you don’t love the putter immediately, don’t buy it. The right putter should feel right instantly. See if your golf pro will allow you to demo the putter on the course, before you purchase your new putter. Remember, putting in a store is not the same as putting on the course.
2. Have your eyes examined. Putting is like surgery. It requires great precision. You can not putt well if you can’t see well. I have had many golfers who
have come to see me because of putting problems. Some of them had vision problems which were making it hard for them to read the green,
see their line and putt to their potential. In many instances, these golfers were helped by having a comprehensive ophthalmologic exam and new glasses, contact lenses or surgery.
3. If you have been struggling with your putting, consider changing your grip or
the style of putter you are using. The pros do this often and I have seen others
improve their putting by changing their grip, their putter or both. Some years ago,
I suggested to a client of mine that he use a claw grip. He said I could never do
that. However, when he went to this kind of grip, his putting improved immediately.
4. Decide if you want to be a golfer who putts with your hands or with your shoulders.
This is personal, but no matter how you decide to strike the ball, you must
develop a consistent, pendulum motion and hit the ball square.
5. Determine if you are a front of the cup or back of the cup kind of putter. Again,
this is personal. Some people like the ball to trickle in the hole. Others like to hit it
in with more authority. The style of putting people choose seems to relate to
their personality. I counseled a man who was an aggressive trial lawyer.
He was a back of the cup kind of putter. I coached a surgeon who was
front of the cup kind of putter.
6. Practice putting from different distances every day. Begin with one foot
putts. After you make three in a row increase the distance. Build up
to approximately ten feet.
7. Get to an eighty per cent success rate from ten feet. Most of the pros I
have worked with sink eight out of ten putts from this distance. Try
to get your putting to this level. Even if you are not a great athlete,
you can still definitely improve your putting with consistent and intelligent
practice. As I said earlier, if you putt better, you will lower your score
and win more often.
8. Spend twenty minutes a day visualizing yourself putting successfully
from various distances. Just close your eyes and imagine yourself
having great success on the green. If you like, imagine yourself
sinking a putt to win your club championship or making a putt to
win The U.S. Open.
9. On long putts, pick a target to roll the ball over on its way to the hole.
The target should be about the size of a quarter.
10. Participate in darts, bowling, shooting or pocket billiards as these activities
require the same mental skills as does putting. Playing these sports
acts as what I call mental cross training for golfers who want to improve their
performance on the greens.
11. Practice putting left handed if you are a righty and practice putting right handed if you are a lefty. This can help build your comfort and your confidence when you putt.
12. Get a tune in your head which you helps you find your putting tempo.
13. Develop a mantra which has meaning for you which you repeat to yourself before you putt the golf. One player who I coached would say Ernie Els to find a smooth tempo
on the fairways, on the tee as well as on the greens.
14. Write an inspiring word on your golf ball like, champ, winner, smooth.
15. Before you get to a green, imagine that the green is filled with water.
This will help you to get a feeling for the slope of the putting surface.
16. As you walk to the green, start to calm yourself with step and breath you take.
17. Before you putt, take a look at the line from both sides of the hole.
18. Develop a simple routine that allows you to find your line and feel
confident, relaxed and focused.
19. Close your eyes and take deep breath before you hit your putt.
20. Don’t putt unless you feel really ready. Ready means your are confident,
focused and relaxed.
22. Commit to a line and speed, roll the ball to your target and enjoy the glorious
sound of the ball falling into the cup.
23. Practice putting with noise in the background. Doing this can help with your ability to focus and to tune out distractions.
24. Get training in visualization, self-hypnosis and guided imagery to improve your
focus, ability to relax and your mental toughness.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. was named one of America’sTop Mental Gurus by Golf Digest.
He is the founder of www.StayInTheZone.com. He was named on of America’s Top Mental Gurus by Golf Digest. He has programs to help golfers to perform their best. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 888 580-ZONE.