Perfect Putting Mindset

“I can’t get comfortable on the greens today”, said Tim on the 5th hole.

I was walking around with him for a practice game prior to the Australian Tour School. He was striking the ball superbly, but didn’t have the confidence or feel on the greens. Here’s a snapshot of the remainder of the conversation.

Me: Do you putt well on the practice green?

Tim: Always. I never have any trouble on the practice putting green.

Me: How do you develop feel on the practice green?

Tim: mmmmm. I don’t know. I sorta look and react. I pretty much look at the hole and hit the ball.

Me: Is it fair to say that you’re not really concerned about “feel”?

Tim: Yep. I’m not trying to have good feel on the practice green. I’m just putting the ball.

Me: Exactly. Sometimes when we try to do stuff we just get in the way. But when we’re focused on playing the game (in this case rolling the ball), good stuff tends to happen.

Tim: Yes! I can see what you’re saying. I’m trying to putt well and I’m just getting in the way.

Me: Correct. How about you approach the rest of the day with the mindset that you’re on the practice putting green. Look at the hole, get comfortable and putt that ball.

Tim had a 50 foot eagle putt on the 5th green (after two awesome blows onto the par 5 green) and approached the putt like a 12 year old. There was no fuss or fanfare – he flowed into the ball and rolled the ball down towards the hole. It didn’t go in (they rarely do from that distance) and tapped in for a birdie.

Tim: That felt great! My stroke was freer and I wasn’t worried about anything.

Me: Good work Timbo. No matter how important the putt is, you should approach it like you’re on the practice putting green. Look where you want the ball to go and then step up and hit it towards your mark. Us golfers are a crazy lot – we can take a system that works really well for us (practice green putting) and then overload our mind with a bunch of nonsense. We perceive the golf course as more important when in fact the game hasn’t changed. All you’re doing is rolling the ball along the grass into the hole. Keep your mindset and intention clear and you’ll do just fine.

Good luck to Timbo for the rest of the week. Don’t think. Play.

P.S. My day with Tim was filled with lots of interesting coaching tidbits. I’ll be sharing more of these over the coming weeks so keep your eyes open, there’s some really important and profound concepts on the way.

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  • Andrew Hinchliffe

    Reply Reply December 19, 2012

    Great stuff Cam, you have really struck a chord with me on this one.
    I dont know how many times I roll them in from everywhere on the practice green and freeze up on the course. Over the past few weeks i’ve really tried to have a mroe carefree attitude to my putting (more so the long putts than the short ones) and that really does seem to have had a great result, i’m actually holing putts longer than 10 feet and having fewer three putts because i’m too tentative on longer trickier putts. Great article, cant wait to hear more.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply December 20, 2012

      Big Guy: You’re an awesome putter – highlighted by that display in the Club Championship. When we can get out of our own way and play instinctively great things happen. Keep up the good work.


  • Troy Vayanos

    Reply Reply December 20, 2012

    It’s amazing how much our brain gets in the way of playing great golf.

    Just a simple change of mind set can make all the difference.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply May 2, 2013

    I’m taking lessons with a pro here in germany and he says the golf swing should always be natural. i see a girl in my class who’s taken many lessons from other pros and always three putts and rarely two putts. never one putts. there’s also little dudes in my class who are about 9 to 10 years old and they are all brilliant putters. they’re really good long game hitters too. long and straight. My golf coach doesn’t teach the putting stroke he just teaches the basics which i like. an example is that he doesn’t go on about lag and wrist angles and spine angle, he just makes our posture better and says the most important thing in any swing is the followthrough. that’s about all he says. he doesn’t mess around and he says that the short game is most important in golf. He’s also teaching the rules of golf which makes me feel great because i don’t really know any rules other than ettiquette and play the ball as it lies. I’m still learning. Cameron is this a good coach for me? What can i learn from the kids in my group?

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply May 2, 2013

      Adam: your pro sounds great. Keep reading the blog (and maybe ask the pro to drop by) and keep playing golf. Focus on having fun and exploring what you can do with a club and ball. There are no rules. My advice is to be a leader in your group and let the other kids learn from you. If you play the game and have fun you’ll do just fine.


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