Your putting is only as good as your ability to make putts under pressure. If you stuff up on the course but putt like a demon on the practice putting green then something is amiss. Here’s some more advice…

How to make more putts

Having a good putting stroke is one thing, learning to hole putts under pressure is an entirely different proposition.

All great players have an almost magical ability to sink those pressure putts time after time. Here’s how they do it…

They’re uncluttered

Their minds are not filled with technique or details about the line or speed. They are playing naturally and instinctively.

This is a difficult concept for many to accept. In the Western world we’re told to work hard, to grind and think about it. Has any of this kind of thing helped you in the past? Chances are it has had no positive effect on your game.

The more you think the more likely you will struggle on the greens. Thinking, grinding and trying really hard leads to the yips. Our conscious mind gets in the way and we make something that should be easy and turn into into mathematics. There’s a conflict between want you really want to do (hit the ball into the hole in the easiest way possible) versus want you think you should be doing. And the conflict leads to a lack of confidence and a short-circuit in performance.

Putting is a simple skill (compared to a full swing). Despite the simplicity of the motion, we’re still not capable of controlling the action. We’re no more capable than we are of manually performing a walk down a flight of stairs.

You need to treat putting like any skill. Keep it simple. Look at the hole, walk to the ball and hit it.

Making more of those tricky little putts

In a perfect world you would never miss those little putts. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world.

I can’t promise you’ll make ALL of those three and four footers, but here’s how to make most of them.

Always start from behind the ball. Look at the hole and be clear on your target. Your target (intention) is all that matters. You’re not thinking technique or what happens if you miss. You’re in the now.

The biggest mistake (and one that took me ages to overcome) is trying to be careful and safe. You have to let the stroke go! You can’t control it. Your natural stroke will work far better than anything else you can muster. You need to hit the putt like you’ve already made it. It’s the best way. Look at the hole, walk to the ball and hit it.

Get those long putts close to the hole

Successful putting is all about making most of your short putts and getting the long putts close to the hole. You’ll never make many of the long putts – nobody does. If you can get them closer to the hole you’ll three-putt less and some of them will find the hole by default. To make long putts we need to think about throwing the ball again.

How do you know how hard to throw a ball to someone? What happens if they move?

We tend to throw instinctively and it works brilliantly. We look and react. Why can’t putting be as simplistic as this? I’m saying it can be.

It’s impossible to use language to tell ourselves exactly how hard to hit a putt. “The greens are fast” is an approximation. Faster than what? So stop thinking so much, look where you want to hit the ball and then trust your instincts to do the job.


Next: A final thought

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