The mental side of putting

Published 11/03/2010 07:14:00

If you've been following our putting guides, you should know how to execute the basic putting stroke, and how to judge distance and break. Developing confidence in your putting stroke is the next step to achieving consistently low scores and sinking more putts.


Start with the three footers

The art of building faith in your putting stroke starts on the practice green. Even if you only have a few minutes to spare before teeing off for a round, this is the place where you should spend that time.

Start by hitting only short putts of under three feet, the sort that once on the course you'd call "gimmes", ones that your playing partners would probably give you. The reasoning for this is simple - how many times have you seen a golfer, even a pro, go to jelly and miss an easy three-footer? Plenty of times, and you've probably done it yourself plenty, too.


Listen for the drop

Confine yourself  to positive action before each round of golf. Hit at least a dozen short putts, striking each ball firmly and with conviction, using your basic stroke, and listening for the sound of the ball striking the pin in the hole, or rattling into the cup. Now you can head for the course feeling decisive, the memory of each well-made putt carrying over into your game, even if everything else is crumbling.


Trust yourself

Once on the course, trust yourself. Here is where hours of practice, the experience, and your natural instincts should take over. Remember: the first glance you take at the line of a putt should tell you almost everything you need to know about the shot. You aren't building a bridge, you don't need a calculator to figure out the angles - feel the putt into the hole.


Positive imagery

You can also try conjuring up a positive picture to help you prepare for the shot. Relax and imagine the ball rolling down the line, then plopping into the cup. Visualising a successful putt is halfway to making the putt, whereas letting negative thoughts intrude will almost guarantee you miss the putt - and maybe the next one after that.


Remember, if you have played even one really decent round in your life, you know you are capable of making more putts than you miss. So go ahead - trust your ability and strike the ball true.


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