Posted on: 22 January
What is the secret to great putting? Great putters just seem to make putts when they need to! Whether it’s a putt to win a major championship, the club championships, or a friendly money wager between friends: they make it look easy. How? Is it mechanical or mental? So many questions and while there is no “one size fits all” answer, there are basic fundamentals that will allow you to become a better putter.
Chi-Chi Rodriguez, the first Puerto Rican golfer to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and winner of eight PGA Tour events had this to say about putting “I’ve heard people say that putting is 50 percent technique and 50 percent mental. I really believe it is 50 percent technique and 90 percent positive thinking, see, but that adds up to 140 percent, which is why nobody is 100 percent sure how to putt”.
Personally, I am big believer that a great putter’s attitude and mental approach to putting is totally different to that of poor putters. As we usually putt about 30 times each round we need to learn how to deal with many of those putts missing without it denting our confidence.
4 mental thoughts to becoming a better putter –
- Don’t overthink it on short putts – Have you been in this scenario? You have a 6 foot right to left putt and you aim for the right edge. You hit a really good putt but you push it just a fraction and it lips out right side. Next time give yourself some room for error. I believe most puts from 6 feet are centre, or left or right centre… unless you’re playing a golf course on the side of Mount Everest. This way you can slightly push or pull that 6 foot putt and it’s still going in the hole.
- Distance first – Gauging the speed of a putt is probably more important than the line. If you have the right speed with your long putts you will never end up more than 2-3 feet away from the hole. But if you roll it 6 feet by or come up 6 feet short no one in your group is going to give you that putt. Poor speed and distance control on longer putts creates unwanted pressure for your second putt. No matter how precise you are in lining up the putt, if you don’t hit it the right speed the ball will never go in the hole consistently. You either hit it through the break or the ball dies below the hole.
- It’s ok to miss – Unfortunately even the best players in the world miss putts. In fact, on the PGA Tour in the US, players miss 61% of putts from 10 feet. Think about it. The best players in the world, practicing and putting day in and day out, on beautifully prepared greens that are cut and rolled to perfection are still missing putts. So just accept that when you are playing your weekly competition round you will miss some putts. But never stop enjoying the challenge of trying to make putts.
- Patience – Given that statistically you are going to miss many putts during your round, acceptance of this is vital. Sometimes you will hit a great putt and it doesn’t go in for some reason. Keep doing good things, keep up your positivity, keep to your routines, and sooner or later they will drop. Don’t become angry and distracted: focus on your process of making putts.
Lastly, there is no way around this. If you want to get good at anything you need to practice and put time in on the practice green. There are number of putting drills that I can show you that will help you focus your practice. This will mean that you will rely less on mechanics and more on developing the trust and the mental confidence that will make you a better putter. If you would like to improve your putting book a lesson at www.michaellonggolf.com