A "killer" putting strategy for making more putts
After watching Padraig Harrington sink three good putts in a row to win the US PGA I thought I would give you a putting strategy that has turned my putting from my weakest link to the strongest. This putting system is also part of what I taught Aaron Baddeley when he was still a junior. He has since become one of the world’s best putters (check his stats from 2003-2008.)
The key fundamental for great putting is to learn to automate your putting stroke. You must be able to hit every putt with the same mindset – this is the only way you’ll learn to putt consistently. Trying to consciously control the putting stroke doesn’t work and can lead to the putting yips. This is something I know plenty about. To learn more about playing automatically shoot over here and discover how to think less and play more.
I’m not too fussed about reading greens. Dave Pelz, the leading putting guru, has said that golfers can’t read greens correctly. After testing thousands of golfers he discovered that it’s difficult to read the true amount of break on the greens, with even the best players struggling to get it right. When I read that I decided that if the best players can’t read greens correctly then it was unlikely I could too. So I stopped worrying about the line of the putt and it made a huge difference.
I like to get an approximation of the line. I don’t stress about getting it exactly right – near enough is good enough if you ask me. I have since learned that the correct line is also dependent on the speed of the putt. And since you don’t know exactly how hard you’re about to strike the putt it’s impossible to get the line 100% spot on. What I do like to do is look. I look at the putt from behind the ball with level eyes. It’s no good having your head tilted to the side – keep your head and eyes level on all your putts and you’ll improve your consistency. On longer (or tricky) putts I will walk the length of the putt and get a view from a different angle. All this helps my subconscious get all the necessary information it needs and I’m also consciously able to get an approximation about the line and speed of the putt. All this gives me the confidence that I’m doing everything possible to make the putt. I’m not wasting time or energy thinking too much about the line – my trust is in my subconscious to work out all of the minor details.
Getting to the ball
I think a neglected area of golf instruction is the walk to the ball. Without knowing the best way of doing this you allow self-doubt, fear and tension enter the system. Not a good thing if you want to make a slick and breaking three footer with all the money on the line. Once you’re ready to go I recommend you start counting in your head. Walk to the ball with your eyes focussed on the ball with your conscious mind focussed on counting.
Note: This helps you get into your own little world. You’ll become immune from distractions like other players, the target and your inner voice. This one step is crucial and will allow you to become the best putter you can be.
Once you get to the ball you want to get set first and look at the hole or target later. I like to say, “set up like you mean business first and then look up at the target if you feel the need second”. Too many golfers get distracted by the target early into the set up – avoid this by making sure you keep focusing your eyes on the ball while you get into your setup position. And don’t forget to keep counting!
Pulling the trigger
If you’ve followed the above steps you’ll be in good shape. Your mind should be uncluttered and you’ll be ready to pull the trigger automatically. There’s not much to do other than trust the automatic process. Keep counting and let your subconscious strike the ball in any way that feels good and right to you. Don’t undo all of your good work by over thinking and trying to control the stroke at the last second. You have to let go and allow your natural instincts to take over. I can promise you that this is an easier and more effective way to putt. It will allow you to make more of those pressure putts and keep three-putting to a minimum.
Improving your putting doesn’t require that you overhaul your technique. I believe that putting technique could be the simplest of all sporting tasks and to improve it requires that you get out of your own way and stop thinking so much.
Your objective is to roll the ball along the grass – this doesn’t require any special talent or physical gift. All golfers possess enough skill and talent to become great putters – the real trick is to get out of your own way and let it happen automatically.
If you’d like to learn more about my putting system you can do so by downloading my FREE putting book. To do so please visit, www.perfect-putting.com.