“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.