Why is a two to four-foot putt so difficult to make? Sam Snead said the easiest shot in golf is the fourth putt (because the pressure is off).
The putting stroke is one of the simplest skills in all of sport. Golfers make it the most difficult. Don’t take the fun out of it by creating a fear thought of the outcome. Let go of self-imposed pressure thoughts of having to make it for a birdie, or to win the hole, or to make up for a 3-putt. These are all thoughts that will change your emotional state and create anxiety.
A two-foot putt is probably the easiest stroke in golf. It may be the simplest task in all sports. Golfers make it the most difficult by indecision and by thinking fearful thoughts. There is very little movement of the putter back and forth to go wrong in a 2-foot putt. When a golfer’s mind chatter takes over, that is where golf becomes a “mental game.” Because a short putt is such an easy stroke, the golfer thinks they are supposed to make it. The fear thought of missing and the resultant embarrassment is what makes it so difficult.
If you have developed an emotion of anxiety over missing short putts, it is time to change your thinking. You have a choice to see the putt as a wonderful opportunity to score, or the self-deprecating emotion of failure if you miss it. Repeating to yourself that it is an opportunity instead of an intimating stroke will eventually change your attitude and your feeling about putting.
Visualize then realize
Anything you can visualize, you can realize. To replace the missed putts in your mind, take a video where you stroke a short putt into the center of the hole. Replay the video over and over and over until this picture in your subconscious mind has replaced the missed putt that causes your fear.
When your putts go in, you judge that you are doing it right. When they don’t, you think you are doing something wrong and try to fix it. Let go of this judgment. Develop the belief that you are a great putter no matter what the results are.
The purpose of putting is to roll the ball well enough to give it the best possible chance to go into the hole. You gain confidence by accomplishing your purpose. Trust that you can do this. Once you have made up your mind, trust that what you have decided is correct. Be decisive and don’t second guess your decision.
Great putters don’t spend time thinking about missing putts. They remember the good putts they made that built their confidence. Choose to change your putting attitude by visualizing and thinking only about your good putts. Give your putts the best possible opportunity to go into the hole by using your preset routine, trusting your decision and breathing deeply to relax and focus.
Keys to overcome nervousness and to stay focused on making short putts:
- Practice 2-3 foot putts until you know you can make them every time.
- Let go thinking about what missing/making means to you.
- Change your emotions from nervous and anxious to calm, relaxed, and fearless by taking deep breaths.
- Rehearse the putt in your mind until it is very clear.
- Accelerate the putter through the ball to hold it on the line.
- Trust your stroke to roll the ball on the predetermined line to the cup.
- Use the same pre-shot routine every time.
- Keep your eyes focused on the ball.
- Remember that you really love to putt more than you love the result.
Golf gives us many opportunities to feel good about ourselves. Making short putts without fear is one of those opportunities.
Play “in the zone” with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
Improve your putting and scoring by listening in the privacy of your own home to the PMI self-hypnosis CD, “Confident Putting for Lower Scores.” You can order today at http://www.pmi4.com/cart
If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at email@example.com or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.
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“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.