The winners of the 2018 Ryder Cup matches were once again determined by the most important putts made at the most crucial times. Over and over again we watched the American team miss make able putts to lose holes.
In his Saturday morning fourballs match with Tony Finau against Sergio Garcia and Rory McIllroy, Brooks Koepka needed to hole a two-foot putt to win the 15th hole. His putt circled the left side of the cup and didn’t go in. The gallery gasped at the unexpected miss of a short putt. This result was exactly why the European Team Captain Thomas Bjorn had told his players not to give putts at Le Golf National.
A footprint on a green usually takes 24 hours to smooth itself out. On a four-foot putt or longer you might be able to rationalize a miss due to imperfections in the grass. To avoid this, Tour caddies bend the flagstick to stand outside of the three-foot area around the cup so their player won’t have to putt through any footprints.
I suspect that every golfer at sometime has missed a carefully executed two-foot putt when they were thinking of what making/missing it would mean. A putt in a Ryder cup match would have the ultimate meaning of missing/winning in front of 50K cheering spectators.
Putting is the most crucial part of the game of golf. Putting is the great equalizer. It is the part of the game where the ball never leaves the ground. It is a game within a game. The better you become as a golfer, the more you will realize the important part that putting plays in scoring low. Up to 40-50% of your score can be played out on the greens.
Even though the putting stroke may be the simplest skill in all of sport, it is perhaps the most mental. Golfers make it the most difficult because of a change in their mindset. Don’t take the fun out of putting by creating a fear thought about the outcome. If you think you should make the putt, that thought puts fear into it. Staying in the present by using your mental skills of deep breathing and a consistent preshot routine is the way to overcome fearful thoughts.
Putting is the only shot used on every hole. It is the shot you have to trust to score well/win the tournament. It makes up for other flaws in your golf game. If you can master putting you will be the envy of all other players.
Improving your putting and your golf game requires a positive attitude, consistent mental skills, trust and discipline. To monitor your progress, use the following questionnaire to see where you need to improve.
PMI Mental Putting for Peak Performances
Date of play:_____________________Tournament:_____________________________
- Did you use the same pre-shot routine on every size putt? ____yes ____no If no, where did you discontinue it, and what were the results?
- How was your attitude toward putting? Did you have any negative thoughts about the greens or your putting? If so, how did you change them?
- What was your level of confidence for this round? Were you able to maintain your confidence? If so, how did you improve or maintain your confidence? If not, what caused you to lose it?
- How was your concentration while putting? Were you able to focus inward and stay focused for each putt? If not, how will you improve your focus for the next round?
- Were you able to visualize your line for putting? _____yes _____no If not, what did you do?
- What percentage of your putts were you able to trust to your inner knowing? _____% What percentage of your putts did you revert to putting mechanically? _____% When did you not trust?
- What did you learn from today’s putting round that will be helpful in your next round?
You have total control of giving any putt a chance to go in by rolling it well. Acceleration is absolutely necessary to hold the line. Trust your mechanics and your intuition. Be totally committed to your preshot routine once you have decided on the line. Visualize the ball going in the hole. See it, or feel it, or hear it, enjoy it.
Everyone has the ability to become a great putter. Make the decision to become a great putter. Focus on what you want to have happen NOT on what you don’t want to happen. Execute every putt on every hole, in every round, with the same mental and physical routine, giving every putt the same importance and attention. Put thoughts and feelings in your head to become a great putter.
Great putters don’t spend time thinking about missed putts. They remember the good putts they made. Choose to change your putting game by visualizing and thinking only about your good putts. Choose to change your putting game by visualizing and thinking only about your good putts.
To become a good putter, you must have a confident attitude that you believe in no matter what the results are. That positive attitude includes being enthusiastic about wanting to putt, having your complete focus on the process of making the putt, having a specific plan, believing in your ability to carry out your plan, and being relaxed enough to putt the ball where you want it to go.
Putting is both an art form and a science. There is a wealth of information about the scientific mechanics of the putting stroke. Putting is artful because in your mind you create the path the ball will travel and then stroke it with an artful stroke of gentleness or firmness depending upon the conditions. It is the stroke where you need to completely trust your intuition and creativeness. Create your putting game as an art form. Enjoy putting no matter what the outcome!
Play “in the zone” with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
To train your brain to become a great putter, listen to the Positive Mental Imagery CD, “Confident Putting for Lower Scores” in the privacy of your own home, available at www.pmi4.com/cart Also available are seven additional self hypnosis CDs to improve different mental parts of your golf game.
Also available is the new mental guide book for transforming your life and golf game for success:
“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.
THE HEART OF GOLF is available now on Amazon and Kindle
All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!