By Michael Dutro
It has been said by almost every golfer, “That guy missed a 3-footer, what a choker”. It is true that some personality types are more apt to perform poorly under pressure, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to overcome this obstacle. The truth is, that the “average golfer” is a terrible putter. I never get worried when someone is able to hit a driver farther, or an iron straighter than myself. I know that if I play my game, and make my putts, I will be just fine.
The really great thing about putting, is that you don’t have to be born with any certain attributes to be good at it. Anyone who can learn to “control” speed and where the golf ball starts can be good at putting. If you want to get better at putting, then start by putting every putt. No more “freebies”. If you can make your 3-footers, you can at least give yourself a change to make 30-footers. Here are a few more strategies for working on your “pressure putting”.
- Cheat (just kidding)
Now I know that I just said that there are no more “freebies”, so don’t even think about that, but what I am taking about has to do with the grip, or handle of the putter and the line on the ball.
I highly recommend that you switch to an “oversize” grip. I don’t mean that you add a couple of wraps underneath a standard grip, I am talking about the Super Stroke type. It isn’t about getting the biggest grip possible, but I have found that getting a large grip helps students get the hands and more importantly, the wrist out of the stroke. Most putter manufactures are putting them on as the “standard” option now, so I recommend trying some different ones before settling on one.
Most golf ball manufacturers are now printing their logo in a straight line or adding a straight line to the side of the ball. The reason they do this is because most putters come with line on them, and you can line the ball up to where you want the ball to start and then line your putter up to the ball, making sure that you correctly align your club face, which is everything in putting. I highly recommend that you begin to use the line, and make sure that you are practicing with the line as well.
- They all count the same
I don’t know if you know this, but a 3-foot putt counts the exact same amount as a 350-yard drive! Often, I see people really get out of sorts when it comes to making their short putts. Their breathing pattern quickens, they begin to get shaky, they speed up everything that they do. This is where practice and having a routine come into play. Each shot requires the same amount of focus as every other shot. If you don’t already follow your putting pre-shot routine with each and every putt, start now.
- It never had a chance if it didn’t get to the hole
Your goal putting should be to give a putt a chance to go in the hole. The ball can’t go in the hole if it doesn’t get there. More often than not, this is the reason that we miss the short-putts. We get nervous and hit the ball too easy because we aren’t confident. If you hit every putt with the same amount of focus, pick your line and use the line on the ball, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to make 3-footers assuming it has enough speed.
- Never saw a straight line I didn’t like
The great thing about putting is that every putt is straight. What I mean by this is that if you use the line on the ball, and align the club face perpendicular to this line, and align your body parallel to the line on the ball, you are hitting a ball on a straight line towards the apex of the break. On short putts, unless we are playing a course with tremendous greens, we normally are not aiming outside of the hole.
- Putters have an expiration date
Every now and then, we lose our confidence in our putter. Not a bad idea to upgrade or switch putters from time to time if you are really in a slump. While this won’t fix your mechanical issues, it may be time to understand what your stroke is doing, and find a putter that matches and helps eliminate your miss. Keep in mind that you are going to use your putter way more than a driver, so I wouldn’t cheap out on the most important club in the bag. I also would make sure you are getting fit to make sure the putter isn’t working against you.
As always, it would be my pleasure to help you on your journey to finding the best putter for you. Just look at what happenend to @chiccogolf when he got his @BettinardiGolf putter!
Disclaimer: All thoughts and ideas shared in this blog are of my own opinion which are based on all the information and experiences that are currently available to me. These ideas are subject to change as I continue down my journey.
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