Strengthen Your MENTAL Putting Strokes

Golf Like A Pro.
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Golf Like A Pro.

So what is the best way to strengthen your putting stroke?

Be it recreational, business, or competitive, golf as a game and lifestyle requires having a positive mental attitude. From amateurs at the local club level, or at the junior, high school, and college levels, or professionals on the PGA Tour or LPGA Tour, one thing we all have in common is putting. We all have to do it to get the ball in the hole. And it is plainly obvious that there are a plethora of different lessons, styles, and strokes.

There is however some conjecture in the golf world about which is better when it comes to the putting stroke.   Well let’s look at the some obvious things. We all learned in grade school that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so let’s look at putting from that mental perspective.

Obvious thing #1  There is only one type of putt…it is a straight putt!  Listen to the following wording carefully, it will serve you well.  There is no such thing as a breaking putt, there are however PUTTS that do break!  I know this is semantics but every putt starts out on a straight line no matter what so plan for it.

Knowing where a putt will break is crucial to saving strokes.  Plan in advance that if you miss the hole you always miss the break on the high side of the hole.  If you miss the putt on the low side of the hole, it will roll out more and leave you a longer putt coming back.

You cannot control how the break of a green rolls, or how fast the green is at any given moment.  So your best offense in this case is a solid defense.  That defense is knowing and understanding that the only thing you can do is plan upon hitting your putt straight. The green and speed of the putt will take care of the rest, but if you hit the spot you planned when you do putt, you will at least finish up around the hole.

Obvious thing #2 There are going to be three arcs when putting just like there are three arcs when taking a full swing, and they are all simultaneous to each other and happen at the same time.  And everyone has them.   The question is how flat can you make you them through the impact zone.

Arc number 1 is the rotational body arc = my arms/your arms are only so long, so an arc is going to take place on an inside to inside arc. (inside being between you and the ball using the target line as your reference)

Arc number 2 is the Club-head path = straight back and straight through for as long as possible both away from and towards the target.

Arc number 3 is the Angle of Approach = the shallower angle of approach is the better, as the flatter the line, the more you roll the ball.

Obvious thing #3  Putting is a simple motion that rolls the ball!  I cannot tell you how well wording, semantics, and mental preparation play a part in how you putt the ball.  Here are some simple examples.

Positive examples:  Remember the idea here is to psyche yourself up into making the putt.

“I want to putt and roll the ball over this exact BLADE OF GRASS to go in the hole”
“My Putt is 17 feet”  (yes walk it off, it only takes a moment to do so)
“I am putting great today, I love the speed of these greens”
“I am just going to cozy the ball right up next to the hole about 2 or 3 inches away”
“I always make these putts”

Negative examples: Everyone of these negatives is either non defined or self defeating.

“I think my putt will do this but I am not sure” (Be sure by using as much information you have as possible)
“I hope that my putt ends up around the hole” (Don’t hope, make it happen)
“I wish I knew how far this putt was” (walk it off and say it out loud to yourself if only in a whisper, you will be amazed at what this does)
“I always miss these putts” (As Dr. Phil would say “What are you thinking and how’s this been working for you?)

Obvious thing #4  Putting is a glancing blow
No matter what anyone says, whether putting or taking full swings, the act of striking a golf ball is delivering a blow to the ball with control.  The faster the movement of the club, the more of a glancing blow happens.  Why do I say this, the ball is only in contact with the face of the club for a few milliseconds.

We already know that the faster you swing the more the ball jumps off the face of the club.  In putting it is crucial that your ball does not jump off the club face, as this could result in having the ball jump off line. Making sure the ball ROLLS vs bounces is a major factor in making and missing putts.

Obvious thing #5  Putting is a situation of making a choice

You have two obvious choices when putting, you create the speed or you let the green create the speed.  What I am saying here is that you either hit the putt with more force and on a direct line to the hole or, hit the putt with less force and let the design of the green create the break, roll and speed.  In either situation you are both making a choice and at the same time taking a risk.

The choices are obvious here, but I can tell you from experience that anything inside of 6 feet I am taking am more direct line and creating the speed.  Depending upon how well I am putting that day and the type of greens I am on, I might extend that length out to 8 or 9 feet.  But from an overall perspective I really stay away from any chance methods of putting, there is too much risk of missing the hole and adding strokes.

Obvious thing #6  Putting is more feel than mechanics.  (in time you can always get comfortable with mechanics, this has been proven time and time again)

Putting is primarily a feel thing for most players, the better the player the more chance they have worked through their mechanics and gotten comfortable with them.  I will reserve talking about different styles of mechanics for another post.

The only thing I will say about feel is this, feel is not necessarily about soft, it is a
about being in control as much as you possibly can.

Until the next time, as always Hit em Long, Straight and as Few Times as Possible, Happy Golfing and Have a Great Day.
This is Robb Nunn, PGA Professional and I’ll See you on the Lesson Tee.

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