Hello everyone. Welcome to this weeks tips & tricks. This week we are going to take another look at putting but we won’t be looking at your stroke, literally. We are going to look a bit more into the psychology of putting and how trusting your technique can help you get the ball closer to the hole and hopefully even hole more putts.
Jordan Spieth has done it, Tony Finau has done it. That’s good two good enough reasons for me! There is good reason why people look at the hole when putting, even if it’s just for practice and not on the course itself. Research shows that focusing on the target improves speed accuracy with putting compared to looking at the hole (International Journal of Golf Science).
When we swing a golf club we are looking at the ball and not how the club is moving around our body. I know lots of people when putting are focusing too much on the putter and not enough on the target. Putting is a fine motor skill. Fine motor skills are skills which involve the small muscle groups, such as the hands and fingers. These skills use fine and intricate movements, for example, catching a tennis ball, putting in golf, playing darts and snooker. Fine motor skills require more control and hand-eye coordination than gross motor skills. Putting is simply a case of small movements taking the putter away from the target and moving it back towards the target. This means that the putting stroke shouldn’t require a lot of thought. I know we all need to improve our putting strokes but that is for another day.
Looking at the hole when putting makes your brain link the speed of the putt with the speed and length of the stroke. The putting stroke should be natural and autonomous and when you’re on the course it should be a relaxed movement. Most of you reading this would have hit many putts before but the though of not looking at the ball may seem scary. You don’t need to worry about missing the ball or striking it poorly. You have hit enough putts in your golf career for your brain to know how to make contact with a putter.
Even if you don’t try this on the course try it on the practice green. Try to make your putting stroke more natural in practice and then trust it on the course. When I’m on the course I don’t look at the hole when I actually hit the putt (I have tried) but I do while I practice the putt. I stand next to the ball and look at the hole. Then I look at the line I want the ball to travel on and try to imagine the ball staying on that line.
Have a look at my attempt at looking at the hole when putting. I do have a natural forward press just before I hit the stroke (my hands move towards the target). I’m not trying to copy Spieth, I’ve always done it!
If you struggle with putting, especially pace putting you need to try this. Your brain is very powerful will do lots of the thinking for you without you even knowing. If you look at the hole when you putt your brain will link the speed with the stroke of the putt. Think about it, when you throw a ball you don’t consciously think about how far your arm has to travel, you just do it. Try to make your putting the same. It will make your stroke more relaxed and natural. The best ever putters always look confident and relaxed over putts. Get yours to look the same.
If you would like any putting guidance or any other short game help you know where I am.
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