Gain Control By Giving Up Control
There is no such thing as a perfect putting stroke. There are natural and manufactured strokes. If you take some time to reflect on your own, which one do you think you have, natural or manufactured? If you answered manufactured, that is because you have tension. So how do we get rid of this? We need to go back to the sub title of this article, gain control by giving up control. This is a quote I heard while watching a putting lesson given by Brad Faxon, arguably one of the greatest putters in the history of the game who heard it from famed sports psychologist, Dr. Bob Rotella.
What are the steps to gaining control by giving up control? This first starts with our approach and expectations of putting. I see too many players get upset when they miss a putt and when they do this it makes the next putter more difficult because they have created tension from their reaction to their missed putt. To get more insight into what you should expect see the chart below:
This chart shows the one putt vs three put probability of the best players in the world. As you can see they are really good inside of 10 feet and almost automatic inside of 3 feet. But when you get to the longer distances they don’t make many putts and at around 33 feet they are more likely to three putt than one putt. Don’t beat yourself up that you missed a putt, instead try to get the speed just right and leave yourself a close next putt especially if you are at the longer distances. Understanding this can help free up some tension and nerves.
Secondly we need to have a pre-shot routine that gets us in a good frame of mind and keeps our bodies free of tension. Always feel that you are in motion and never stuck still. When you get stuck still your body reacts by tensing up. Keep the putter loose in your hands and make practice strokes while looking at the hole. Don’t let the putter stop but keep it moving back and forth focusing on the speed and temp to roll the ball the proper distance.
Lastly is our posture which is an extension of our pre-shot routine. Our routine gets us into our posture loose and free to make a natural stroke. When in the posture we want to feel the weight of the putter head. To help accomplish this try letting your arms feel like a heavy piece of rope that you can swing back and forth then place the putter in your hands. You should feel the weight of the putter head as you make a putting motion back and forth. After you go through your routine and get into your putting posture you don’t want to waste time. Remember to always feel like you are in motion to keep the body loose. Take 1 to 2 looks at the hole and as soon as your eyes get back to the ball make your stroke.