Keeping It Simple On The Putting Green


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Thursday, November 4, 2010

Towards the middle of my round at Stonecreek Golf Course I think I figured out a good routine for my putting. I have been practicing this tempo drill to help keep my full swing nice and smooth. My swing feels a lot more under control on most of my shots. I just have to remember to do it every time.

Tempo is important for the full swing but very important when on the putting surface. In my recent rounds, I have been struggling with the pace of my putts. I routinely come up woefully short on many of my putts. Even on my three footers. Nothing hurts more than leaving a putt of that length short of the hole.

I was mid-way through the round and I remembered a chipping drill that I had seen one time. The instructor (I can't remember who it was at this point) was 20 feet off the green and he had his student get into his chipping stance with the ball in his had and asked him to throw the ball in a golf swing motion towards the cup. The student nearly holed the toss.

The instructor said that most people are athletic enough to instinctively know how hard a toss should be made to get a ball from point A to point B. He said this is the mindset we should use when chipping. He told the student to imagine the stroke as if he were tossing the ball. The student again almost holed the shot. I thought that maybe this drill could apply to putting as well.

As I was standing over a 30 foot par putt, I took my right hand off the putter and practiced how hard a toss it would take to throw the ball to the hole. After I got a feel for that, I took my practice strokes and then said to myself, "How hard would I have to throw it to get it to the hole." And then I answered myself as I made the stroke, "about that." "About" started the takeaway. "That" is when I made impact with the ball.

I made a nice smooth stroke and the ball rolled to pin high just right of the hole. A bogey tap-in. Much better than having a five footer to save bogey. When I got to the next hole I had a twelve foot putt. I went through the same routine. I imagined how far I would have to toss it, took my two practice strokes. "How hard would I have to throw it to get it to the hole." "About that." In the hole.

I continued to do this for the rest of the round. It didn't matter how long the putt was that I was standing over. The tempo stayed the same. "About that". What I noticed is that I worried less about my line and was more focused on the pace. I have always heard instructors say that pace is most important when putting, but now I really understand.

Talking to myself also blocked out all the background voices that creep in when I am over a putt. By focusing on my own easy question, I had an easy answer. "About that." Much easier to answer this question than having to answer, "how much does it break?", "is the putt into the grain or with the grain?", "is the sun behind me?" "will it break towards the lake?", "why won't my friends shut up when I'm trying to putt?" Yes I've had that thought in my head over a putt as I'm taking a stroke.

The point is, I think it worked because it was simple and an easy visual to understand. It is much better to have one thought in your head instead of twenty five. It only takes like two seconds to make a stroke with your putter. It is impossible to answer all of those question in such a short span of time.

I subscribe to the K.I.S.S.(keep it simple stupid) principle. This is such a tough game as it is. I think I'm better off keeping it simple. See if this works for you. I would love to hear your feedback. I'll be playing tomorrow so I'll test it out again and get back to you with my results. Have a great round and always hit your target.

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Comments (2)

  1. November 4, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Excellent, grasshopper. You are finally attaining enlightenment...

    (Translation: This is just a stupid game, and uses moves not so different from the ones you normally make as you go through life. Relax and have some fun! You already know how to do most of this if you just stop making it so difficult. ;-)

  2. November 4, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    I guess it was one of those "aha" moments huh? It just kind of clicked. It took a lot of the pressure off of the putt at hand. I still didn't make some of them, but I was able to lag them to within a 2 foot radius.

    When I get back to Miami, I'm going to work on my putting a lot more. Like I said, despite how I played, I still could have easily been in the 80's if I made some putts.

    The saga continues...