Dave Stockton built his reputation starting with his years on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour as a winner. However more recently he has become the “hottest” putting instructor in the country. The list of his students is impressive: Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie, Yani Tseng and Sandra Gal on the LPGA Tour plus Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott and other stars on the PGA Tour.
And oh yes, he has worked with world number one Rory McIlroy which puts Stockton in the rarified atmosphere at the top of the coaching business. This was before McIlroy’s runaway win at last week’s PGA Championship, a virtual repeat of the young Northern Ireland native’s lapping of the field at the 2011 U.S. Open.
Stockton’s expertise is the entire short game so following on his book Unconscious Putting, his newest due in stores Sept. 13 is Unconscious Scoring and it’s a fitting sequel.
Probably as valuable as any of the “how-to” in the book (and there’s a lot – clearly written) is his explanation of his philosophy on short shots in the first two chapters, “The Essence of Scoring” and “Increasing Your Short-game Awareness.” Not only recreational players but those who play for a living have to contend with what goes on in their minds, the mental game. Stockton approaches those demons head on such as pointing out when hitting a shot to a green from 150-yards often it’s the fear of missing the green – into a bunker or long grass – that dominates the thought process.
Everything changes if the player feels he has the knowledge to get up and down should the shot go awry.
Banishing the demons isn’t difficult and Stockton shows how even a 20-handicap player can do the simple things to improve his scoring around the green. It may not cut his handicap to a 10 but he will have confidence, he will get better results and he will have more fun.