Great putting is the key to winning championship golf as well as improvement at any level of play. The great players prepare with an eye to controlling all the variables within their control. That said, they can’t control the outcome of any putt or stroke, so they give up. Yes, they give up – that is they give up on the outcome, but love the process.
By being so focused on the outcome of any shot, let alone a putt, you immediately not only take yourself out of the moment and introduce all sorts of fear-based emotions, but you introduce added pressure that no one can successfully navigate. You, like they, will want to give up on the outcome and trust that your read of the putt, stroke, speed, contact, and roll work as you intended, but life goes on if it doesn’t.
Eliminate any thought that you have to make this or that putt. Rather focus on starting the ball out with the best possible strike and roll possible, and then enjoy the results – intended or not. From a physical standpoint, fear ruins the tempo, tightens the hands eliminating a smooth, square strike resulting in pushes and pulls, and is often the culprit for coming up or lifting out on your putts.
Just as important as the correct physical fundamentals to putting is your emotional approach to it. You can either choose fear or love though you may also for all intents and purposes be in a sleep mode where you are negatively reacting instead of more appropriately responding. Guess which works best? The answer is always that you will want to love what you are doing. Love everything about your putting and the greens you are facing. That might include your preparation, procedures, stroke, equipment, and the challenge. Your vocabulary or stories must reflect that as well. When you learn to love putting and really look forward to it (yes, it can be learned), you will set yourself up for sustained improvement.
Does this happen overnight? Of course, it might, but impatience, fear, worry, and berating oneself are certain to sabotage your efforts. Be patient with yourself and your process and find things to love about putting.
How would you coach yourself? You’d be patient, understanding, complimentary, and forgiving so that’s what you should awaken to and consciously become your own best putting coach. All the mental imagery and physicality won’t amount to much until you become emotionally invested in loving your putting. Start today!