Putting Magic – Can You Trick Yourself
into Improving Your Putting?
Putting is a mind game as well as the physical act of propelling your golf ball across the surface of the green.
In an extreme case where the brain cells become totally unravelled, the golfer is paralysed by so much self-doubt and fear that he or she is unable to take the putter back, eventually jerking hopelessly at the ball in a final effort of despair.
Afflicted golfers are a ready source of opportunity for inventors and marketing companies seeking to pioneer a range of ideas and putting aids.
These concepts and aids are designed to circumnavigate the mental blocks that interfere with the normal functioning of physical action.
Some of them no doubt bring comfort - others don't provide a guaranteed win-win solution.
Since two Scotchmen first stumbled across a piece of discarded drainpipe more than 100 years ago and used it to form the hole, the golf hole has been standardised at four and a quarter inches in diameter.
However, how we perceive its width is an entirely different matter. When we are confident, we see it as large as a bucket. When our putting is off, it takes on the appearance of a thimble.
You may be familiar with the smaller holes that are sometimes cut into the practice putting green. The idea is that if you practise putting to a hole with a reduced diameter, magically the holes out of the course will appear larger than they actually are.
How long this illusion lasts in the round is anyone's guess.
A similar mind-altering method changes the size of the golf ball rather than the size of the hole.
The Big Putt practice ball comes in at 1.95 inches compared to the 1.68 inches stipulated in the Rules of Golf.
The idea is that if you can develop precision with an oversized ball on the practice green, then the holes during play will appear to have increased in size when you return to a regulation ball.
As co-developer Danny Gurley explains "Golf is so much feel and so much mental. If you stand over a four-foot putt and think you're going to make it, you probably will. After practising with The Big Putt, the hole will look six inches wide and you absolutely will make that putt."
I have never played golf at a high enough level to warrant the services of a sports psychologist or hypnotist to lay down the perfect blueprint in my mind on how to putt without the anxiety of pressure.
Nor have I resorted to a regular use of subliminal tapes to conquer any inner demons that may arise when faced with a short putt. However, I remain open to any ideas of Putting Magic that promise improvement.
The question as to whether you can trick your mind to improve your putting appears a little like magic. I believe that in the long term nothing can replace sound fundamentals and regular practice, preferably under skilled supervision.
Putting Magic or not, putting aids can help to forge good attitudes. This aside, it is typically hard-earned competence that brings true confidence to a golfer.
1 = www.bigputt.com