Sticking your tongue out when putting makes
more sense than you would think.
Putting when you are tense is not a good remedy for success. You need a method to help you to relax so you can concentrate fully on your target.
One of the problems when playing golf is that many of the things that would help us to play better, we forget to do. Not that you should go out on the course with a written check-list.
Thinking while over a putt is possibly the biggest cause of messing up your stroke. All your thinking must be done behind the ball and not when you are about to pull the trigger. If you are still going over your pre-putt routine or stroke mechanics, you are already in trouble.
How many times have you tensed up over a short putt when you know that you should be playful and carefree? The enormity of the situation takes over and afterwards you are left rueing the poor stroke you put on the ball.
Everyone who has played golf will have heard the much proffered advice of staying relaxed if you want to play your best. Yet I regularly see golfers stabbing at a short putt as if they had received an electric jolt at the moment of impact.
The advice to 'Stay Relaxed' is as useful as being told that the way to prevent a bout of malaria is to avoid being bitten by an infected mosquito. So is there anything you can do to help you weather the moment?
If you watch closely the faces of professionals when they are concentrating, you will see a number of them stick their tongue out to the side of their mouth.
In an article in Golf Digest titled 'Open Mouth, Lose Tension' David Leadbetter suggests opening your mouth and placing your tongue on the roof of it while you play your shot.
When we are tense we tend to clamp our top and bottom teeth tightly together. The tension in our jaw radiates down to our neck and shoulder muscles. This is hardly the precursor for a successful putt.
Edoardo Molinari, a European tour player and 2005 US Amateur champion, suffered from tendonitis in his left wrist. The cause was finally attributed to the way he closed his mouth.
The chiropractor at AC Milan Football Club prescribed wearing a gum guard during play and the pain went away.
Molinari explained that when he closed his mouth, the muscles on the left upper side of his body tightened up.
Sticking your tongue out is not the only way to relieve tension when faced with the prospect of a tricky putt. There are other ways such as deep breathing, smiling, whistling, and so on.
I have even read a suggestion that you should putt with a tee held loosely between your lips. If you do this, make sure you use a new tee that is free of any dirt or pesticides.
1 = bbc.co.uk
2 = mjordan23.com
3 = europeantour.com