Putting to your Full Potential
Putting Commandments help you to be upbeat when things are not going well. Controlling your emotions on a bad day means following a set of rules.
Set of Rules
The 10 self-imposed Rules help you to stay in control. How many will you break next time you play?
- Every putt in your round presents you with a unique challenge.
- How you measure up to the challenge will reflect itself in your score for the 18 holes.
- NEVER PUTT WHEN ANGRY
Putting can drive a sane person to distraction. It is natural to blow off a bit of steam occasionally rather than maintain a Zen-like calmness.
However, anger tends to feed on itself and being mad at yourself for too long is likely to poison your mind and harm your score.
- TREAT EACH PUTT AS A SINGLE EVENT
Your most important putt is the one you are facing.
Your intent should always be to hole it, or leave a short come-back putt, should you miss.
- PIN-POINT A TARGET TO AIM AT
If you aim at nothing, you will hit nothing. Good putters always pick out a precise target rather than hit in the general direction of the hole.
Often they will pick out a spot on their line and focus on rolling their ball over their spot.
Another technique is to imagine a small hoop on your line and then try to roll your ball through the hoop.
- VISUALISE THE PUTT IN YOUR MIND'S EYE
Jack Nicklaus was a master of visualising his putts.
Seeing the putt in your mind's eye before you commit to your stroke prepares your brain for action.
- FOLLOW A CONSISTENT PRE-PUTT ROUTINE
It is very easy to just walk up to the ball and send it on its way. Certainly it will avoid any tension building up - a situation that can happen when you spend too long over the ball.
However, a better technique is to adopt a standard approach to each putt - the way good putters manage their game.
- PUTT ONLY WHEN FOCUSED AND READY
This advice is time dependent. Any longer than 40 seconds is too long.
All your thinking must be done behind the ball, preferably when others in your group are putting.
As you step in over an imaginary line you leave behind the THINK BOX and enter the PLAY BOX. Now your total focus must be on your target and pulling the trigger without delay.
- COMMIT TO EACH PUTT WITHOUT SELF-DOUBT
Putt with conviction rather than try to adjust your stroke mid-way.
Deceleration or speeding up your stroke because you feel you will be too long or too short usually ends in a bad putt.
- TRUST YOUR STROKE
Tinkering with your putting stroke should be left until after the round.
It is very tempting to start experimenting if you are putting poorly, but it usually makes things worse.
This is because you are now in PRACTICE rather than in PLAY Mode, and can become a victim of 'Paralysis by Analysis.'
- STAY UPBEAT AND CARRY YOURSELF WITH CONFIDENCE
This is especially tough to do when your putting is off. Your body language shows outsiders the type of day you are having.
Maintaining a winning posture and a positive frame of mind when the wheels have fallen off is a test of true character.
- ACCEPT THE RESULT AND THEN FOCUS ON THE NEXT PUTT
The ability to accept the result of each putt no matter the result is the mark of someone who has conquered the vagaries of the green.
You are going to get good and bad breaks – that is the nature of the game.
It is difficult to remain philosophical when luck is against you, but getting upset usually leads to a negative downward spiral.
The Putting Commandments should underpin your strategy on the green each time you play.
Although separate, they are linked together.
Each of the Putting Commandments demands your full attention if you are going to get the best out of your ability - the ability to maximise your potential and enjoyment, and ultimately your score.
At the end of your round find some quiet time to reflect on how well you observed the Putting Commandments.
Become aware of where you failed, and where you need to do better on your next outing.
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