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Lesson 8

Putting Lesson 8 - Learning Points for Dealing with the Mental Side

Putting is not easy when it is important that you make the putt. However, making the putt is not the same as holing the putt. Making the putt is doing everything right according to your ability – in other words giving it your best shot.

Because of the exact nature of putting where the margin of error between the ball going in the hole or staying out is small, it is easy to suffer from performance anxiety. How you are able to overcome your inner demons will determine how well you will be able to putt when it matters.

1 – Goal Setting

Goal setting is part of planning for a result. It follows the classic three steps of (1) Where am I now? (2) Where do I want to be? and as a consequence (3) How will I get there?

Without a goal, and a time period in which to achieve it, you are just drifting. To improve your putting, you must plan for an improvement rather than just hope for an improvement.

2 – Putting Expectations

We would all like to putt better rather than being a streaky putter. However, it is important to be realistic about your putting expectations.

Most golfers play on greens that are not as well manicured as those prepared for tour events. The putting surface suffers from the amount of traffic it receives. In brief you are unlikely to have the very best conditions for holing putts.

Your putting expectations should be set according the greens you play on, your dedication to improve and the amount of practice time you can spare.

3 – Pre-putt Routine

Routine is necessary in our lives. We are constantly programming ourselves so that we are not overwhelmed by an avalanche of decisions. For example, we decide the way we like certain things done. This saves time and mental energy when the same situation arises as we have already made the decision previously.

Routine in putting is important because you don't want to be thinking over a putt. You want to adopt a pre-putt routine that you have honed beforehand and then just follow it. As soon as you start thinking about the difficulty of the putt or its importance, you lose the relaxed state of mind you need under pressure.

4 – Putting Visualisation

Visualisation is the ability to see in your mind's eye a future result. It is the abilty to fast forward a shot in golf in such a way that you see the path your ball takes from where you are to your target.

It is a technique to prep your brain for an action as it cannot differentiate between physical action and thinking about the same action. According to science visualisation fires the same muscles that you use when actually executing the shot.

Visualisation helps in putting as you see the ball going into the hole prior to actually putting it. This acts as positive reinforcement as you see yourself achieving the desired result.

5 – Putting Attitude

Your mental attitude plays an important part in life, and in golf. If you are constantly down on yourself, you are unlikely to excel at what you are trying to achieve.

Putting is at the precision end of golf as a small error can lead to missed putt from which there is no recovery. If you take the view that it is only you that is suffering from misfortune, you will very soon become a victim of negative thinking.

Your mood – especially how you react to a bad break, can influence your performance. To get the best out of yourself, you must focus on staying positive whatever the circumstances.

6 – Putting Self-talk

Self-talk is the constant chatter that goes around in your head. It is impossible to block out the internal messages you send yourself. However, it is possible to filter these messages.

On the golf course it is especially important that you speak nicely to yourself – become your best friend. If you are always berating yourself, you will set yourself on a downward spiral of negativity which will undermine your confidence.

In a round of golf you are going to miss putts. It is important that you don't evaluate your putts on an emotional level by calling yourself names if you mess up.

When you have a good understanding of what is required to stay calm and in control, you are ready to move on to practising all what you have learned in the EIGHT LESSONS that make up the Putting Lesson Plan:

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Related Web Pages and Ezines

Web Pages
Pressure Putts - Thinking Your Way to Better Putting by Not Thinking
Putting Attitude - A Fine Line between Success and Failure in Golf
Goal Setting - Planning for Better Results on the Putting Green
Pre-putt Routine - A Case of See it, Feel it, and Do it
Putting Routine on Tour - Presenting Doubt from Creeping In
Putting Expectations - How Well Should You be Able to Putt?
Putting Self-talk - How Not to Beat Up on Yourself – Leave that to Others
Putting Visualisation - Mental Images to Guide Your Performance to a Successful Result

1. Laughter - Why Laughter Can Improve Your Golf and Become Your 15th Club
18. Breathing in Putting - Two Important Things You Must Know to Improve Your Putting
20. Sticking Your Tongue Out - Why Sticking Your Tongue Out can Help Your Putting
24. Swearing - Can Swearing and Cussing Help to Improve Your Putting?
28. Making the Putt - Why Making the Putt is More Important than Holing the Putt
30. Mental Image - What Do You See When You Study Your Putt
31. Putting Stats - The Only Two Statistics of Value to Improve Your Putting
37. Emotional Putting - The Only Two Statistics of Value to Improve Your Putting
75. Putting Confidence - An Essential Part in Your Ability to Putt Well under Pressure
85. Patchy Conditions - 6 Ideas for Better Putting on Bumpy and Hairy Greens
89. Excellent Putting - You Must Strive for Excellence, but Never Expect Perfection
90. Putting Excuses - The Number One Reason for Putting Badly is Your Own Inability
92. Putting Path - How You Perceive a Task will influence the Success You Attain
93. Empty Mind - What Do You Think About When You are Faced with a Pressure Putt?
94. Putting Cross-Over - A Vital Skill You Must Learn if You Want to Putt Better
97. Putting Mind Games - Four Ways to Help You Block Unwanted Thoughts on the Green
110 Putting Contradiction - Achieving Better Results by Working Harder to Try Less
119 Unconscious Putting - The Ability to Block Out Stroke Mechanics When Over a Putt
127 Putting Anxiety - Knowing The Difference between Trying and Trying Too Hard

Return from Putting Lesson 8 to Putting Lesson Plan

Make More Putts

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