Learn Sound Fundamentals to build
a reliable Putting Technique.
The advantage of learning a neutral putting setup and stroke is that it is easier to repeat. Unless you are prepared to practise regularly, avoid any extreme styles.
Golf is a game that lasts a lifetime; that is if you don't throw in the towel beforehand. Among the many reasons for abandoning the game are a lack of interest and a shortage of time.
However, these excuses often mask the real reason why the person is calling it quits – namely Bad Golf as a result of Poor Putting.
The joy of the long drive and well-struck iron are quickly overtaken by the frustration of the short putt missed. The green, the culmination of each hole, is where you expect to be rewarded for your fine shots, not punished time and time again.
How does this descent in golfing purgatory come about? It starts with a poor putting technique. When you are younger with little scar tissue from the repeated failure of your putter, your brain's memory bank is not overloaded with negative results.
Gradually there is a build-up of negative expectations. You begin to expect to miss and you do. Your poor technique eats steadily away at your confidence.
As you continue down the path of self-destruction, your nerve ends become more and more frayed. You see yourself as a poor putter. You now fear the green. It is no longer your friend. As you set up to a makeable putt, you find it difficult to take the putter back. Then in an involuntary flinch of desperation, you jab at the ball.
It has happened. The constancy of seeing your ball go by the hole has eventually lead to the breakdown of your putting stroke and the onset of the dreaded yips.
You are now programmed for failure. Your brain follows the same neural pathway that delivers the same inevitable result for each short putt. Your only hope now is to find a new way to putt as you are carrying too much mental baggage.
Relearning how to putt can involve putting with your eyes closed, looking at the hole and not the ball, changing your grip, putting left-handed if you are a right-hander, resorting to the long putter and so on.
If none of these work you can do as Henry Cotton did in his later years. He would pick up the ball on the green on the basis that he would have holed the putt in his younger days.
With time on your side the best way to cure the yips is to avoid them in the first place. Just as regular flossing leads to fewer dental problems in later life, learning the fundamentals of a sound technique will stand you in good stead later.
Not only will you putt better on a day-to-day basis, but you will develop a steely belief in your ability to hole putts.
1 = The Good Golf Guide - Improve Your Putting
2 = Instinct Putting - Eric Alphenfels Illustration - Phil Franke