As live coverage of Day 2 at the US Masters begins I found one or two comments very interesting by some players both in the filed and in the commentary booth.
Adam Scott said “Make a conscious effort to grip the putter lighter. Think about using the bigger muscles to hold the putter, such as the back and shoulders, rather than your arms and hands, that would be a good way to take the feeling out of your hands and hit smoother putts.”
Ricky Fowler said “As I address the ball I raise the putter head off the ground. It takes away any stress from the arms and hands and prevents you from using the putter as a balance point which free me up to make a better stroke.”
Louis Oosthuizen said “Find a spot on the ground when practising and not to look up on follow through. Follow the ball if you have to with your eyes and not not head to stay in one position and you wont get out of the putt.”
Then Colin Montgomerie said this about his own game:
“Around Augusta I did not have the confidence. You have to have confidence and then you must commit to that confidence and belief and I didn’t have that commitment. I could 2 putt all day, but that wouldn’t win you the Masters.”
I found this honesty very interesting and wonder how much ‘NOT committing to the belief’ will impact your game.
Paul McGinley then spoke about Jordan Speith whose putting statistics are not as good as they have been. He has slipped from 5th to 25th. But when we look at Speiths 1st round yesterday, we saw and incredible putting display.
How does all this relate to your game, your confidence and your ability to improve as a player?
Firstly, it does not matter what level you play it – whether you are a 28 handicap or a scratch golfer. Being able to build confidence in your putting is something anyone can do?
Secondly, you ability to improve is unquestionably linked to your confidence on the greens. We all know that technical skills are important, however the fact remains that half the shots in a round of golf are played with a putter. Also, with the ‘Y’ word and issues such as lack of feel and touch, we know too that the reality is that we can easily play up to 54 shots (18 x 3 putts).
Speaking on the Y****, lets spare a thought for Ernie Els who took 7 putts on his first hole at Augusta yesterday. The main can play golf. There is no doubt about that, however something has happened in his mind that stops him for focusing on the putts and after a number of bad rounds on the greens his confidence is disappearing.
I have never suffered with that, but I have had plenty of 3 and 4 putts. So what can you do about that and how can you go one better and turn 2 putts into 1 putts.
1. Spend time practising your putting.
The putting drills at home can be a great way to build confidence. A rug or carpet is not the same as a golf green, however by choosing targets and putting to them you will build belief that you are achieving your intended goal.
2. Make time for a pre-round putting warm up.
You cannot underestimate the power of an effective warm up. If you do not have time to hit the range, then make sure you allow some time to hit some putts. I would spend your time hitting short putts into the hole. This will help you visualize the balls dropping in and will leave you with a positive image to take to the course.
3. Tell yourself “anything is possible”.
I like this form of ‘neutral thinking’. It allows your mind to let go of inhibitions, possible outcomes both good and bad and just simply allows you to free up. Get into the habit of standing over any putt or any length and telling yourself “I am going to let this ball go to the hole”. Having this one thought will free up the mind and hands and and remove any doubt you may have. You want to remove any negative thoughts such as ‘this green is in terrible condition’, ‘its so fast and sloping’, ‘I hate this kind of putt’ and so on….All of this can be true, but its not going to help. Any putt is just you, the ball, the green and your putter. Remove tension with neutral thinking and anything is possible.
Combining all of these elements will build your confidence to new levels as long as you do not over think. Practical habits are easy to create as long as you commit to them and believe in yourself.
Try and post a comment. It would be great to hear your thoughts and find out how you get on.