Lower your Golf Score – Guaranteed – Master the Mundane
Here is the BIG SECRET…”Master the Mundane”. Say What?!! I’ll probably lose most of you at this point because the “big secret” is so boring that it couldn’t possibly take you from an 88 to a 75 golfer. Run for cover if you must, because after you read this article, the truth of it will dog you every time you are walking to the next tee box for the rest of your golf life (or until you accept it and act on it). I am assuming of course that you have at least a little “game” already. If you are just starting out in golf, most of this won’t make much sense to you until you get good enough to have a “bad day” on the course. If you want to reach the next level of scoring, read on — You have been warned!
Mastering the mundane is fundamental to success in any sport. In basketball, it’s the layup, baseball the bunt, football block, tackle and catch. In golf, it is the dreaded “Three Foot Putt”. You know the one. When you bury it to take a high dollar double press, it was a “5-footer”, but when you miss it, you would have won if it hadn’t been for that “16-incher” you missed on 18. Don’t panic! This is not a “How to make short putts” article. There is one of those in every golf magazine on the street every week. The focus of this piece is on the benefits of making the 3-footer every time. This one skill is so critical to your game that nothing else seems to matter until this piece is in place. I am the “A” player on our foursome and we are the reigning Base Champions (and there is some pretty stiff competition). I only mention this to make this point — I’m not very good. Our “C” and “D” players are both better golfers than I am. So why do I play “A”? Because I make 3-footers…always. During the latter stages of the playoffs (when the pressure mounts), we get to watch players with games that far out-class mine, fall to pieces because they have zero confidence in their short putting.
What I am talking about is developing a habit of making short putts. When you go to a Major Golf Tournament, what do you see Tiger and Phil etal. do when they first come out? They practice short putts. Why? Because they are easy, it calms the nerves, and putts are what is going to win the tournament when all is said and done. There are myriad techniques for making 3-footers. Some of the best are:
1. Pick a spot 8 – 10 inches in front of the ball and putt over it (hear it go in – never look up!).
2. Visualize putting to a dime instead of the hole. Say you have a right-to-left breaker; imagine a dime sitting on the front right edge of the hole and try to hit it.
3. (My personal favorite) Visualize an eight inch tube in front of your ball that you need to accelerate the ball through on its way to the bottom of the cup.
It really doesn’t matter what your technique is. What matters is your mindset when you stand over the putt. You must develop the ability to eliminate all else from your mind except negotiating the golf ball those few feet to the bottom of the cup. It is a prerequisite that you have the ability to make these putts with regularity. Devote the (BORING) time on the putting green knocking down 3-footers until you can make 30, 40, or 50 in a row. You need to have this muscle memory in place for the rest of the strategy to work. Once this is accomplished, the real magic can begin.
Keep a putter in your office and/or at home. It doesn’t have to be your “Billie Barue”. Any old cheapie will do, because what you are attempting to achieve is 100% mental. Don’t stand there and bang away at it for hours. That won’t do you any good. Your goal is to be able to stop what you are doing, and achieve 100% intense focus on your putting routine; under any circumstances, under any conditions, and at any given time. When things are hectic at work, pick up the putter, take a deep breath, and sink a 3-footer. If the kids are making you nuts or the telemarketers ruining your evening, pick up the putter, take a deep breath, and sink a 3-footer. YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE. NO DO OVERS! If you miss it, take a second to consider why. Chances are you didn’t clear your mind and focus on the task at hand. It is the act of stopping to figure out why you lost focus and missed the putt that will revolutionize your short game.
Pretty soon you will develop a habit of “immediate focus”. (I’m sure somebody else said that already but I like to tell myself I made it up). The putter and the entire process of relaxing, focusing, and draining that putt will become like a security blanket to you. What strikes fear into the hearts of your opponent on the course, will become your safety valve (your “happy place” according to Chubbs). No matter how badly things are going with your swing or short irons, that 3-footer will be like coming home to relax after a hard days work. Imagine never having to be “iced” by your opponent sinking a 12-footer (when you need to make a short one to tie). How many golfers do you know breath a huge sigh of relief when their chip shot leaves them a 3-footer for par? Trust me… it makes your opponent nuts.
The advantages of having ultimate confidence in your short putting game are too numerous to list but here are just a few:
1. You won’t have to spend time kicking yourself on the drive home for those 4 or 5 strokes you “wasted”.
2. You can make smarter choices on chips and sand shots knowing you can make a little longer par putt.
3. “I just need to get up and down for par” is no longer just a euphemism. It actually means something.
4. You will make more birdies because you don’t have to lag it for fear of the 3-foot “come-backer”.
5. Amazing thing…those 5 and 7 footers start looking much shorter than they did before?
7. You become immune to pressure. You’ve trained your mind to go on “autopilot” for short putts.
The list could go on and on. The point is that if you start thinking this way and practice “immediate focus”, you WILL reap the benefits in your golf game. You don’t even have to “believe” for it to work. Golf season is just around the corner and if you try it, about midway through this Summer, you will realize that you are a “putting machine”. Mark my words. Your golfing buds will resort to heckling you out of frustration, but that will just amp up your focus! Remember, the goal is to achieve 100% focus any time, any where, under any conditions. Give it a shot. What have you got to lose…besides 7 or 8 strokes?
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Lower your Golf Score – Guaranteed – Master the Mundane