Arnold Palmer putting advice

You can’t teach a player how to putt, but you can put across some of the
basic ideas to help him get the ball rolling toward the hole.
Where do most of the tournament players spend the most time? On the
putting green, of course. You can’t score without sinking the ball in the
hole.

When one of the boys wants to give one of his fellow pros the needle,
all he has to say is, “You’re the greatest putter in the world.” More nasty
things have been said about putting than about Russia. From the high-
handicapper to the scratch player to the touring pro, wails are heard about
their putting.

putting stroke

Arnold Palmer putting stroke

I’m no exception. It’s normal to complain after you hit two perfect
shots that travel 450 yards straight to within six feet of the cup and then
miss the birdie putt. After all, the surface of the green is specially prepared
to make the ball roll true. There’s no rough, no sand, and nothing to
worry about except the cup. It sounds easy but, of course, isn’t. Other-
wise, the men who build golf courses wouldn’t allow two shots to get to
the green and then two more to get in the hole for a par. Of course, to
score you have to one-putt, not only when you hit the greens but when you
miss them, too.

When I won the Masters in 1960, I was putting good—no doubt about
that. But you still have to play a lot of other good shots to win a golf
tournament, especially such a prize as the Masters.

On the first hole of the last round, I hooked my tee shot away to the
left of the fairway over some trees almost to another fairway. But I hit a
two-iron onto the putting surface 20 feet from the pin and holed the putt
for a birdie. What had looked like a sure bogey from the first tee became
a birdie.

The second hole is a par five that can be reached in two. I landed in
a sand trap on my second shot, but with an explosion shot got within two
feet of the pin. I figured that I was off to a flying start with my second
birdie.   I missed the two-footer.
Don’t ask me what causes inconsistency in putting, because I can’t tell
you, except that I feel that erratic putting comes from not doing the same
thing all the time.

Pick the style which suits you best and stick to it. There are a couple
of things, though, that have to be done no matter which way you putt. The
blade must be square behind the ball at impact. In other words, the center
of the ball and the blade of the putter are at right angles. And your head
must not move when you putt. Any movement of the head not only will
take your stroke off the intended line of flight, but also will prevent you
from stroking the ball the same way all the time. You must see the blade
of the putter contact the ball or you haven’t done the job right.

At one time or another I have putted every possible way, I think, except
standing on my head. Some of them worked, some of the time. Some
never worked. When I first went on the tour, I traveled by car. They
joked about the trunk of my car, but it was no gag. When I opened it
I had to be alert because there were 25 putters jammed in the back and
they might come tumbling out.

Through trial and error, I came upon one way to putt that seems to
remain the same. I use the reverse overlapping grip, which sounds technical
but actually is the Vardon grip in reverse.

putting follow through advice

The follow through

I have all five fingers of the
right hand on the club. I place the bottom three fingers of the left hand
on the club, insert the index finger between the groove formed by the last
two fingers of the right hand, and put my left thumb on the shaft so that
the fingernail is touching it. This immobilizes the left hand and makes
it just a guide in the stroke.

Although both hands move together, the right
hand does the putting. Many things can go wrong with a putt. You can read the greens wrong,
find a roll that isn’t there, or miss one that is. You can play a putt to break
left and it goes straight, or vice versa. And, most of all, on putts of 15 feet
or more, there is the problem of how hard to hit the ball.

I like to putt hard enough so that the ball gets past the hole. That way
it has a double chance of going in, once on the first putt and again on the
putt coming back. There is no worse feeling than leaving a putt short, dead
on line for the hole.   I think I’d rather get hit by Rocky Marciano.

Putting help for those with little time to practice

You’ve felt this before, I know it.

Some days out there on the course (or at least some holes in a round), you just “feel” like you are going to make everything…and you have a great putting round…

When you know it's going in

Other days, you just can’t buy a putt for any amount of money right?

I remember one particular round where I had that feeling putting…

It was a scramble I was playing with 3 other buddies.  We had a lot of pride riding on this as the representatives of our workplace vs. those “other guys” we love to hate!  (Did you ever see that episode of “Cheers” where the gang plays softball against the bar down the street? It was like that.)

Anyway…we are facing humiliation, down by 4 strokes with 5 holes to go and we are on a par 3, about 170 yards.  Out of the 4 of us, only one put it on the green and when we got to the ball, we noticed it was a twisting, downhill, left-to-righter. All of us are right-handed and so this was about as tough of a putt as it gets from about 12 feet.

I can’t really explain how I got there,  but as I walked up to hit that putt as the last guy in our group, something just grabbed ahold of me and I felt like I JUST KNEW it was going to go in. I KNEW I was going to make it. My buddies tried to give me help with the line and distance, and advice, etc. and I just ignored it and stared at the hole.

It was the strangest thing because I wasn’t the go-to guy in our group on the green at all. I was the guy who usually put it out there on the fairway about 270 yards consistently and was pretty good with approach shots.  But putting? Not the best part of my game.

It was almost like I could hear an echo of myself inside my head saying something like “It’s just going in…”

And it did…just like I saw it going in in my mind before I ever stroked the putt.

Confidence is more important than mechanics

I’m not here to tell you how I created that feeling. I honestly didn’t really try to…it just happened.

What I do want to tell you though, is that I now believe that I have this ability…I have this “state” inside me.

I think the Golf Gods gave me a taste of greatness there to let me know I have this. When I go out to the course now, if I really put my intention on it, I can bring back some or all of that feeling by going back to that day.  It’s easier to get into your memory banks when you have done some unconscious connecting like I have.  Keep following my journey and you’ll learn more on how to do that.

The best advice I can give to you on how to play golf with your unconscious mind is to:

Have the intention to trust your unconscious mind to do the putting and then ASSUME it is doing that.

We didn’t win the scramble but I came away from that round with something even more valuable. I owned something about myself that day. I ran with it. I still build on it.  I know you’ve had a taste of this yourself.  When you get it either on the putting green or elsewhere on the course, SAVOR it!  Believe in it!  Soak it up, pretend you can expand it throughout your body. Don’t deny it, don’t doubt it…GO WITH IT.

Expect to get more of whatever you focus on.

I encourage you to get some mechanical instruction on putting, for sure. AND, you know darn well that when you JUST FEEL like you are going to make a putt…then it doesn’t matter how you putt…it goes in.  Your mind, if allowed to do so, can make every putt. Pretend you can clear the interference between your thoughts and letting your consistent self take over to make all the right calculations for speed, break, distance and translate that into the minute muscle movements to put it all together.

Hold the thought about that time when you KNEW it was going in.

Hmmm, I’m betting you’ve had that thought on a bunch of 2-foot putts haven’t you?  I’ll bet you’ve had that thought on the practice green right before the round even…

I wonder how you will allow yourself to tap into that KNOWING and FEELING again.  It’s 10 times more powerful than any putting gadget.  After all, how many perfectly straight putts will you have out there on a given round that rely mostly on technique? Not many.

Assume you can tap into that “It’s going in” state and you will…

You don’t need any help putting…you just need to learn how to trust…

Tell me below how/when you have created that “This one is going in” knowing or feeling.

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Believe in real golf improvement

“Many of life’s failures are because people did not realize how close they were to success, when they gave up.”

Thomas Edison

Golf improvement for women

Never give up

Golfers up here in the North are excited to begin a new season.  They just watched a fantastic Masters tournament that fuels the passion for getting out there and smelling the grass, hearing the announcer call your group to the tee, the laughs of your buddies, the feel of a perfect shot coming off your driver, the joy of sinking that 20 footer for birdie!!

Everybody starts off with such high hopes for a fresh start and like when we follow our favorite professional sports we declare to ourselves…”THIS is the year when I break through to my personal best!”

And yes, that is all good…do that. Do it often! And…I want to do you one better to help you actually achieve that…

It’s been my experience that the biggest hindrance to keeping that momentum and continuing to improve is in how you handle your bad rounds and screwup holes.

Too many golfers take those deep inside them and it eats them up. It gets in the way of future progress.  The chokes and misses become like a cancer that grows inside you throughout the season.

Here’s the real truth about improvement….it occurs in an irregular fashion.  It’s never a straight line.  You take 3 steps forward and then 2 backward. You should expect that.  You should go into every game with a curiosity of HOW you are going to take those 3 steps forward when you are feeling most down or disappointed about a particular hole or a few bad rounds in a row.

Prepare yourself for this right now.

Tell yourself that you will never give up, never give in, that you are now on a never-ending continuous mission to improve yourself….AND YOU WILL!

This sounds sort of simplistic, I know. Sort of like something you would tell a 13 year old kid about his sports participation right?  I get that.

But you have a 13-year-old kid inside of you as well.  Because you once were one.

John Wooden, the famous basketball coach once said:

“Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time”

It’s the same thing with golf.  You’ve got to look at your game with a longer-term or bigger perspective and never give up on that.

Golf improvement

Everything fuels your improvement

I don’t care if you play for the fun of it or competitively, it’s the sheer thrill of watching yourself improve your game that keeps you coming back…or at least the hope of that.   Take advantage of that…it’s goood…very good!

I make mistakes in golf and in life. AND…I keep telling myself that I learn from everything and everything makes me better and I am constantly improving a little bit at a time.

Don’t try to force improvement either…just open yourself to it and do the actions that you believe are the keys to getting you there, whether it’s working out a swing flaw, refining your preshot routine like I teach,  doing the guided visualizations, putting on your carpet at home, or whatever.

3 steps forward, 2 steps back will get you where you want to go. It’s so much more fun to play with the belief that you are always improving.  And I know you love challenging yourself too, don’t you!

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Developing Trust in your Golf Swing

I went golfing today with my son. As usual, I hadn’t done any practicing this winter. I played once last month in 3 layers of clothes and today, in 45 degree (7 Celsius) weather that was a bit warmer. Not exactly the peak of the season form for my game.

I ended up shooting 3-over par for 9 holes at Everett Country Club here in Washington. Like you, I finished the round thinking “If only I’d have executed that ONE shot better….

You know the one shot I’m talking about. The one shot that would have saved you 2 or 3 strokes if it would have gone well.

I was this close (holding my thumb and index finger barely apart) from hitting par.

Varsity golf

Anyway, my son was struggling hard with his driver blocking everything out to the right and this course is tree lined on every fairway.  I told him that he looked really stiff and robotic and to loosen up. It didn’t work.

I finally told him to dedicate this practice round to one concept….Trust.

“How do you do that” he asked, “when I have no confidence in my driver right now?”

I said: “Well, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying something different right?..why don’t you pretend that you can speak or communicate to the driver head and tell it to square up at the moment of impact and then travel down the target line?  Stop trying to guide the club and TRUST that it is going to happen. Let go of control.”

That’s unconscious golf.

I told him to go up the tee with the idea that you want the ball to go down the middle of the fairway but that you don’t care if it doesn’t.   He was completely lost with that one 🙂

“He said I don’t know if I can do that” and I said, “I know…just go ahead and PRETEND that you can” and see what happens.

Narrow fairway helps you focus

He ended up parring out for the last 3 holes after that. It was fun watching him. He surprised himself.

You see, every round shouldn’t be a round where you are trying to beat your best score. Some rounds are a buildup to that day. How many rounds have you played poorly and then left the course in disgust or disappointment.

The goal is to have fun and learn and improve in the long run.  With that kind of attitude and a certain TRUST that your body knows what to do, has done it before, and will do it again, you can stop trying to force every shot and let them happen to your natural ability.

Dedicate each round to focusing in on one thing that if you were to incorporate into your game without having to think about it, you would drop scores.

It’s too late to do much about your swing when you are out there playing.  That should be done off the course or with your instructor.

Oh, and by the way. Did you know that some pros actually purposefully go with a block shot sometimes when they really need to hit a fairway because it is really reliable and easy to replicate.

Ray Floyd wrote about this in his book. I told my son about this and I’m thinking that just maybe, that’s what freed him up to start trusting and letting go of trying to “fix” his swing.

There’s many ways to get a low score on any given day.

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Golf Story – Sticks a golfer's tale

I hope that you will enjoy meeting Bob Andrews and sharing his
adventure.  I believe that anyone who has played the game will see
a bit of Bob in himself.

A Golf Story

I wrote “Sticks” hoping that the reader could recognize some of
his own foolish fantasies, that is, the two hundred and fifty dollar
driver that you just knew would take ten strokes off your game or
the miracle swing trainer that you saw on TV which would be your
ticket to the perfect round.
If nothing else, I hope that “Sticks” puts an occasional grin on
your face and causes a now and then nod of self-recognition as you
read.
Enjoy and thanks for reading “Sticks”!

Walt Sautter

sticksagolferstale

Posted by
February 4, 2011 in Misc

Golf Interview with Fred Greene, podcaster

Below I have an interview with Fred Greene who is the creator of Golf Smarter Podcasts.

Golf Smarter

Fred and I agree on a lot of things and the main theme of our agreement and this hour-long interview below is that there are many ways to lower your score in golf and we are both on a mission to help golfers find the most efficient way to get there.  In other words, how do you get your scores lower with the least amount of time, energy, and money.

Fred has a unique perspective on golf because he has interviewed many teaching professionals of all persuasions and schools.  He is like most of us, an avid golfer with a busy life wanting to get his scores down as part of this great challenge of playing the game!

Fred Greene

I had a lot of fun interviewing him and I think you will find great value in listening to him and taking a look at golf smarter podcasts.

Fred Greene Interview .mp3

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Golf chipping tip by Doug Ford

Talking about hitting good wedge shots and actually going out on the course and hitting them are two different things. All the knowledge in the world won’t do you much good unless you can apply it.
I’m not underrating the theory of the wedge shot or any other part of the game. That’s what most of this book has been so far—theory. But golf goes farther than that. To score well, you must be a good competitor. You must hit that ball at the hole and, especially when using the wedge, as close to the hole as possible every time. You need the kind of desire that won’t be quenched when you hit a wedge shot to within ten feet of the cup. The next time knock it up there within five feet.
I highly recommend that you develop sound fundamentals and build as solid and fine a golf swing as you possibly can. But I also strongly suggest that you develop a “get tough” attitude toward the game. I mean, “get tough” inwardly. Be a perfect gentleman and sportsman on the outside, but be a fighter on the inside. When you’re pitching to a green, don’t ask yourself:
“Will I be able to get close to the pin? Or will I flub this shot and land in that sand trap between me and the green?”
Get tough. Tell yourself:
“I’m going to smack this little apple right up there next to the cup.”
If there is any doubt in your mind, you probably will swing with doubt. You might rush the takeaway, you might look up, you might quit on the shot and not follow through crisply.
If you develop a confident attitude, you’ll take the club away smoothly and deliberately, keep your head down, and swing smartly through the ball. Your attitude will be reflected in your swing. If you get tough with yourself— be a tiger—you’ll be tough to beat.

Golf Chipping Tip by Doug Ford

Doug Ford

Many good golfers who didn’t have the best swings in the world have made up for it by being the best competitors. You can’t beat the combination of a good swing and a good competitor. And if there is any part of the game of golf where touch, feel and positive attitude can compensate for a less-than-perfect swing, it’s in the short game. Once you’re in scoring range, get that ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. It isn’t “how” that counts, it’s “how many.”
How often have you heard the sad story of a fine swinger who reported that he hit 15 or 16 greens in regulation but took 39 putts on the 18 greens and wound up with a 78 instead of the 72 he might have had? Or the guy who took three or four strokes to get down every time he got within wedge distance of the green, thus adding five or ten strokes to his score?

WARM UP WITH THE WEDGE

When warming up for a round I suggest that a golfer hit wedge shots if he doesn’t have time for anything else. You can’t beat practicing with a wedge. Two or three pitch shots and two or three bunker shots will give you a feel of hand position and enable you to grasp your timing much quicker than anything else. I’d rather hit six bunker shots than ten drivers before going out to play.
Then, once on the course, don’t experiment with your swing. Just hit one shot at a time, to the best of your ability, and concentrate on getting the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. You should improve your swing on the practice range but, on the course, you should only worry about improving your score.
By all means, don’t look back and don’t look too far ahead. A double bogey on the previous hole can’t be erased.
And, when you’re standing in the fairway getting ready to hit your wedge to the green, don’t start thinking about whether or not you’ll make the putt. You play only one shot at a time, and you want to play it 100%. Just concentrate on hitting the wedge up close to the pin. You’ll have several minutes in between to concentrate on the putt. But thinking about the putt while hitting the wedge shot will only hurt the latter.
Above all, remember to play with desire, determination and confidence. Sure, you’ll hit bad shots. Golf is a relative game. The less you have progressed, the more shots you’ll hit poorly. A newcomer will hit so many bad shots that it will be quite frustrating to him. But he should take this in stride and remain determined and confident. It’s just a matter of time before he will be hitting 90% of his shots well instead of 10%. Learning to play golf properly is a matter of time, patience and endurance. The more you play, the better you will get.

It’s a long hard path. I would certainly hate to have to start all over again. Luckily for me, I began golfing while still a small boy. But many have taken up the game late in life and within a few years have become excellent players.
The main thing is not to become discouraged. It’s a wonderful game and a “pleasant walk in the country” whether you score well or not. And you’ll always score better if you take that “tiger” attitude I am talking about. Don’t be a kitten on the course—be a tiger.

golf predictions

It’s officially 2011 and a new PGA season is under way. Yes, I know you folks down under have b een at it awhile….I’m jealous.  I think it would be great to live there for half a year and here in the states the other half. A true endless summer, yes! I’m dreaming of that right now as I look outside at the snow and ice outside my window.

What I’d like to do is to give you an opportunity to publicly make some predictions for the upcoming golf year.

Put your guesses down below in the comments and then we’ll revisit it at the end of the year and see who has the best foresight in the golf world. You can always go back to this page and show your buddies how accurate you were (if you were!).

I’m predicting that Tiger comes back with a roar…watch out world. I think he’s done the mental work he needs to and his skills just won’t be held back any longer.

I predict a brand new driver from a major company that takes the world by storm (just like every year). And I might even swing it at the pro shop because I just can’t resist it!

Seriously, I’m also going to predict big things from a golfer from this part of the country, Ryan Moore.  He’s from the Seattle-Tacoma area.

I predict that I will play about 12 rounds this year starting in March and ending in October and that my 16 year old son will overtake me in scoring and get into a single digit handicap.  I’m not going to let him mind you!! He’s going to have to earn it, right!?

I predict that there will be a new name that comes out of nowhere to win a major and that major will be the PGA.

Ok, it’s your turn. Put down what you think this year holds for us golfers below

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Posted by
January 4, 2011 in Misc

Develop confidence in your golf game

I have a 16-year-old son who is on the high school golf team and also works at a local country club. He is on fire about taking his game to the next level with the ultimate goal of playing golf in college. I am extremely proud of him! For years we have played together and I haven’t offered much advice except for one time when we bet on a round. He needed to 2-putt on the 18th green from 20 feet to tie me in a bet we made. If I won, he would owe me 5 car washes. If he won, I would buy him a new pair of fancy sneakers.

How to get confidence in golf

gaining confidence

To make the story short, I played a little gamesmanship with him and asked him something about his breathing while putting. He ended up 3-putting and from then, he started asking me about developing mental toughness for his golf game. And yes, my car looks pretty clean right now!

Flash forward to today and he is soaking up everything I can give him. Awww, that really warms my heart!

I think the biggest piece of advice that I am helping him with is in taking full advantage of his strengths. This applies to you just as much and here’s what I mean….

He’s undersized compared to the other kids (sorry about those genes I passed on) and so he is not going to overpower any golf course. Therefore, devoting whatever time he has to building his game is NOT going to pay off much if he works on his long game. On the other hand, right behind his house is a school yard where he can chip and pitch to his heart’s delight whenever he wants.

If you have Break 80 Without Practice, you know how I have explained about how chipping is the most efficient way to drop strokes because the improvement works it’s way through all parts of your game.

Also, I have provided him with a number of top pros from the past and present who have won pretty much because of short-game wizardry. My favorite of all time is Paul Runyon who used to beat Sam Snead regularly while being outdriven by 50 yards!

Next, we have devised a strategy where he is turning himself into the best bad-weather player in our area.  I had asked him how often that his competition was played in wet conditions and he said about 50%. Bingo!  Most golfers use bad weather as an excuse to have a bad attitude and lose focus. I told him: “What if you went out there in the bad weather and got all excited about it? Like it was a huge advantage?”

This game is mostly mental. You can’t deny it. Get the fundamentals, strive for repeatability and then clear your mind of garbage. That’s the formula for a low score.

What if you had an advantage or two over your buddies every time you went out? Or just believed you did?  Wouldn’t that create confidence? Bob Rotella wrote a whole book called:  “Golf is a game of confidence”

Haven’t you ever looked at a putt and just had a very certain thought or feeling that you KNEW it was going to go in? That’s confidence.

Chip it close!

What if you believed that you were a cut above every average golfer out there in:

reading greens?

100 yard approach shots?

Recovery shots?

Keeping the ball in play?

No balloon scores, EVER!

etc.

Find your strength or create one now. Work that area hard…harder than the others and don’t worry so much about the other parts of your game for awhile. Develop a true foundation for confidence in your game and then work out from there.

I think you have something untapped there for your game. Go get it!

I’d love to see some ideas for an advantage us golfers can create over our competition.

Put them in the comment section below.

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Posted by
December 15, 2010 in Misc

Real "Distance" advice from a Long Drive Champion

There’s advice, videos and everything under the sun from every golf instructor who ever lived about how to hit your longest drive possible with your skills and body. Let’s face it, golfers want this and there are definite benefits as you know.Players-Tour-2006-Eric Jones

Very few people are really qualified to actually teach anything worthwhile however and so I went about to find someone who really is. Eric Jones is someone who actually has won the World’s Long Drive Championship. The really astounding thing is that he is one of the smallest competitors out there. If you’ve ever seen a long drive competition, you know that most of these guys are hulks! Either totally ripped muscles and/or very tall. Eric wins with maximum efficiency of movement. Extremely impressive.

He still competes to this day and teaches golfers daily at his facility in California as a PGA instructor.

If that isn’t enough, he also has a Masters in Sports Psychology. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for his secrets for about an hour. I was planning on making this interview a bonus as part of a paid product. But what the heck, I’m giving it to you now right here:

longest golf drive interview with Eric Jones

If you want some free video instruction from him,  Go here:  Eric Jones

This guy is amazing and I highly endorse him and his teachings.

Eric-Jones-World-Long-Drive-Championship-Swing

Eric Jones Long Drive Champion

Greens and fairways,

Craig

If you want more of Eric Jones and some free instructional videos,   Go Here

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