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

  • Ted says:

    Craig,
    I think that the pre-shot routine and visualization are the keys. Whenever I get the feeling that the putt WILL go in it is always accompanied by actually seeing the corrent putting line from my ball to the hole. My golf bddies tease me, but I tell them that I actually see a dotted line painted in the green. As long as I start the ball along that line it WILL go in.

  • John Greene says:

    I totally agree with this article. One thing thathelped me was Dr. Rotello
    CD Named Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect.
    There are days when I believe I can make every put from any distance. Do I? No, but I put much better on those days.

  • andy says:

    hi craig and thank you for this post. i have had this feeling not only on putts bur on chip shots as well i almost feel as if i am connecterd to the hole. at the moment i can,t create this feeling all the time but i will find a way, i think you could find it on all shots not just chips and putts. whien i find the secret i will let you have it for a discount price , cheers andy

  • Tammy says:

    As Dr. Rotella says, go through your preshot routine, see it, hear it feel it. Step up to the ball. Look at the target, look at the ball and let it go! Works every time. If the ball’s not in the cup, it’s close.

  • Ken Dowling says:

    Hi Craig, I reckon you are right on the button. Putting well is a confidence matter – once you start getting the long ones close, the shorter ones go in. Keep up the good advice, it is appreciated.

  • Lance says:

    See e mail correction.

  • Lance says:

    Hard to establish this feeling. Certainly it comes from being relaxed. Always helps to sink the first couple of putts during the round to win holes in match play. Then relaxing the hands will keep the putter on line and it let’s the mechanics take over. Once relaxation coupled with mechanics are in effect, the result is a great feeling of confidence. Once you are confident during a round you feel you can score no matter where the ball is off the green. Alas, the “zone” is present. You see the ball doing what you imagined just before the swing.

  • Tommy Valdes says:

    I know what you mean about trusting your subconscious to make the right stroke. It’s difficult to do but it works. I remember a YES moment from a trap. I focused on a spot on the green and just allowed my instincts to execute the shot and I hit the exact spot I was feeling I could hit for a gimme putt later. Darrell Klassen (whom you recommended to us; many thanks for that) has a practice routine that helps to create this feeling of making putts. I’ve practiced his routine and it works. He suggests: place 5 balls in one continuous line from the cup one foot apart with the first ball less than one foot from the cup. The feeling is to make each successive putt with the same feeling/confidence you have with the first short putt. You should putt each ball one after the other without thinking. It becomes a confidence builder and gives you the feeling that your subconscious mind is making all the putts. This practice routine doesn’t allow for negative thoughts or corrections (from the conscious mind) to leap in and confuse the feeling of making all the putts. Do this before your game and when you have a putt of less than 6 feet you have the feeling that you can make all of them from this distance because you have before and can recreate that feeling each time. When you miss the first putt you’re surprised. Hope this helps; it did for me. Thanks Craig for all the suggestions and in particular introducing me to Darrell Klassen. Tommy Valdes.

  • Jim Thorpe says:

    Craig, I know exactly what you mean. There are some days I feel very confident about my putting and it can be 75% of the shot. I was in a similar scramble last year and became the “go to” guy for putting when I did not consider that my strong suit. It works.

  • George Dalton says:

    Craig I understand that feeling. Every Once in a while out on the course, maybe one or two strokes down on a particular hole I get this “feeling” that comes over me and I know, without a doubt, that I’m going to win the hole. It has happened on drives, pitches, chips and putts. The thing to do is get that feeling back in your head to cause it to be duplicated over and over. For me it comes by a flashback to that original stroke that gave me the feeling of success. Each time it happens I try to focus on a number of things: The weather, the course, how my clubs felt in my hands. It doesn’t always work but I’m getting better at it and the successes are more frequent than they were.

    • Craig says:

      Awesome comments. Thank you all for contributing. I’ve learned something here from you as well. Of course practicing helps your confidence…but just think about it for a second. Confidence is a state of being. A state is something you have the power to decide to do…it’s not something that always happens to you by some outside force….

      Greens and fairways,
      Craig

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