No one's shocked anymore when Tiger Woods drills a 20-foot putt to win a championship. He's one of the best clutch putters in the game. But did you know that when he practices putting Tiger spends more time working on short putts than long putts. That's right. One media sources estimates he spends about 65 percent of the time he spends practicing putting working on short putts.
Most putts are from 5 to 15 feet. These short putts probably make up about 25-30 percent of your total score. You don't need a golf lesson to figure out that if you sink more of these short putts, you'd lower your golf handicap by at least a couple of strokes. Unfortunately, weekend golfers tend to commit too many mistakes when facing short putts. Here are some common mistakes golfers make when putting and some drills on how to eliminate them.
Confidence is the Key
Many golfers flinch when they putt. Or, they rush the putt so much their stroke becomes choppy and uneven. You can become a great putter if your putting stroke is smooth and free flowing. Creating good rhythm in your putting stroke is the best way of eliminating flinching and rushing. No matter what style of putting you use, if you flinch or rush you'll probably miss lot of putts. Unfortunately, most golfers concentrate more on sinking putts than working on developing a smooth stroke.
Next time you're on the practice green, make some smooth pendulum strokes with your eyes closed. As you make your stroke, count out a simple cadence "one-two." "one-two." Once you feel a good flow, have a friend place a ball at his discretion in the path of your putter head. No knowing when the ball is coming helps eliminate the flinching or rushing that can cause you to miss those short putts.
No Putting Ritual
Another common mistake in putting is a lack of putting ritual. If watch Tiger Woods, Fred Funk, or Sergio Garcia putt, you'll notice that they all have a putting ritual. Their rituals are all different. One player walks all around the putt before stepping up to hit it. Another takes his practice strokes behind the ball. But the one thing that's not different is that they use the same ritual every time they make a putt, regardless of the length or difficulty. Develop your own putting ritual. Base it on sound putting techniques and what makes you feel comfortable. And use it every time you have a putt. You'll find that a ritual not only relaxes you and helps build confidence in your putting.
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