It’s hard to go low when you’re a poor putter. If that’s you and you’re serious about breaking 80, then you need to improve your putting. But to do that, you can’t just work on your mechanics, read golf tips in magazines, or hit balls on the practice green. You also have to work on the mental part of putting.
Improving the mental side of putting can elevate your short game instantly. That’s the part where you use your mind correctly to boost accuracy and consistency. To improve their mental approach, savvy golfers use “tools” like visual aids and mental tricks to help make holing simple. Finding a set of tools that works dramatically boosts your success on the green.
Below are 7 specific mental tools that can help you cut down on your three-putts:
1) Boost your lag putting
Coming up short on a lag putt can cost you strokes big time. So if you’re constantly three-putting, try this golf tip: Look at the hole and pretend you’re holding a ball. Then make a motion as if you are going to throw the ball to the hole underhanded. When it comes time to really putt, mimic that motion to help improve distance control.
2) Practice in real time
Good putters use a shoulder-driven putting stroke. A good way to ingrain that stroke is to stand a few feet from the hole and fill the cup with as many balls as you can. This drill helps you hone and repeat the right movement pattern. It also gets you use to sinking pressure putts and builds confidence in your putting.
3) Step up and let it fly
If you stand over a putt for a long time, you can lose focus. It also lets doubt creep into your mind. Instead, let your body react to the putt naturally before your conscious mind takes over. To practice this technique, make your pre-putt routine consistent, but quick. Then step up to the putt and hit it. Employ this sequence on the practice green to ingrain it.
4) Use your putter more
Want a fast way to cut your scores? Use your putter whenever you can—even from the rough. Putting from the rough is dicey. But you can master it by doing the following: Set up with the shaft leaning toward the target and hit slightly down on the ball as you make your stroke. The ball pops out of the grass then starts rolling toward the hole.
5) Use gravity on breaking putts
A good way to sink long breaking putts is to let gravity help you out—even if that means setting up with your back to the hole. Identify the high spot on the putt, use that as your target, then putt the ball to that spot. Let gravity take over from there. Doing this helps you see the putt in your minds eye and forces you to gauge the right speed for the putt.
6) Get the ball to the hole
If you really want to break 80, you have to get the ball to the hole. That’s what all great putters do. The idea is to hit the putt with enough speed so you never come up short. Using a visual aid can help you do that. Some people, for example, imagine a basketball backboard behind the hole then putt to it. The visual aid helps you stroke through the hole instead of decelerating into the hole. That’s the key.
7) Judge distance from the side
Many good putters judge distance from the side of the putt instead of from behind it. They feel it gives them a better read on the putt and a better appreciation for the putt’s overall length. Try this next time you have a long putt: Stand at the side of the putt and point your putter at the ball. Then swing it toward the hole at the speed you think you’ll need to sink the putt.
Try each of these golf tips before using them on the course. See which ones work. Keep those.
Once you’ve ingrained these golf tips, you’ll become a more consistent putter. You’ll drain more putts even under pressure and cut way down on your three-putting. Doing that is the fastest way to break 80 and chop strokes off your golf handicap.