Your putting confidence develops in many ways, but true confidence comes from establishing a foundation for success. The top putters on the PGA Tour practice in a way that increases their putting competencies, which combined leads to confidence. Players spend time developing their touch on the greens, for example, to increase confidence and feel comfortable with their distance control.
Great putters instill confidence by developing a preshot routine for putting that simplifies their approach to the game. Lastly, great putters develop confidence by committing to the decisions they make on the green. Great putters develop a solid foundation for putting confidence by generating competence in several areas.
What is it about your putting method that gives you confidence? Can you repeat your stroke? Do you hit putts solidly time after time? Can you gauge distance accurately? Do you read greens and see the line well? Mastering the physical and mental requirements of putting provides players with a sense of competence, which can develop self-confidence in the putting game.
Confidence flows from mastering the skills that lead to competence. This means you should practice your putting with the intent to master the skills that support your putting confidence. The following are some areas that provide a base of support for developing putting confidence.
1. Confidence From Your Practice. Most golfers are not excited about practicing their putting. Professionals spend at least one to two hours per day on the putting greens. This may not reflect what truly great putters do because they only practice enough to retain feel and reinforce their confidence. The key is that practice is vital to maintaining and reinforcing your competence.
2. Confidence From Your Pre-Putt Routine. Another foundation for confidence is to develop a consistent pre-putt routine. The purpose of a routine is to lock your mind into the cues that allow you to focus on execution and nothing else. Your routine should help you focus on the task, believe in your method, and trust your decisions, which lead to a smooth and rhythmic stroke.
3. Confidence From Experience and Competition. Confidence can come from playing “under the gun” in a competitive golf tournament. You can get a big boost of confidence when you sink that important putt during a club championship or going after your best round ever. Many amateur players exaggerate their poor putting in past rounds and let one bad putting round affect their confidence. This is an error in attitude.
4. Confidence From Your Commitment. Confidence comes from trusting your decisions and skills when playing. Confidence flows from being clear in your mind about what you want to do and committing to that plan. Indecision is a putter’s worst enemy. Great putters prepare themselves mentally and physically for every putt. They know the importance of staying committed to their plan and believing that everything they have done to prepare ensures putting success. Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Bob Charles, and Gary Player all talk of the importance of being totally committed to their intended purpose or goal. That purpose is to get the ball into the hole as efficiently as possible.
5. Confidence From Your Warm up. A practice routine before play can help you instill confidence. Do you step out of the car and walk to the first tee without even testing the speed of the greens? A warm up is an excellent time to develop a feel for the green. You want to make a few short putts in a row. This helps you gain confidence by seeing, hearing, and feeling putts fall before going to the first tee. Take advantage of a warm up by developing your touch and feel before walking to the first tee.