Jack Nicklaus once said: “Most make-able putts are missed because of fear or a negative attitude, not because of faulty technique.”
Here is one of the best players ever, who putted great under pressure, saying that your mindset determines whether you will make a putt.Attitude is everything in putting!
I want you to consider the following questions about your attitude.
1. Do you cringe when you pull the putter out of your bag on the putting green?
2. Do you think putting is the weakest part of your game and wish you were a better putter?
3. Do you miss putts in your mind before you even hit them?
In golf, two types of players exist when it comes to your putting attitude: (1) players that fear putting and (2) players who love putting. You can see these two opposing attitudes on the faces of players when the get on the green.
Players who putt with fear don’t like this part of the game. Putting is the stumbling block that is holding them back from playing good golf or rising to the next level. Fear-ridden putters dwell on negative outcomes. For the scared putter, standing over a long putt, the goal is to avoid three-putting. This result-driven negative mindset causes them to putt tentatively and defensively. Standing over the ball, the pressure of missing yet another short putt is too much, which can lead to the yips.
Players with great attitudes love the challenge of putting. They enjoy this part of the game. They approach each putt with excitement, enthusiasm, and positive emotion. When on the putting green, this is their chance to shine. Their enthusiasm for putting allows them to focus on execution and the process of making putts, which is a key to great putting.
To illustrate the importance of creating your putting attitude, I’d like to tell a story about Hollis Stacy, an LPGA player. I was doing research on career low rounds for a book I was writing. I talked to Hollis about her career low 10 under par 62 at the Safeco classic, which is a record for 18 holes on the LPGA at the time.
The first day of the tournament she shot 78 and was ready to pack her bags after the first round. She threw the putter away because she putted so poorly. She got a new putter from a friend for the second round. Hollis struggled with putting early in her career. Hollis was constantly searching for the magic cure to turn around her putting. She changed technique, putters, and her routine.
But then she realized that it wasn’t the putter or the method that was holding her back–it was the player herself. She didn’t believe in her putting and was too tentative. She knew she had to change her attitude. It was time for her to believe she was a good putter if she wanted to putt well. She made a commitment to herself that day that she was going to believe in her method. The very next round with a new putter and attitude she shot 62 and leapfrogged the field. She told me that believing in her putting allowed her to shoot a career low round 62.
I’ve talked to a lot of great putters over the years and when I was researching for the book, The Mental Art of Putting. They all agree that a powerful attitude is your best asset on the greens.