Putting is pretty much like riding a bike. You learned it a long time ago as a kid and once had positive putting confidence. As a young golfer, you weren’t afraid of anything—you were not afraid of missing putts. Most adults who get the putting yips learn to fear and doubt putting. I’m sure you were a good putter as a kid void of fear or tension, but now suffer from fear of missing or putting yips.
Remember, great putting involves believing “I’m confident that I can make putts!” You were once a natural putter, who simply said, “Watch me hole this!” You ultimately make the decision about where the ball will break and how much the slope affects the ball’s roll. You aim the putter head, align your body on your putting line, and launch the ball with the proper speed and effort control. Be confident that you can make putts and that the ball has a good chance of falling into the hole, but don’t expect to make every putt!
Here are some ideas to help enhance your confidence. Try these suggestions for two weeks and note any improvement in your putting.
- Make a list of all the times that you felt “confident” during recent playing rounds. List the feelings and thoughts that promote confidence and what it felt like on the greens. Notice the feelings and emotions that occur most often and focus on those particular thoughts and feelings while you prepare for an upcoming round or competition.
- Develop a preputt routine that is simple, consistent, and helpful when focusing positively on making putts. Overlearn your preputt routine so that it becomes automatic and provides you with stability when you feel anxious or pressured.
- Incorporate mental discipline into your putting routine and practice sessions. Tell yourself on every putt that you will give 100 percent effort, both physically and mentally.
- Commit yourself to excellence in reading greens and making good decisions about where you want to aim and stroke the ball, and then go ahead and do it.
- Know that putting confidence is a long-term project that starts from the inside. The more you input positive success pictures, the more putts you make, and the larger your confidence memory bank.
- Be confident but don’t expect to make all your putts. Be mentally tough by shrugging-off missed putts and learning to use selective memory. Do not dwell on missed putts. Always focus on the putts that you have made or are making (or the solid attempts that feel good to you), instead of the putts that miss or lip-out.