Beat the “Yips” Before it Beats You

Overcoming Golf Yips

Overcoming The Yips in Golf

Have you experienced a time where you were sinking putts with ease in practice but, suddenly and without explanation, you seemed unable to sink to the simplest of putts in a tournament?

Suddenly, any putt caused your muscles to tense, thoughts to race, pre-shot routine to take longer and anxiety to increase.

You were probably suffering from a condition known in golf as the “yips.”

It is estimated that almost 48 percent of golfers have experienced the “yips” at one time during their careers.

Many professional golfers have sought out and overcame the “yips” with the help of Golf Psychology Consultants and Mental Game Coaches.

Pádraig Harrington, a 42 year-old Irish professional golfer, is one such golfer who has hired a Sport Psychologist to help regain his putting form and overcome the “yips.”

Harrington’s problem with the “yips” has been well documented…

Harrington entered the PGA Tour in 2005 and won his first PGA Tour tournament at the Honda Classic in a sudden-death playoff. Two months later, Harrington won the Barclays Classic with a spectacular 65-foot eagle putt on the final hole for his second PGA Tour win.

Harrington has five PGA Tour wins including three Major Championships: The Open championship (2007, 2008) and the PGA Championship (2008).

Harrington’s problems started in 2009 when he ended the year win less on the European and PGA Tours. From 2009 to 2013, Harrington missed eight PGA Majors cuts and his issue with the “yips” became profound.

In the 2014 Volvo Golf Championship, he shared the lead going into the final day of play. Harrington proceeded to miss a handful of putts from inside six feet and finished tied for fifth extending his Majors slump that began in 2009.

Harrington summed up his “yips” issues at the Volvo Championships stating, “Like the end of last year, I’m happy with how I’m hitting the golf ball but distraught with how I’m putting.”

Harrington understands the mental nature of the “yips.

“For a good while my short game hasn’t been good enough but my chipping was excellent out of the rough this week. I just need to convert more birdie putts but I’ve been there for a while. I’ll just keep putting away and we’ll get there for sure. There’s nothing particularly wrong. At this stage, it’s a change of attitude and certainly not technique.”

With the help of his Sport Psychologist, Harrington knows how the overcome the “yips,”

“I’ve holed putts in my day and know it’s a question of figuring out how to get a bit more trust and confidence. I’m reading the greens well now and the day I start trusting it, I’ll be okay.”

Keys to Overcome the “Yips”:

  1. You can help your confidence by recalling the times you putted successfully.
  2. You need to trust in your putting stroke instead of over controlling it.
  3. You must let go of the result and focus on execution while putting to maintain a fluid stroke.
  4. You should challenge your fear about failing in order to combat your negative thinking.
  5. You should recall the duration of pre-shot routine when you putted successfully and replicate that routine on a consistent basis.

You can overcome the putting yips, but it requires more work than changing your putter or your grip.

I’m sure you have made lots of changes with your stroke and putter, but have you worked on your mental game?

Contact us if you want to learn about my mental coaching programs for golfers with the yips.

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