Did You Change Your Putter to Beat The Yips?

Overcoming Golf Yips

Over-Controlling Your Putts

Golf can test your nerves and composure…

Do you fear missing easy putts or three-putting a hole when playing under pressure?

Thoughts about outcome and missing can cause muscle tension leading some golfers to hold the putter with a death grip…

In the yips cycle, fear leads to over control.

Over control leads to tension, which causes jerky movements in your putting stroke.

Many golfers turned to belly putters and broomstick putters in an attempt to manage their putting anxiety.

Now with the PGA Tour banning anchored putters (effective in 2016), many golfers fear the yips will return.

Johnny Miller, winner of the 1976 British Open, had difficulty dealing with the yips during his career and switched to using a long-putter. Miller described what it is like to have the yips.

MILLER: “When the putter went off like a firecracker in your hands and you knocked a 10 footer eight feet past the hole or left it four feet short… You lose all sense of how hard to hit the putt. Finally, the putter bolts away from the ball and then forward with an uncontrollable jerk. Your mind leaves your body, as though you’re in a movie watching somebody hold the putter for you.”

Many golfers have experimented with anchored putters to free themselves from the grips of nerves and overcome the yips.

Notable golfers, such as Ernie Els and Adam Scott turned to the long or belly putter in order to overcome their putting nerves.

Changing putters can lead to temporary relief and in some cases complete relief–a la Bernard Langer. When you change putters, you have not missed any putts with the new putter…

Golfers use several strategies to focus on the present moment instead of worrying about missing a putt:

  • Repeating a cue phrase (“Smooth stroke’)
  • Focusing on the hole instead of the stroke
  • Adopting a preshot routine
  • Focusing on breathing to reduce tension
  • Practicing putting with eyes closed

In fact, Miller painted a dab of red fingernail polish on the grip of his putter to direct his focus away from the ball, the putter head and the fear of missing.

The most effective, long-term approach to overcoming with yips is to learn how to cope with the fear and tension about results

Staying focused on the steps in your routine can help improve your putting routine and improve your overall golf game.

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