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SHORTGAME2013

Build your confidence on long putts!

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When I was golfing the other day, I observed two patterns (hint: look for patterns by marking down where your putts end up). When I took multiple practice swings while looking at the cup, I lagged them all just past withing tap in range! I'm not going to lie, I'm strarting to believe in strategy. I left one putt short that round. Not bad! All others were just long or in. That's great! Remember, your body is allowed to make mistakes. Billy Casper allowed 7 bad swings per round. That's lots of leeway, depending on your definition of "bad shots." I expect them, so that when they come (and they ALWAYS come), I'm not incredibly surprised or upset. I'm in charge, and while that wasn't a great moment, it was only ONE moment. I'm back in charge of the next shot. The other thing I noticed had to do with the mental game of noticing thoughts. I realized one putt where doubt/fear/something causing hesitation crept in. It was minor, but I missed that putt. I should have taken another moment or stepped away, telling myself with a solid mental voice, "YOU WILL RULE THIS PUTT!" We, ironically, get scared we'll run it by and THAT IS A MISTAKE! It causes us to make a weak stroke, which will often cause a miss! Outside of 7 feet (where pros only make 50% of putts), it's time to rewire expectations. I’m guessing you expect make everything. That’s great, if you can hold the expectation lightly. The roller coaster doesn’t help, so my recommendation is this: set your goal to be at worst a tap in coming back at the hole from the low side, having rolled it by on the high side. The high side is the key, as the ball always has a chance to drop in. The idea is to bring AS STRONG AND REALISTIC as possible, a VISUAL in your mind of the hole. If it’s, say, 30 feet away, try to see it vividly in your mind as you look at your ball. Try visualizing a number of different angles (from behind, same view as when you looked at the hole, with a semi-circle behind the hole, etc., until you find the proper visual that works for you). I have heard this a thousand times, the idea about this big circle 50 feet away that has a 3-foot radius around the hole. I used this for years, but my putts were often short (I finally realized). Can I be so bold as to propose an amendment? Here's my thought about long putts: Putts over 20 feet should only be 1 foot short but can be up to 3 feet long. You'll always make the comeback putt if you're long so it's really just more of a oblong shape with most of the space represented after the hole. Try this: go hit 10 putts at 30-40 feet. See how long it takes you to develop something of a feel (I bet it's less then 10 minutes) for that putt. You'll be amazed at your skill developed, and you'll have more confidence with the idea that you are now trying to roll putts just by. Lagging may be necessary on slippery putts or super long ones, but just try this. I'm betting on (and toasting to) your success!
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I try to make everything. I hate the mentality of getting the ball to a circle. Given, I'm not getting my hopes up if the ball goes in. but if the ball is on the green, I don't read putts thinking, "Ok 3 foot circle time". I read putts to go in the hole.

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I try to make everything. I hate the mentality of getting the ball to a circle. Given, I'm not getting my hopes up if the ball goes in. but if the ball is on the green, I don't read putts thinking, "Ok 3 foot circle time". I read putts to go in the hole.

I like it! We're all trying to make putts. Some people have difficulty seeing the hole on long putts, so visualization can help. My idea is to try to make sure we're erring long if we happen to miss. I like the concept of giving it a chance, and a frame of reference like the circle can help some people try to enlarge their target because, let's face it, while we always want the make, we never want a three-putt. My goal here is to try to help some people improve, and some people may wish to try this method. It's not for everyone. Thanks!

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I always liked the quote, "aim small miss small" I get lagging, I guess it's how comfortable you are. For me I putt to try to get everything to die at the hole. How are people going to learn the difference in feel for putts if they have a 3 foot circle, that's a 6 foot possible error in distance, or by area 287 times the size of the hole.
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I always liked the quote, "aim small miss small"

Agree 100%.

I try to die everything into the hole, I do occasionally come up short but I get a lot more tap ins than I get I get 5' come-backers.

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Aim to finish at the hole? Where else would make sense?

The 3 foot circle, for me, is the yardstick (literally!) by which a lag putt can be judged.

I get the point about looking for putts to finish past the hole - but I think that is a strategy for already good putters. IMO, a poor putter, from 30 feet or more, has hit a better putt if it finishes 1 foot short compared to 2 feet long. Everyone has a distribution of errors. The person who practices 1 foot short and up to 2 feet long, is going to miss some putts 2 or 3 feet short, and 4 or 6 feet long.

From lag distance, I'd be happy with a pattern of misses perfectly centred around the hole.

I'd work long and hard on making the misses smaller, and I'd want 3 putts to happen only extremely rarely, before I started worrying about getting most putts past the hole.

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