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jas80s

The Mental Game in Putting

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Hello all,

How might one go about practicing the mental game of putting (and chipping for that matter)?

One of the problems I have is that my mind when I play and when I practice are not the same at all.  I am not full on "yips" or anything, but during a round, I tend to think more of the scoring implications of a putt and it does lead to some less than solid strikes, particularly on shorter putts.

I go to practice putting, but sometimes I feel like it's time wasted because I can't carry it over to playing since the mental aspect creeps in and changes the dynamic.  Any thoughts on how drills or techniques designed to quiet your mind while putting during a round?

Thanks

Edited by jas80s

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Myself, I find it easier to focus most of my golf concentration during my practices, and not so much when I play. I have two different mind sets when It comes to practicing and playing.

Since my practice purpose is to be ready to play, practice is where I think about golf  things more. There is more time to get involved mentally in golf when practicing. My type of practices do not allow many surprises when playing. 

When, playing, I play with what ever physically I brought to the course that day. I show up relaxed, usually leave the course relaxed. In between I play relaxed. I either played well, or I didn't. There is usually too many different things going on when playing for a score. Both golf, and non golf things. 

My preshot routine starts every stroke. Once the ball is on it's way, I have no thoughts about the next shot until I get to the ball, and see what I need to do.  I even practice my preshot routine, so that it is pretty much automatic when playing. I might discribe this  like when a person drives across town, but cant rember much about the actual drive.

How one might practice their mental game is pretty much an individual thing. A couple of deep breaths before a shot.. Maybe thinking of something pleasent between shots. Being prepared, with no surprises for the next shot. Contrlling one's temper. Knowing you are not worst golfer on the course that day can help one's mental aspects on golf. 

Amateurs are not pga pros. There is really no need for the non professional to put pressure on themselves. 

There are tons of books out on the mental game. Even more info available on the internet. 

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For me it boils down to thinking about the putt going in.  Too often I will think about the right, or left, edge and roll the ball over one or the other.  My new mantra is "hit the stick".

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Putting practice is no different than range practice. Make it more like playing.

Divide practice into block and random work. Work on form and technique repetitively then practice like you play. 

I use a 20 putt in a row from 3’ drill to add pressure to the block time. I “must” make 20 putts in a row. Then I move back to making 6’ putts. 

For random practice don’t hit the same putt 2x in a row, mix distances, play against par or someone else. Make the putt matter. I will drop a putt, decide if it is a should make (under 8’), would like to make (8-15’), might make (16-30’) or could make. That gives the putt more of the game feel for me.

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12 hours ago, jas80s said:

I am not full on "yips" or anything, but during a round, I tend to think more of the scoring implications of a putt and it does lead to some less than solid strikes, particularly on shorter putts.

This could be an issue. Risk aversion is a thing.

You may benefit from being lost in the process of a routine. Practice a routine, use a routine during play, just focus on the process.

I am not sure when your thoughts are coming forward that causes your issues, but maybe changing things up and doing what Tiger does would help,

People really can't multi-task, so diverting away from "This is for a birdie!" to "Ok, next up in my routine is this." might be beneficial.

 

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Its difficult to do, but Ive found the best way around that is simply to not GAF if you miss the putt or make it... If you do, GREAT! if you dont, oh well..get the next one. 

You can also try this.  Go through you're usual routine before a putt, take a few glances at the line you want you ball to start on, then find focus hard on something on the ball ( a piece of dirt, number, a dimple..anything) and dont take your eye off of it until the ball is gone. The idea is that you're consciously focusing on the your point on the ball and not the stroke or anything else. 

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I always try to follow my pre-shot routine.  Keeps my mind focused on task at hand.  IMO.

 

I also like to preface by saying in shoot in mid 80's, so I am not a pro but ain't no slacker either.  

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Where I used to mentally practice putting back in the day.

Image result for Athens lunatic Asylum

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The mental part of putting is where you can improve your scores most of......

ack, I can't say it with a straight face......

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For me, my biggest problem can be to lose focus on distance and think about the line or my setup when I'm ready to putt. When that happens, my speed is often off. 

Which is why I've worked on my reading, lining up and trusting my read when I'm over the ball. If I stand there and the line or setup feels wrong, I should do it over again so I can focus on the speed when hitting it.

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