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What is it (mental) that causes one to blow easy birdie putts?


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I'm at a stage where I'm just starting to get GIRs and/or birdie opportunities (inside 3.5 feet) more regularly.

-- the really vexing thing is when I get a GIR or birdie opportunity, my putting suddenly goes south and I blow it.

Today's mistake: I didn't pre-think the hole at all -- I figured if I took too long about the putt, I'd blow it, so I forgot to take into account that I needed to aim for the top half of the cup because of the pitch of the green. Instead I aimed for the middle, and it went one ball width low for a tap-in par.

I was too birdie hungry and forgot a vital step.

Is this a pretty common barrier one has to hurdle at this stage?
What is it (mental) that causes one to blow easy birdie putts? What was your way of overcoming this hurdle if you faced it?

Made a sick 9 ft banana putt on the next hole, all instinct green reading. But where was that when the easy 3 footer was there?


(I'm starting to read Rotella, and I guess I gotta read on.]
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Survival instincts release adrenalin which tightens your muscles and cuts of your feel. Also, without a pre-shot routine, the situation can make you skip things you would normally do.

So, you need to not care. I do this by humming a happy go lucky song from the minute I start preparing to play. Something like I've Got The World On a String or Luck Be A Lady Tonight. Also, whenever I have a particularly important shot, I use say the following phrases:

I've just got an easy 7 (as in 7 iron)
I've just got a routine 4 footer
Just pop this one down the middle

Phrases like this help me settle into my normal routing instead of doing something 'special' for a particular shot.
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1) When you practice putting, putt as though ever putt is a birdie putt
a) and when you are playing an putting for birdie pertend that it is a practice putt.
2) have a pre-putt routine
3) go back to basics
a) grip and pressure
b) posture
c) distance from ball
d) tempo
e) practice straight putts
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The pressure/stress is causing you to tense up and its causing you to not make as smooth of a putting stroke as you normally would.
In time you will get used to it and will be able to relax, even on birdie or eagle putts.
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  • 12 years later...

Great replies. I have the same issue. I'm a total choker especially since good  Birdy opportunities are rare. I hit the greatest shot of my life today around a tree from 140 out to 3ft from the cup. I took a practice stroke, humming a tune, then putted. In my downswing I suddenly decelerated and pushed it to the right. I was afraid to hit the ball too hard. 

Again great advice thanks!

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