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Pressure Putts for Birdie


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I agree with 'a putt is a putt', often it's more satisfying to save par with a 10-footer after a smartly played bunker shot rather than a 5-foot birdie. That said, you don't have to slow down your round to putt consistently and make birdies / par. Step one is to not 'hurry to your ball', but to get to your ball deliberately, taking in the overall slope of the green / length / location of drain areas & bunkers, etc (anything that will effect your putt). I often find I play better if I'm walking, I can get a feel for the slope better as I walk up the fairway to my ball than if I ride in a cart.

If you are putting for birdie, most likely you're closer than your partner(s) balls. Take the time they are using to get ready to chip to walk around to the other side (after marking your ball). When you are going to putt, walk to your ball, if it's a long putt, stop halfway or divide it into thirds and take a look at it as 2 10-footers, not one 20-footer. You can then see what the 'end of the putt' will do, ie - break hard right as it's dying or don't go past the cup then it won't stop. This tells you how aggressive you can be (ok, the part about being aggressive will most likely do more to stop the 3-putts than to make more birdies, but that's very important, too). Anyway, calmly line up your putt, then have an 'efficient' routine, doesn't have to be quick, just the same routine because each putt counts as one stroke.
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My concern is that while I want to sink more birdie putts, I don't wish to fall behind pace either. I dislike having the foursome of golfers behind us breathing down my neck -- which adds even more stress to an already stressful situation.

Every putt has the same value. It is one stroke. Why would you spend more time lining up and thinking about a 10 foot birdie putt than a 10 foot bogey putt?

Birdies have to be viewed in the context of a whole round. It's no fun walking off the course and saying "I had a bad round, but had three birdies." Respect all putts and have a routine that does not vary. I can honestly say that I have never wanted a 15 foot birdie putt to drop more than a 15 foot bogey putt. There is no reason to treat birdie putts differently. If you do, it's a geat way to miss them, I'd say.
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If you are putting for birdie, most likely you're closer than your partner(s) balls.

Where is the logic behind this comment? The proximity iof the ball to the hole has nothing at all to do with having a birdie putt. If anything, it would be the opposite in most foursomes.

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Maybe this bit of advice may help... I was told years ago that if you get nervous over a birdie putt and you will feel like a moron if you miss it, why would you even bother to hit it close? When I was told this it made all the sense in the world to me...

Now on putting, I do not take to long "reading" a putt. The main thing I look for is the break point into the hole, if I can find that then I try to get it there to that point, that is all. And I find myself to be a very good putter...
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Every putt has the same value. It is one stroke. Why would you spend more time lining up and thinking about a 10 foot birdie putt than a 10 foot bogey putt?

I like to think of long bogey (or worse) putts as "saving bogey" (or "saving double") to keep myself in the habit of feeling some pressure, even on putts when a hole feel like a lost cause. You're right, a stroke is a stroke, but it always feels good to put a circle on the score card. At least, it did that one time it happened a couple months ago...

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Thanks for all the advice, guys. I do have a preshot putting routine... but sometimes I neglect it if I'm under time pressure. I'll have to stick to my routine, no matter what the putt is for. It will, however, be hard to resist the urge to take more time on a birdie, or maybe even an eagle, putt. While you say 'a putt is a putt is a putt' -- at my handicap level, having several birdies on my scorecard would give me all sorts of confidence... regardless of the 90 as a total score.
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Several respondents have said essentially that it's about the stroke, not the result. I agree. All you can do is get a good read and make a good stroke. Whether that makes the ball go in the hole is not up to you (or me).

I strongly believe that being in control of your mind as the putter comes into the ball is what allows the skills you have to be used to their fullest. Part of your putting practice should be training your mind to treat every putt the same, and not letting it to drift off into thinking any other thought. Every putt you hit on the practice green has to be hit with your fullest concentration on what you're doing.
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Note: This thread is 3881 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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