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Putting Mentality


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#1 heavy_hitter

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 11:59 AM

Looking for suggestions on what type of mentality someone needs to be a great putter.  My kid is an above average striker of the ball.  On Game Golf he hits on average 68% of Fairways and 68% of greens which are both above tour average.  When he misses fairways it isn't be a lot.  He isn't searching in the woods for balls.  When he misses greens he isn't missing a lot.  He usually fringes 3-5 around.  His scrambling is at 52% which would improve if he could make a putt.  Last tournament he played in he hit 14 greens and shot a 76 because he three putted 4 times all due to distance control.   He practices putting and distance control drills all of time.   I asked him them other day what he was thinking about when putting and he said "Not 3 putting.".  You can't get on the green and think that way and expect to score.  Thoughts?


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#2 Noles

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 12:14 PM

Going through a similar thing right now.  My son keeps turning 76's into 81's with poor putting.  It started a few weeks ago and he can't seem to get out of it.  I can see his frustration build with each 5 footer he misses.

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#3 propredicr

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 12:42 PM

Sounds like GIR definitely not issue.  My boy is 10.   We are working on a different approach to scoring.  He usually putts around 30-31, but, hitting GIR is issue.

To take pressure off having to hit green, I suggested try not hitting green, but, to specific spots to leave short putt distances?  Be on the correct side of the hole, below hole, etc.

Even if 3-5 feet off green, be short for front pin versus on green GIR, with ball 40 feet on back with downhill putt?  

Also, I have him putting to tees, 1" apart to warm up versus 4 1/4" hole to narrow focus.  

Is your boy short or long with judging distances?  Maybe strangling putter grip...need to be more in fingers to gain feel?  

I noticed my boy was pop stroking everything because he feels it gives him better distance control.   I am more a student of metronome-tick-tock, but, since he is putting well I'm not going to mess with it right now.   I don't think popstroke is as effective on bentgrass, though Snedeker may disagree LOL

Edited by propredicr, 26 September 2017 - 12:45 PM.


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#4 leezer99

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 01:19 PM

I have no idea what I'm talking about but I like to believe that putting is 90% imagination and 10% technique.  Very much in line with Bruce Lee... 'Don't think!  Feel!... Don't concentrate on the finger or you'll miss all that heavenly glory'.

https://youtu.be/2d5o8d1kitM?t=1m4s

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#5 heavy_hitter

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 01:20 PM

We have been working on plenty of putting drills.  

His coach cleaned up his set up the other day and got his eyes more over the ball and the ball back in his stance..  It is funny because my boy is very fundamentally sound, though he does have a very unorthodox swing and putting style.  The general fundamentals are there and he swings his swing and putts his putt.  He lines up very closed when hitting shots, especially drives.  When he lines up putts he is very similar to a Nicklaus in that he is open.  Instructor moved his head and feet.  Started making those 4-6 footers again.  Still the confidence is the issues outside of 20 feet.  His typical miss is blowing it by 6-8 feet.  Next putt of any distance usually comes up short.  He definitely does not strangle the putter grip.


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#6 tiger1873

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 01:49 PM

Try doing putting drills  with 10 balls at 6 feet in circle.  If they miss a lot putts perhaps do 3 feet first. The idea is to build confidence that they will make a putt if they can at least get the ball in their circle. The larger they can build the circle the better.  


If there 20 feet the drill should be to get it within that circle.  They then should putt them out and make most of them.  Having them finish there putts on drills really helps with speed.

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#7 leezer99

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 01:56 PM

View Posttiger1873, on 26 September 2017 - 01:49 PM, said:

Try doing putting drills  with 10 balls at 6 feet in circle.  If they miss a lot putts perhaps do 3 feet first. The idea is to build confidence that they will make a putt if they can at least get the ball in their circle. The larger they can build the circle the better.  


If there 20 feet the drill should be to get it within that circle.  They then should putt them out and make most of them.  Having them finish there putts on drills really helps with speed.

I like the getting putts into the 3' putting circle challenge but our circle is usually just under a foot in front of the hole with the rest of the 2+ feet behind the hole.  Definitely don't want to get into the habit of thinking the area short of the hole is acceptable.

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#8 MikekiM

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 02:17 PM

Sounds a lot like my son who dreads putting lately.  Under 12ft he's pretty good, but anything over 20ft and he's starting to fear them.  He'll run some 6ft past, and sometimes leave them 6ft shor leading to 3 putts or more.
Practicing he tends to be really good and more consistent.  He has a great memory so once he figures out a practice green he can putt from anywhere and do well.  The problem for him is on the course when it's a fresh green he hasn't putted on, he's all over the place with it.
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#9 propredicr

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 02:41 PM

Ha! At least he's agressively stroking first putt!  Sounds like his game is tight.   Probably just a little confidence blip.   Don't stress HH!😜

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#10 tiger1873

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 03:21 PM

View Postleezer99, on 26 September 2017 - 01:56 PM, said:

View Posttiger1873, on 26 September 2017 - 01:49 PM, said:

Try doing putting drills  with 10 balls at 6 feet in circle.  If they miss a lot putts perhaps do 3 feet first. The idea is to build confidence that they will make a putt if they can at least get the ball in their circle. The larger they can build the circle the better.  


If there 20 feet the drill should be to get it within that circle.  They then should putt them out and make most of them.  Having them finish there putts on drills really helps with speed.

I like the getting putts into the 3' putting circle challenge but our circle is usually just under a foot in front of the hole with the rest of the 2+ feet behind the hole.  Definitely don't want to get into the habit of thinking the area short of the hole is acceptable.

Every kids is different so it may make sense or may not. What I do  is make a game with points and if they get one in the hole 2 points and 1 point deducted if they come up short of there circle.  If they reach something like 10 points it time to move on.

Also if your circle is less then 3 feet you really need to work on Those short putts first. you also want to set realistic goals too no one is 100% on putts. If I remember correctly 6 foot is where percentages really drop on putts made on tour.

Edited by tiger1873, 26 September 2017 - 07:09 PM.


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#11 Cwebb

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 03:34 PM

Try making the focus....a good roll with really good speed.  Don't try to make it, and certainly don't think about "not 3 putting".

Make your read, then picture a nice roll with very good speed.  That's it

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#12 leezer99

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 09:45 PM

My son's coach has a lot to say about putting but here's one that I thought was interesting.

http://www.golf.com/...ading-new-level

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#13 BNGL

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 03:04 AM

Might be dumb maybe the actual putting isn't the issue. Sounds like he works hard at it and has all the great drills to practice. I had the same issue freshmen year of college, tons of greens lots of score. Hitting it closer consistently obviously will lower scores, but I feel that's something a lot of people overlook when they see great GIR stats. A good stat to keep is GIR with 8 iron and less me then relation to par. I used to think I was a bad putter, but I was hitting wedges to 20 feet plus still counts as GIR but losing strokes. Just an example I went from 74.07 in the fall to 72.34 in the spring just by improving that stat

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#14 8thehardway

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 04:25 AM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 26 September 2017 - 01:20 PM, said:

We have been working on plenty of putting drills.  

His coach cleaned up his set up the other day and got his eyes more over the ball and the ball back in his stance..  It is funny because my boy is very fundamentally sound, though he does have a very unorthodox swing and putting style.  The general fundamentals are there and he swings his swing and putts his putt.  He lines up very closed when hitting shots, especially drives.  When he lines up putts he is very similar to a Nicklaus in that he is open.  Instructor moved his head and feet.  Started making those 4-6 footers again.  Still the confidence is the issues outside of 20 feet.  His typical miss is blowing it by 6-8 feet.  Next putt of any distance usually comes up short.  He definitely does not strangle the putter grip.

Nicklaus said he putted the ball a third of the way to the hole and let it roll the rest and it seems analogous to landing your chip a few places on the green and having it run out to the cup in that focus is concentrated on a portion of the overall distance and the variables are easier to control.
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#15 MathiasAndersen

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 05:33 AM

Allow him to think about something completely different than golf when putting, thinking about not three putting is basically 75% of a three put right there. Its the same as thinking about not missing the fairway right off the tee, it is bound to happen then. Encourage your kid to try to think or imagine different things, could be the target or imagining the ball falling in the hole or similar to change his focus away from negative thoughts and to positive thoughts. All good putters believe that they are good at putting.

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#16 tiger1873

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 07:07 AM

View PostBNGL, on 27 September 2017 - 03:04 AM, said:

Might be dumb maybe the actual putting isn't the issue. Sounds like he works hard at it and has all the great drills to practice. I had the same issue freshmen year of college, tons of greens lots of score. Hitting it closer consistently obviously will lower scores, but I feel that's something a lot of people overlook when they see great GIR stats. A good stat to keep is GIR with 8 iron and less me then relation to par. I used to think I was a bad putter, but I was hitting wedges to 20 feet plus still counts as GIR but losing strokes. Just an example I went from 74.07 in the fall to 72.34 in the spring just by improving that stat

This is very true if your hitting it and having to putt 20 feet plus you have perhaps a 1 in 10 chance of making the putt if your a good putter. The thing is you still should not be making more then 2 putts. The real problem is this makes it hard to make birdie putts and that will reflect in your score.

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#17 tiger1873

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 07:10 AM

The other thing I should add to this is what club is he approaching the green on. If you having to play longer courses and they need to use a hybrid or fairway wood then you may need more distance off the tee and the ability to hit irons.

I always feel like this what makes a lot younger kids numbers look worse then they really are. Once they start hitting longer there score drops a lot.

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#18 heavy_hitter

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:02 AM

The one thing he doesn't need is more drills.  He doesn't need more distance either as he is plenty long enough for a 12 year old.  Generally speaking on a course of 6000 yards the most club he will have into a Par 4 is a 7i.  Occasionally on a bad drive he may have to dip down to a 4i or 5i.  He doesn't even carry a hybrid and opts for a 3i.  Yes, a 12 year old that can hit a 3i.

A lot of good things in this thread that we do talk about.
1.  Have to think your a good putter to believe your a good putter.
2.  If you want to make more birdies then you need to improve your approximatey to the hole.
3.  You need to make sure your chips are within 6 feet.
4.  Try to get him to think about just putting a good roll on the ball.

I think the biggest thing is that he doesn't think he is a good putter.  I believe he is a good putter, but I need him to believe he is a good putter.  We do plenty of drill so that he sees the ball going into the cup to give him confidence.  When we get to the course he kind of stiffens up.  It is similar to the guy that can make 9 of 10 free throws in practice.  He gets to the game and he is a career 50% FT shooter.  It is definitely something upstairs and trying to make a connection with it.

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#19 tiger1873

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:14 AM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2017 - 10:02 AM, said:

The one thing he doesn't need is more drills.  He doesn't need more distance either as he is plenty long enough for a 12 year old.  Generally speaking on a course of 6000 yards the most club he will have into a Par 4 is a 7i.  Occasionally on a bad drive he may have to dip down to a 4i or 5i.  He doesn't even carry a hybrid and opts for a 3i.  Yes, a 12 year old that can hit a 3i.

A lot of good things in this thread that we do talk about.
1.  Have to think your a good putter to believe your a good putter.
2.  If you want to make more birdies then you need to improve your approximatey to the hole.
3.  You need to make sure your chips are within 6 feet.
4.  Try to get him to think about just putting a good roll on the ball.

I think the biggest thing is that he doesn't think he is a good putter.  I believe he is a good putter, but I need him to believe he is a good putter.  We do plenty of drill so that he sees the ball going into the cup to give him confidence.  When we get to the course he kind of stiffens up.  It is similar to the guy that can make 9 of 10 free throws in practice.  He gets to the game and he is a career 50% FT shooter.  It is definitely something upstairs and trying to make a connection with it.

Perhaps you should try him watching movies and reading books at courage and building character. The movie about seve ballesteros is good movie. Other such as Rudy and others are good too if you don't mind watching them.   Kids this age need encouragement. I have been having the same issue with my daughter I have been having her do this and talking about how people win and it is showing results.  

The other thing is perhaps just simply play more golf and hopefully he can beat you and give him a reward. The more they hear that there great at putting the easier it gets for them.  Also you may want to do less drills for a while and not have them worry about missing putts.

Edited by tiger1873, 27 September 2017 - 10:14 AM.


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#20 heavy_hitter

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 11:07 AM

View Posttiger1873, on 27 September 2017 - 10:14 AM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2017 - 10:02 AM, said:

The one thing he doesn't need is more drills.  He doesn't need more distance either as he is plenty long enough for a 12 year old.  Generally speaking on a course of 6000 yards the most club he will have into a Par 4 is a 7i.  Occasionally on a bad drive he may have to dip down to a 4i or 5i.  He doesn't even carry a hybrid and opts for a 3i.  Yes, a 12 year old that can hit a 3i.

A lot of good things in this thread that we do talk about.
1.  Have to think your a good putter to believe your a good putter.
2.  If you want to make more birdies then you need to improve your approximatey to the hole.
3.  You need to make sure your chips are within 6 feet.
4.  Try to get him to think about just putting a good roll on the ball.

I think the biggest thing is that he doesn't think he is a good putter.  I believe he is a good putter, but I need him to believe he is a good putter.  We do plenty of drill so that he sees the ball going into the cup to give him confidence.  When we get to the course he kind of stiffens up.  It is similar to the guy that can make 9 of 10 free throws in practice.  He gets to the game and he is a career 50% FT shooter.  It is definitely something upstairs and trying to make a connection with it.



The other thing is perhaps just simply play more golf and hopefully he can beat you and give him a reward. The more they hear that there great at putting the easier it gets for them.  Also you may want to do less drills for a while and not have them worry about missing putts.

LOL....  I haven't played golf with him in years.  I am horrible.  The only time I play is when we are asked to play in a charity tournament.  As far as play more, we live on a course.  He plays practically every day except Tuesdays when they are closed.  I will go walk 9 holes with my wife to get exercise and he will drive and play.


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#21 Matt J

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 11:20 AM

I'd start practicing on the golf course with two balls.  So play into the green like normal, but then pick up and hit 20 to 35 footers.

Talk through it... is it uphill?  How much is it going to break?  Hit the first putt watch it and then hit the 2nd.  The 2nd should always be excellent.  So how do you start predicting the first one better.  There's a time and place for defensive putting.  Outside of 15 feet he should probably be focused primarily on speed and getting it close.  Utilize your practice rounds to hit long putts from all over the greens.

He's gotta embrace the challenge to improve.


Edited by Matt J, 27 September 2017 - 11:20 AM.


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#22 heavy_hitter

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 12:38 PM

View PostMatt J, on 27 September 2017 - 11:20 AM, said:

I'd start practicing on the golf course with two balls.  So play into the green like normal, but then pick up and hit 20 to 35 footers.

Talk through it... is it uphill?  How much is it going to break?  Hit the first putt watch it and then hit the 2nd.  The 2nd should always be excellent.  So how do you start predicting the first one better.  There's a time and place for defensive putting.  Outside of 15 feet he should probably be focused primarily on speed and getting it close.  Utilize your practice rounds to hit long putts from all over the greens.

He's gotta embrace the challenge to improve.

This is good.  He does embrace that challenge.  He got ticked off the other night and started yelling.  I think he finally realizes that something has to give.

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#23 propredicr

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:04 PM

HH, just had my boy read your #1-4.  We had a good laugh because those are my words, almost verbatim!   You are not alone LOL

My son will practice drills 3-6-9 uphill, downhill, sidehill and then spend the rest of the time doing around-the-world (long putts) with 2 balls (as MattJ also suggested).   It's a fun little game with low pressure, but, to beat your last leave distance.   It's helped reduce 3-putts tremendously.

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#24 Golfingdawg19

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:05 PM

They talked with Adam Scott at the Masters one year while he was watching the kids perform at the Drive Chip and Putt. He was commenting on how he remembered being that young and making everything he looked at. He said that kids have no fear at that age and they aren't littered with all kinds of technical thoughts. The key for kids in my mind is to be confident enough in their putting that they aren't thinking about anything. Just get up their and hit it. If you are thinking of all kinds of technical jargon at 10 years old, then golf isn't fun anymore. Confidence is very important and the other thing is get them to learn how to read greens. Part of the kids not putting good is just not reading the right break. I would worry far more about those two things than anything with the stroke.

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#25 Matt J

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 08:45 PM

View PostGolfingdawg19, on 27 September 2017 - 01:05 PM, said:

They talked with Adam Scott at the Masters one year while he was watching the kids perform at the Drive Chip and Putt. He was commenting on how he remembered being that young and making everything he looked at. He said that kids have no fear at that age and they aren't littered with all kinds of technical thoughts. The key for kids in my mind is to be confident enough in their putting that they aren't thinking about anything. Just get up their and hit it. If you are thinking of all kinds of technical jargon at 10 years old, then golf isn't fun anymore. Confidence is very important and the other thing is get them to learn how to read greens. Part of the kids not putting good is just not reading the right break. I would worry far more about those two things than anything with the stroke.

That's waxing some kind of nostalgia he wants to believe in, and not surprising for a guy who has struggled mightily with the flatstick.

I don't think a lot of tournament players are too technical.  It just matters what technique you focus on and if it works for you.

Adam couldn't tell you how many times he 3 putted in tournament play when he was 12.  He just remembers draining everything.  Selective memory not necessarily better putting.


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#26 Palmetto Golfer

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 09:50 AM

Hey Heavy,

As you said in your previous post, confidence is everything.  if you are not making putts, you lose confidence. If you lose confidence, then you cannot make any putts. It is a vicious cycle. My son has had trouble with distance control before.  Mostly, he would leave them way short.  It was like he was afraid to hit the ball. Here are a couple of ideas I would try and have worked:
  • "If you don't think you can, you are right" this is my favorite quote to use for my boys.  I use it all the time and for any sport they play
  • Roll over a spot. My son started to use this method and it worked well for him.  His main goal when over the ball is to roll the ball over a spot that he has picked out.  This seemed to take out some of the anxiety about 3 putting.  Just focus on rollling it over the spot.
  • Do not focus on the results. You cannot perform if you mind is more concerned about the results rather than what it takes to get good results.
  • Arrogant - yes...he needs to become a little arrogant when a club, esp. the putter, is put in his hands.  This goes back to the confidence thing.  This is just another way to try and get it.  I tell my son all the time before an event that if he doesn't believe that he is the best golfer on the course...then don't get out of the car.  Let's go home.  When you are off the course...lose the arrogance! HA!
You have probably tried one if not all of these.  I know it is frustrating but I do believe this.  He is having a good problem right now.  I believe at his age if all you are worried about is putting then things are going well.  You will not have a birdie putt without a good approach shot and you will not have a good approach shot if you cannot get off the tee.  I was given advice from the father of a web.com tour player.  He said he didn't do it like everyone else. He had his son up to age 13-14 working mostly on his swing.  getting the proper technique. Yes his son lost tournaments do to short game but that all changed when he was 14-15.  He had his swing set and then focused on the short game. Meanwhile, the kids who used to win were still searching for their swing.  At that age, if you are searching for your swing then you are also searching in the woods for your ball!!!

Good luck and let us know how it is going.

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#27 bell70

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 10:29 PM

I'm a collegiate golfer with a stroke average right at 75, I have struggled with mental game my whole career and am currently still battling struggles. The best thing I have found is to talk aloud whenever negativity begins to creep in. I have been saying a phrase over and over as I walk into the ball, as I address, and up until my takeaway. I have seen some very good mental results working on this. The other thing, is allowing yourself to miss putts. Two putting and getting very good from 6 feet and in is key.
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#28 heavy_hitter

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 08:25 AM

We have actually done some really cool stuff.

1.  We made a straight line putting string device with and put beads on it.  He is working on putting stroke and consistency.  Beads are to move on the string to spot the ball for putts of distances you are working on.  
2.  Bought a SKLZ putting mirror to make sure his eyeline is in the appropriate place.
3.  Work on lag putting drills.   Constantly preach that the ball need to go past the hole.  Don't care if it is 8 ft. by, but it needs to go past the hole.  Want him to feel like it is OK to run it by.  Take the fear out of running it by.
4.  Work on Chipping to get better approximatey to the hole.  Constantly preach that the ball need to go past the hole.  Don't care if it is 8 ft. by, but it needs to go past the hole.  Want him to feel like it is OK to run it by.  Take the fear out of running it by.
5.  Work on approximatey to the hole with iron shots.

So far, all seems to slowly be coming together.  Really trying to change his mindset.

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#29 Noles

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 08:58 AM

View PostMatt J, on 27 September 2017 - 11:20 AM, said:

I'd start practicing on the golf course with two balls.  So play into the green like normal, but then pick up and hit 20 to 35 footers.

Talk through it... is it uphill?  How much is it going to break?  Hit the first putt watch it and then hit the 2nd.  The 2nd should always be excellent.  So how do you start predicting the first one better.  There's a time and place for defensive putting.  Outside of 15 feet he should probably be focused primarily on speed and getting it close.  Utilize your practice rounds to hit long putts from all over the greens.

He's gotta embrace the challenge to improve.
This is a really good post.  Definitely going to do this next time we play.

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#30 leezer99

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 12:39 PM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 02 October 2017 - 08:25 AM, said:

We have actually done some really cool stuff.

1.  We made a straight line putting string device with and put beads on it.  He is working on putting stroke and consistency.  Beads are to move on the string to spot the ball for putts of distances you are working on.  
2.  Bought a SKLZ putting mirror to make sure his eyeline is in the appropriate place.
3.  Work on lag putting drills.   Constantly preach that the ball need to go past the hole.  Don't care if it is 8 ft. by, but it needs to go past the hole.  Want him to feel like it is OK to run it by.  Take the fear out of running it by.
4.  Work on Chipping to get better approximatey to the hole.  Constantly preach that the ball need to go past the hole.  Don't care if it is 8 ft. by, but it needs to go past the hole.  Want him to feel like it is OK to run it by.  Take the fear out of running it by.
5.  Work on approximatey to the hole with iron shots.

So far, all seems to slowly be coming together.  Really trying to change his mindset.

HH bringing it again... love this post.  Thinking about how my boy plays this mentality makes a lot of sense.  He can run a putt six feet by the hole and knock the comebacker in no problem but any time he leaves a putt three feet short it's 50/50 on whether or not he makes it.  The old saying 'never up, never in' is really appropriate when you think about it.


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