By Paul Myers
When you think about improving your putting, your mind likely goes toward thoughts of changing your mechanics or even buying a new putter. But have you ever thought about using an improved mental approach to make more putts? The mental side of the game might be more important on the putting green than anywhere else on the golf course. If you can put yourself in the right frame of mind prior to hitting each putt, you can count on more and more of them starting to fall in.
To sharpen your mental game on the putting green, use the three simple tips below.
Tip #1 – It’s About the Roll, Not the Result
It is easy to look at putting as black and white – either the ball falls in the hole, or it doesn’t. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. If you only judge your putting performance by the outcome of the putt, you will be missing the point. Sometimes, you will hit good putts and they will miss the hole. Other times, you will hit poor putts and they will find a way to fall in. Due to factors like bumps in the green and grain in the grass, the process of making a putt is not completely within your control. All you can do is get a good read and make a good stroke. After that, you are left to simply watch and hope it falls in. If you can accept the fact that you are only in control of the stroke, and not the outcome, your mind will be in a better place prior to each stroke.
Tip #2 – Perfect is Impossible
Next time you get the chance, watch at least part of a golf tournament on TV. The players you see playing on television on Saturday and Sunday afternoons are the best players in the world. While you will see plenty of great shots, you will see some poor ones as well – including plenty of missed putts. There is no such thing as perfect in golf, and that certainly applies to the putting portion of the game. Many players struggle with the mental side of their putting because they are trying to be perfect. It would be great to make every putt, but that is an impossible goal. Accept the reality that you will always miss putts from time to time, and you will free your mind up to make a quality stroke and live with the result.
Tip #3 – Patience is Key
Patience is one of the most important skills for a golfer to possess. There are bound to be ups and downs within any round of golf, and the player who can maintain a level head throughout the day is the one who will usually come out on top. Where patience comes into play on the putting green is in terms of avoiding three putts. When you lose your patience, you will naturally start to hit your putts harder, leaving you longer second putts as a result. By holding your patience in check for all 18 holes, you can limit your number of three putt greens.