I was practicing the other night on my putting green at home and after spending a good thirty minutes doing so I just couldn’t get comfortable. At the time I didn’t think much of it but the feeling never went away and an hour into my session I had evolved into a completely frustrated individual that really hated what was taking place.
Putting has been so up and down for me over the past several years I feel like I’m on a never ending roller coaster ride. I’ll find a technique that works, for a while, and then I have to revamp and find something different to try out when that theory tanks it. I’ve gone from shorter to longer shafts, mallets to blades, center shafted to hosel shafted, skinny grip to fat grip and back, standard grip to Tigers grip, insert to milled. You name it, I’ve tried it and no matter what I seem to try my putting stats continue to be consistently in the 32-36 putts per round range.
The uneasy and aggravated feeling that left me searching for answers, that obviously I wasn’t going to be able to answer myself, led me to pick up the phone and ask Wade for some help.
You’ve heard me spout off time and time again how much Wade has helped me through the swing change I’m currently going through; well when it came to putting his knowledge of the golf swing came shinning through once again.
In short (like that’s possible with me) I had been approaching my putting from a poor perspective. I was fine when it came to picking my line and placing the ball on that line with the alignment aide on the ball, but after that things went steeply downhill for me.
First off I was very quick to stand over the ball and make the stroke, not taking enough time to fully analyze the putt. Wade walked me through a new pre-shot routine that takes place after I have the ball aimed on the correct line. It starts and ends with one thought, speed. This wasn’t something new to me, Bill (who you have heard me talk about a lot when it comes to putting is a great putter) has worked with me a lot trying to get a consistent stroke from my putting game. Wade’s approach has a little bit different tweak to it though and from the onset I really liked it.
After we were done getting that pre-shot routine locked in I began to talk to Wade about one of my biggest issues when it comes to putting and that’s my takeaway. Smooth is not something you would hear when describing my takeaway on putts, a crack head on a caffeine high is a much more fitting description. My takeaway motion is something that’s more relevant to creating a stunning display in Japanese Sand Garden then making a good path at the ball. Wade’s assessment was this; I was spending too much time over the ball and that was allowing my mind to take over and over think technique versus hitting the ball.
He had a very simple fix for it too. Now what I’m doing is standing over the ball in my address position and after I take my last look at the hole to gauge the speed, I start my back swing as my eyes are returning to the ball from the cup or target point. I’m no longer in a fixed position standing over the ball with nothing happening. The results have been off the charts good.
I went to one of the local courses the other day and putted for a good two hours. An hour would have sufficed but I was putting so well I didn’t want to stop.
Another drill that Wade suggested I try was to spend some time putting with just my right hand. We all have seen Tiger doing this drill week after week during his warm-ups before a round; I’ve never fully understood it until I saw the benefits for myself by actually doing it. Getting my left hand out of the way has really helped with a more consistent strike of the ball. The putts are starting more on the intended line and with more focus in speed I’m getting some consistency that I have never seen before.
It’s real early in the adaptation of this new way of putting but I’ve been at it for 4 days now and I’ve never felt more confident and more stable in my mental approach to knocking in those putts that in previous months would have sent a shiver down my spine.
I have three rounds coming up next week so this new approach is going to get some time put in, if it’s anything close to how the practice sessions have gone I’m going to be one happy camper!