photo credit: Fidelio García

Last week was the annual playing of the Gillespie Invitational. This was an anniversary of sorts for me since it marked my return to competitive golf a year ago. This year I struck the ball pretty well but putted terribly. Both days, I found myself very uncomfortable with the flat stick.

After a five minute conversation with my coach a few days later, I relearned a fundamental truth to consistent good putting. Focus on hitting good putts. Simple! I know! But I had been puting the emphasis on making putts for par or birdie etc… instead of on the execution of good putts.

This week I read the following post from Randell Mell’s chat with Morris Pickens. He is the sport psych to Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson, and Lucas Glover. I believe it will help you to grasp this putting axiom as much as it did me. (The day after my tournament I shot 64. Man, did this tweak of thought process make a huge difference.)

..A lot of people, every putt is for a result. The closer you get to the hole, the more you get score conscious. This putt is for a birdie, or to get up and down, or to get the lead. We try to take the putting “for” something out of it. Whether it’s a five footer for eagle or a five footer for double bogey, it’s still the same putt. That way you can make them all the same. It becomes a physical putt, not an emotional putt. The more you can make putting a physical act rather than an emotional act, the more you can make them all the same…

I have also included the link if you’d like to read the full article. Randall Mell post

I have also found we love to put emphasis on the results in life too. We are taught that each action we take is for something.

Closing a sale… Acing a test… Nailing an interview…

Why do we make these actions so emotional? We know what to do, we have trained, studied, learned, and mastered many of the things that we become anxious about. It is just a matter of physical acts which produce desired outcomes. Be free. Loosen the chains of restraint. No longer will the proximity of reaching our goals cause the pressure of execution to mount. We already know the outcome because we’ve prepared. The putts go in, we close the sale, we pass the test, we get the girl. Why? Because we’ve already won.