By Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen, PGA
2014 PGA National Teacher of the Year
With the Masters in April, golf is officially on its way for everyone! It’s now that we start to think about past winners, as well as what it takes for the winner to bring the ‘Green Jacket’ home. One major factor, common to most winners, is their putting and their ability to adapt to each unique situation more skillfully than the rest of the lineup. But what is it about putting, and how can we improve our skills to develop a better outcome? Here are some suggestions to help you sink the golf ball in the hole in fewer strokes for Golf Results Now!
Over-Read More Putts!
What do I mean by that? Time and time again, many won’t trust their instincts about the reality of the break. If you find your putts slanting early and never quite making it; perhaps try something different next time, like over-reading the putt. This will help your confidence and speed, and the results may surprise you.
‘Commit to the Hit’
Needing more distance on your putts? Most often when the putt is short, we tend to decelerate the motion at impact. This is what I call the ‘caution area’ or ‘yellow light’. The stroke is slowing down when contact is made. No matter what size your putting stroke is, the contact of the ball should be your faster part of the stroke; the ‘Green Light-GO’, not the caution light. Commit to the hit (or stroke) and confidence will rise again.
Aiming is rather simple. First; where is your target? The target might not necessarily be the hole. What do you want to go to your target? Hopefully you said, ‘The golf ball’! What is hitting the golf ball? The putter! So aim the lines or aiming points from your putter to help the ball go to your target. Not once, is the ‘body’ associated with the aiming. Rather; the target + the golf ball + putter = correct aim. Your shoulders should be somewhat parallel to the ball line, not aiming at the target. Always remember the golf ball goes to the target, not the body.
Controlling the speed of the golf ball is vital and a player should adapt to different surroundings daily with every shot– including putting. If you understand speed, aim is also easier to maintain. Speed is susceptible to many factors, requiring several calculations: types of grass and soil, maintenance of the grass, and slope or contour. Then there is the player, their type of stroke and speed of their individual clubface. Our brilliant minds are prepped and ready to calculate everything before we pull the trigger of the stroke and make contact with the ball. Find your calculation by trying a tossing drill.
Before you walk onto a practice putting area, take 3-5 golf balls and toss them, under handed, with your bare hands (no club used at this point). Toss a couple to a specific target. How was your toss? What size arm swing did you use? Was your back stroke shorter than your forward motion? What was the pattern of the distance of the golf balls – short or long? How was the direction? With the remaining golf balls, do something different from the previous tosses and try to improve your results. This should give you some valuable feedback on what speed, direction, how much break, and even technique. Learn from the results and keep practicing for amazing Golf Results Now!