Putting looks so easy, doesn’t it? You don’t need great strength or flexibility. The hole never moves. The stroke doesn’t require intricate synchronicity and timing of various body parts.
So why do you struggle so mightily on the greens?
You’re probably thinking, “Because I have no touch,” or, “Because I get nervous over the short ones.” Maybe it’s more along the lines of, “I’m terrible on fast greens,” or, “My green-reading skills are lousy.”
Or, could it be that you’re a poor putter because you tell yourself you’re a poor putter?
It certainly doesn’t help.
Negative thinking leads to negative results. It’s that simple. That doesn’t mean your stroke is perfect, or that your feel couldn’t use some work. But you can practice until your hands bleed and if you expect to remain a sub-par putter, that’s what you’ll be.
In fact, there’s no point practicing at all unless you expect it to make a difference. The first step is to decide whether or not you want to be a better putter. Assuming you do, the next step is to ban yourself from all negative self-talk. When that critical inner voice chimes in with a nasty comment, shut it up and shut it out. Then summon a positive thought – “Putting is the easiest part of golf. I’ve made tough putts before and I’ll make more in the future.”
Like anything else, changing your thought patterns takes work and reinforcement. You’ve got a bad habit to break, after all, and not many of us can quit cold turkey.
You need a routine or drill that addresses any technical weaknesses and provides the opportunity to practice positive thinking. For example, let’s say you have trouble making putts in the 3- to 5-foot range. Choose a drill or two designed to fix this common problem; you’ll find five excellent tips on this page.
When you’re conducting the drill on the practice green, each putt presents a chance to think positively. Come up with a single, simple thought – “I will knock this putt right in the center” – and rehearse it each and every time before you pull back the blade.
By approaching practice this way, you’ll essentially kill two birds with one stone: any stroke issues you might have, and your habit of thinking negatively.
Soon, you’ll realize how changing your mindset can change your outcomes.