Causes and Cures: Missing Short Putts (aka “the Yips”) Video
For now look at how you miss those short putts so short putt, let’s say less than six feet. If it's more than six feet, you're not necessarily expecting to get the ball in. it would be nice but don’t expect it but six feet down to a tap-in putt, we should be getting a majority of these into the hole and if that's not happening, you've got to question why it's happening. For a lot of people it happens more often than it should and those people often describe themselves as having the yips. The yips is a term that's used to sort of describe these initial putts on a regular basis. Now why is that happening? For a couple of issues. Maybe you're decelerating your putter. You make a nice backswing and then slow the club down. Maybe your backswing is actually too long in the first place. Therefore, you feel you have to slow the club down. Otherwise, you'd knock it too far and as you slow the club down, the club had twists slightly, aims left or aims right so shorten the backswing and accelerate through. So on these short putts try and feel that your backswing and follow through is at least 50/50 if not one-third back, two-thirds through so you physically accelerate into the ball to keep the club online. As you're accelerating into the ball and keeping the club online, make sure that you're not doing that by flicking your wrists so we don’t want to see this, short backswing, long follow through. Isn't that what you told me to do, Pete Short backswing, long follow through. But that's all about the wrists. We want to actually use the forearms, rock and push, rock and push so I’m not breaking my left wrist here. That would cause me problems.
The other area that I would give you concern for is actually sort of looking up to see whether the ball went in particularly on these short ones where you're desperate to get the ball in from three feet. You give it a quick glance, maybe even reach to pick the ball out before it goes into the hole and as you move your body, obviously that upsets the rocking action of the putter. So we want to make sure that we’re back through listening for the ball to go in but not hitting and trying to reach for it straight away.
One other area that you've got to be careful of is steering the ball into the hole. Sometimes on these short ones it looks so easy. We just guide the ball in there and the arms and the hands wander off trying to steer it away particularly if this ball has any break or curve to it. We often see golfers that when there’s a little bit of a curve on the putt, let’s say I’m aiming for this tee peg here, but if I want to aim outside the right for it to curve into the tee peg because it's got break, it's important that I make a stroke that's effectively a straight putt to my point and then it would curve in. What I don’t want to do is try and turn my putter, try and draw the ball round itself. All I can do is hit the ball on a straight line and then it would curve so make sure that your follow through isn't trying to steer the ball either way into the hole. Every putt you hit is straight. You just aim in different directions so you're not trying to alter that. If you can get your stroke really solid, back through, not rocking, not flicking, not decelerating and not steering, that should really well help you improve those tricky three to six footers and avoid the yips.