There has been a great deal of emphasis put on the physical aspects of putting. There are long putters and short putters, putters with fat grips and putters with high tech club faces that look like space ships. There are putting aids sold in magazines and television, ranging from the practical to the bizarre. There are instructional videos and books galore on the subject of swing mechanics.
But one look at a professional golfer in action tells you that swing mechanics and high tech putters don’t guarantee good results. That is because putting is so outcome oriented, and that projected outcome inevitably lies in the future. A golfer cannot have his mind in the future and experience the same sense of touch and feel that he could experience if his mind were in the present.
Legendary golfer Harry Vardon once noticed that when he played late in the day and the light faded, his putting actually improved. The reason his putting improved under these adverse conditions is that the less he relied on his vision, the more he relied on his sense of feel as the ball left the putter face. Also, since he could not clearly see the cup, he was not as focused on his target, which was in the future. His diminished vision enabled him to stay present and as a result he had a heightened sense of feel. “Putting to nowhere” allowed him to reach the somewhere he desired.
Here is a drill to help keep yourself in the present and “feel” your putts.
Situate yourself about ten to fifteen feet from the cup. Try a few putts from that distance to get a sense of your swing. Now, try a few putts from that same distance with your eyes closed! Since your visual orientation is gone, you are left with only your sense of feel and touch. Feel how far the ball goes. Open your eyes to check your results. Try it at various distances. Without a visible target you end up “putting to nowhere”, but the resulting improvement in “feel” allows you a better sense of speed and distance.
This is a great way to improve your putting game.
Excerpt from “The Now Golfer: The Psychology of Better Golf”, by Dr. Preston Waddington and Don Lay. Available for purchase at www.nowgolfer.com