Putting with confidence tends to be a transient commodity in the life of a golfer. You go out one day and your putting just feels right, you see the line almost as if somebody has painted it on the green for you and you just know instinctively how to stroke the putt so as to achieve the perfect distance. On those days, you feel so confident in your putting it’s as if you own the greens. You just keep hearing that great rattle of the ball falling over the edge right into the centre of the cup.
But on other days that putting feel becomes elusive. You don’t think you are doing anything different, but you just cannot find a way to putt with confidence. You circle the cup and look from every angle and yet no matter how long you take you can’t see the line from ball to hole. It’s as if the line is jumping all around and you can’t get a feel for the speed either. You’re off a foot or so to the right, and then the left and you’re leaving the ball three feet short or sending those putts way past the hole. The harder you look the less you see the line. The harder you try the less feel you have for the distance.
And then there are other days when you putt with confidence whenever the ball is within ten feet of the hole, but you’re miles off line when your ball lies further away. And of course there are days when it works the other way around.
I had one of those days when I played this week. Even when my ball was thirty or more feet away from the pin, I could see the line clearly. It was just there. It stood out like a beacon. And I just knew how to stroke the putt and end up within eighteen inches of that hole. It was easy; it just happened. And each time I saw my ball at the opposite side of the green from the pin I knew I could putt with confidence.
But I missed a couple of those short eighteen inch putts. How can that happen? Talk about frustration! I’m pretty good at mental golf and I can let go of those mistakes within a few seconds and move on to the next shot. I’m luck y in that way. (Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I have worked pretty hard to put myself in the position to be lucky like that!)
I learned something really big when I analyzed this experience; a few hours later, I hasten to add. It’s not a good idea to do that synopsis right in the middle of your tournament. That would be distracting and lead to a whole lot more frustration on the golf course and the putting green.
You know what I learned? It’s going to sound really simple, but I can promise you that the effect is absolutely HUGE when you are talking about putting with confidence. When I thought back to my pre putting routine on those short putts, the only reason why I didn’t putt with confidence was that I didn’t take the time to see that line with my third eye. Yeah, I saw it with two eyes, but I didn’t take the time to wait until my third eye saw it too.
I looked at the line, saw it and then stroked the putt. I didn’t complete my routine. I didn’t visualize the putt rolling all of the way to the hole and tumbling over the centre of the cup. I didn’t wait to see and hear that beautiful sound in my mind’s eye before I took that putt. And so I didn’t get lucky.
But as I say I learned a lot. I had a great reminder that you need to stick to your same routine and allow your third eye to focus clearly before you take any putt at all, be it three inches or thirty feet. Without doing that you are never going to putt with confidence.
Roseanna Leaton, avid golfer and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the golferwithin golf mind training system.
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