Is putting a Sport or Game?

Golf is a sport. I don’t believe there is any doubt about that. It requires the same physical abilities and hand eye coordination as other sports, if not more. But golf is different from any other sport in a major way.

When you get closer to the hole, say within about 20 feet, you are no longer playing the sport of golf. Instead you are playing a target game called putting.

Rather than propelling a small ball long distances with a controlled yet powerful golf swing, hoping to hit a general area, you are trying to hit a very small and specific target, at a certain speed, only few feet away. The exact opposite of every full shot you hit.

It takes every bit of someones hand eye coordination to swing the golf club several feet around their body, and then bringing it back to the exact same place they started it at very high speeds. On the other hand, anybody of just average coordination can make an effective putting stroke.

It is when you get into this 20 foot zone around the hole that you need to adjust your mindset. Getting the ball in the hole should be the primary focus, not the technique you use to accomplish the task.

You are now playing a game that requires you to hit the ball on a very specific line to be successful. Add to that the fact the speed must also be correct and you have enough to worry about.

You can’t play any target game well if you are worried about your technique. If you are concerned about your putting stroke, you are probably not putting very well. You should putt from short distances based purely on feel. There is no place for technical thoughts in putting.

Lining yourself up is also more critical. You are shooting at a 4 1/4 inch hole. Don’t be stubborn. Draw 2 big lines on your ball with a Sharpie and line it up on every putt.

Take your time lining it up and be 100% certain it is right. Commit to it and stroke the putt with confidence knowing you are properly lined up. You can then focus on the speed further increasing your chances of making the putt.

There is no recovery from a missed short putt. You just have to add one to your score and hit it again. You can recover from just about any other bad shot that stays in bounds and dry.

When it comes to putting the golf ball in the hole, leave nothing to chance. Remember, once you get to the green you are no longer playing the sport of golf. You are playing target game called putting. There is a difference worth considering.