Here’s the key to making putts: wake up in the morning, brush your Teeth, and head to the course. Boom, one-putts!
If only it were that simple. But let’s spend a little more time in-depth about what this teeth/putting deal is all about.
When do you last remember thinking about brushing your teeth in the morning? Not just the act of cleaning your teeth, but the entire process from the moment you walk into the bathroom to the moment the toothbrush goes back into the medicine cabinet. Well, it probably has not been recently. We wake up, maybe grab a glass of water or juice, and head for a shower. From there, it’s the usual getting dressed, comb the hair, brush the teeth, etc. Sound about right? Well here’s the great news, you have a morning routine! This is a perfect first-step on the way to becoming a better and more consistent putter.
The putting routine is an important one, and should be kept simple. Getting to the point where the routine is so easy, that you do not even have to think about it, is the goal. The rationale behind this is that your putting routine will be so engrained, trusted, and positive, that you’ll be able to make putts on any stage. The pros talk often about handling pressure, and it’s a big part about the robot-like behavior on the course. When there is a specific plan on the green for putting, then your focus centers on holing the putt instead of any distraction.
The video above with Dave Stockton is a favorite. Stockton believes he will make every putt he looks at, and there’s a comforting vibe that comes with listening to his approach. What an amazing time we live in to be able to have advice from the greats at our fingertips! From Stockton to many other pros, YouTube will bring up hours of PGA/LPGA Tour player videos talking about putting. The routine is a central point with the pros, and it’s fun to listen to them explain the simplicity of putting.
So what about this routine you have? For teeth, it’s more or less flossing, brushing, rinsing, mouth-wash. A good flavor of floss first thing in the morning, zig-zag this carefully between the teeth with focus on the gums, brushing the teeth with bristle-attention to the gums, rinse, mouth-wash for a minute and we’re good to go. Specific, easy, repeatable, and a good quality habit. Putting is just this simple too.
Let’s think about your current putting routine for a moment (if there is one?). We’ve all watched fellow golfers chase quickly after a poor putt, stand up after a putt, slap the club at the ball in frustration, and have so much tension that it’s more like a hit versus a roll of the ball. So what would you look like on YouTube if there were a collection of your most recent putts? Would you have different wild movements in each clip, or would you have a similar style that you could be proud of? We’re after the latter.
It can be something as simple as this: mark and clean your ball, take a look at the break from behind the ball, address the ball, one look back to the hole and roll. Some players like to pace off the putt, and some like to take a look behind the hole too. It can be the plumb bob or just picking out a spot on your line to roll the ball. The point is that the routine will be yours alone. With this in-place, your next steps will be getting this into your memory where it just becomes second nature…or regular routine like brushing your teeth. In the video below, Davis Love III is shown with his simple and effective approach to holing a putt.
The LPGA and PGA Tour players are a blast to watch perform on the greens. Take a close look at what they’re doing next time you watch a tournament on television. What do they look like? Words like calm, still, fluid, robotic, confident, purpose, will start to come to mind. They take pride in what they are doing, and they believe in what they are doing. Somewhere along the way they’ve made a lot of putts with a routine, and it engrains even more confidence in what they’ve developed. With practice on your better quality putting style and making more putts over time, you’ll be on your way into a new world on the greens. From there, you’ll have your putting-self you can be proud of, and can start to piece together visuals from the pros to help you get even better.
Let’s plan to look on putting as a life-long journey of learning and discovery of how good we can really be on the greens. We’ll already know (because of our plan) that we’re on the right track, and that our putting will continue to get better each year.
Cover Photo via Flickr