By Dean Sklar, PGA Professional
Too many golfers believe that if they start the round putting well, then their confidence will grow. This is a myth. You should start your round with confidence so you immediately start to hole short putts on the first green. It’s imperative you are confident from the beginning and absolutely certain you will not miss a short putt, otherwise allowing a build-up of disappointment and frustration from the outset can lead to a loss of concentration and poor play.
Have you ever played a round and suddenly found yourself holing everything under the sun and before you know it you feel like you just can’t miss? You have an inner belief that you will sink every putt. You hole a good putt early on and this builds momentum. The hole seems like a bucket and you just can’t miss. Your confidence is sky high. Unfortunately, this putting success is often short lived and typically only lasts for one round. How do you go about recreating that putting streak and confidence?
It’s crazy to think having positive thoughts will turn you into a confident player. It is not enough to simply hole a few putts on the practice green before you go out to play. You need to earn that confidence, so that it is ingrained into your mind and body, leaving you no doubt that you can hole a putt wherever you are playing, whoever you are playing with, and with whatever is at stake. There are reasons for spending time on the practice green minutes prior to teeing off, but they should not be confused with trying to instill a sense of confidence in you before your round.
It might be a hard pill to swallow, but there really are no shortcuts to building the confidence you need to putt successfully. You need to focus on your target, not your stroke. If you improve your putting stroke, your putting will naturally improve.
Golf manufacturers try to sell the latest putting gadget, telling the golfer they will hole more putts with an improved putter. Falling for this means the golfer misses the point that putting is a target orientated activity.
Like throwing a ball, putting is a reaction to a target not a mechanical action. When tossing a ball to someone, you do not concern yourself with the mechanics of how far you pull your arm back, you simply let your subconscious take care of this. Putting is exactly the same — you have to focus on your target. Too many golfers get caught up in analysis whereby they concentrate on too many mechanical details and miss the big picture.
If you catch yourself thinking too much about your putting stroke, pick up your ball and throw it. As you do this, focus entirely on your elbow and see how that works out for you. Probably not well. This is why you should not get confused with the technicalities of your putting stroke, such as watching the putter head. Focus on your target and not your stroke.
PGA Professional Dean Sklar is a member of the Quarter Century Club of the PGA of America, an elite group of members who have served the PGA with honor and pride for 25 years. If you would like to talk to Dean about your golf game, contact him at Dean.Sklar@FloridaMoves.com or the Rose and Dean Sklar Real Estate Group at Coldwell Banker, 1760 Bell Tower Lane in Weston, 954-389-6197, or online at www.WestonFloridaUSA.com.