Pro Tips :: Making More Birdie
Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.
You think you are a good putter.
You make your share of par and bogey putts, but for some reason
you don't make as many putts for birdie. Why is it that players
make more par and bogey putts than the same putts for birdie?
This problem plagues many golfers. If this sounds like you,
you are guilty of ďlabelingĒ your putts. By labeling, I mean
you always know what the putt is for-bogey, par, or birdie.
This process of labeling your putts limits your performance.
It is very difficult for many
players to not know what they are putting for. This causes you
to focus more intensely on some putts. There is a mindset that
you itís OK if you donít make the putt for birdie because you
still can make par. A putt is a putt is a putt, no matter what
you are putting for. The task is still the same--to hit a small
round ball into a hole. Players need to learn how to dedicate
the same focus and intention to every putt. You want to try
to make everything, despite the putt's meaning.
When a player hits the green
in regulation he says, "I can two-putt and still make par."
This is unproductive thinking. The player lacks the intense
focus needed to make putts. Often the player thinks letís not
be stupid and three-putt. Every putt has the same probability
of being made, whatever its outcome. How often do you notice
that you were concentrating well on par and bogey putts, but
when you had a birdie or eagle putt, you just wanted to get
it close? Do you handcuff yourself with this type of thinking?
This causes players to become score conscious.
The key is to treat each putt
and just that-another putt. When conscious of what the putt
is for, you are focusing on outcome and not the task. When you
focus on the outcome, this leads to tension or thinking about
your score for the hole. You make putts by focusing on what
you need to do to make the putt, not what you are putting for.
Get a good read, see your line, get a feel for the speed and
believe that you can make it. Forget about what the putt is
for-that doesnít help you make it. Think about hitting your
line with the right speed. If you can do this you will make
more birdie putts. Remember that a putt is a putt and all putts
can be made, despite what the putt is for.
Note: Parts of this article were
selected from The Mental Art of Putting: A Guide to a One-Putt
Mindset by Patrick J. Cohn and Robert Winters.
Courtesy of http://www.peaksports.com/