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:: Pro Tips :: Making More Birdie Putts

Making More Birdie Putts
by 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/

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