It’s not really a new trend, but it seems to be gathering even more steam on the PGA Tour – I’m talking the use of putting gurus.
We used to constantly hear about the swing gurus – Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, David Leadbetter, and many others. Now, especially with young players getting wins and passing out credit, we’re hearing more about putting gurus.
It started with Dave Pelz being the primary pseudo-celebrity teacher concentrating on putting and the short game, but it’s spreading. Instructors Stan Utley and Dave Stockton’s advice is hotly sought after these days and even less obvious names such as Ian Baker-Finch due to the resurgence of Lee Westwood.
So why all the hubbub? Mainly because we are seeing players rise in World Rankings in proportion to their improvement on the greens. So, here are a few helpful tips based on my personal experience and those from one of golf’s best putters and instructors — Dave Stockton.
When reading a green, look around at the topography surrounding the hole. Greens can be misleading but if you look at the surrounding slopes you’ll usually learn that they prevail. For example – if you look back toward the tee and it’s elevated, there’s a good chance the green will play uphill when putting back toward the tee. Please note this isn’t always true and course architects are a tricky bunch, but this has saved me many strokes.
Don’t try to make the putt. Sounds odd, but the psychology of this tip makes a lot of sense. Dave Stockton uses the analogy of trying to copy your own signature exactly. If you try hard, it actually looks worse. But if you don’t think about it and do it quickly, you come close. Putting is the same way. Don’t put so much pressure on making it.
You’ve already made the putt. No, I mean it. Visualize it going in so convincingly that you are literally shocked if it doesn’t fall. Ever look at the faces of Tour Players when they miss a putt? They are honestly surprised. Ever putt after someone has given you the putt? Goes in often doesn’t it.? Make a note of that attitude.
Even though these are just three out of hundreds of possible putting tips, you can lower your scores. Try them and also pick up Golf With A Purpose. Really improve and track your success.