The Golf Book: Green Cathedral Dreams
0 8 mins 2 yrs

I wanted to share my putting problems in the hope that it may provide some insight for other golfers in the same boat. Putting is proving to be the most consistently prevalent problem aspect of my game. Putting problems: An examination of the evidence. I can have a solid putting performance where I have around 26 to 28 putts. The next day, however, can see me three-putt a number of greens and finish with 33 to 34 putts. I feel like my stroke and strike is solid, but my read is incorrect for speed and line. The putter is proving to be the most frustrating club in my bag.

What Are My Putting Expectations?

Playing off single figures I want to be making putts when I hit it close. I definitely want to be making all those putts within 4 to 5 feet. If I am hitting greens in regulation pars are the bottom line and birdies are expected bonuses. There are putts that I consider are putts I should make. Leaving the ball below the hole and within 6 to 10 feet I have a feeling that I should make these putts. When I don’t it does mess with my equability during the round. If I miss makeable putts early in my round it pisses me off.

Unpacking Those Putting Problems

If I am hitting the golf ball well and not making putts it becomes a frustrating game. Especially if I am playing with golfers making putts in my four-ball. It is like watching Adam Scott, who seems to miss a lot of makeable putts. Putting soon becomes the most important part of the game. Not making putts is like doing a whole lot of work and not getting paid for it. Putting is the pay off for playing good golf. The closer you get to the hole in golf the more important it is that you don’t miss your target. Putting seems like the easiest stroke to make in golf, and it is, but the consequences weigh far more heavily too. Making a few unlikely putts can turn an ordinary round into something special on the scoreboard.

Choosing a Putter

I always look twice at a beginner who plays with a cheap, crappy putter. The one club in the bag that you use twice as many times during a round as the next most employed needs to be the best you can afford. If you count up all your strokes during a round of golf and allocate which clubs, you utilised, you will find the putter stands out by miles. If you understand that getting that little white ball into the hole is the most important part of the game, you won’t stint on your putter. Choosing a putter is the prime selection demanded by the game of golf. Finding a putter that suits your putting is integral to optimising your putting performance.

Putting With a Blade or Mallet?

The thing I have found, however, is that different styles of putters suit varying types of putts. Largely, there are two distinct styles of putters, blades and mallets. The blade has a smaller head, whereas the mallet places more mass behind the ball. In my experience, I prefer a blade when I have a short putt nearer the hole. I enjoy the mallet strike on longer putts. How a putter sets up to a putt is another important aspect. On my course, and on many courses, I suspect, many putts are not flat putts. We are putting on wicked slopes and this impacts how different types of putters address the golf ball on the green.  The steeply downhill putt with a mallet is easily knocked far past with all that mass behind the ball. Similarly, a steeply uphill putt can be impacted by the shape of your putter head. If your mallet putter has a long deep head, it affects how you set up to the putt and the consequent line that you take. I have, actually, thought about carrying two different putters in my bag. In the end, however, I am looking for a happy medium in my choice of putter.

There are so many different putters available, and I have some 6 or 7 I regularly rotate through my bag looking for the putter to best serve my interests. I have, also, committed to a single putter for months and years in my search for the best result on the greens. I have a couple of Scotty Cameron’s, a couple of Taylor Made Spiders, and several other mallets and blades. I have recently tried the arm lock putting style and had one of my putters converted to this style of putter by my club pro. I again found it great for some putts but not others on steep slopes, so I have put it away for another day. I have just invested in a new centre-shafted putter to see if this better suits my putting. The shaft length of your putter influences your putting performance as well. Ensuring that you have the ideal length for your height and body shape is important. Spend some time with a PGA professional to ascertain the best type of putter for you.

I have had a number of putting lessons with PGA teaching professionals to ensure that I am on the right track with my putting. I, also, use the putting mirror device to keep my strike solid during practice. Putting is something that we need to practice often with drills to encourage our good putting performances. The touring pros probably spend more time practicing their putting than any other part of their game. It is easy to get down on yourself about your putting, I know from experience. The thing about putting is that it can turn around quickly. Putting performances are linked to our confidence levels. Thus, having a repeatable putting process becomes very important. A pre-putt routine and a recognisable set up are essential components to the putting process. I played with a good golfer the other day and she had a very distinct set up that she employed on every putt. She didn’t make every putt, but she made a lot of clutch putts, and her commitment on every putt was impressive to watch. I am endeavouring to find something similar that suits my own game for my putting process.

The thing about golf is the more you dig down into the different elements of the game you find a lot of nuance to consider. My brother told me the other day that scientists had found that golf is more challenging for the human brain than chess. I can believe it, for although chess is mentally demanding strategically, golf swings must be made with more parts of the body in addition to strategically golfing your ball around the course. Putting has been described as a game within a game; and it continues to challenge and defeat me on a regular basis. I am not giving up, however, I am taking up the challenge to become the best putter I can be.

Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of The Golf Book: Green Cathedral Dreams, which is available on Amazon.

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