Better Putting in the Now
By Charles Hopkins
Published 05/18/2006 | Sports
For many of us the fun filled days of mini-putting as kids has turned into painful frustration as adults on the golf course. One hole we can drop a twenty foot putt across a major break on the green, on the next hole that three foot putt eludes us.
The biggest problem in putting is not the breaks in the green or the distance from the hole, it is your mind.
The solution to better putting is not in focus or concentration; it's in your ability to "let go" of needing to sink that putt.
The Letting Go Solution:
In a sparring situation a highly trained martial artist will strategize the best way to get in on an opponent, not unlike a golf player setting up for a good approach to the green. But when the time comes to strike that martial artist lets go of thought and allows her skill, ingrained in her body over years of training, to take over.
How does this help on the putting green?
All modern martial arts derived from Shaolin Kung fu. Shaolin Kung Fu was designed simply as a tool to strengthen the body and use it as a tool to train the mind to live in this moment right now. Shaolin Kung Fu moves are a meditation-in-motion.
Better Putting as a meditation-in-motion:
When standing in front of a putt, stop thinking and trust in your body's natural intelligence. Empty you mind of the last hole, the shots leading up to this putt, your scorecard, and most importantly release your mind from the want to sink that putt.
When your mind takes over it puts stress on the body and tension ensues. When putting you want to have good form but also a natural fluidity of movement. Not sharp, sporadic strokes that stress can cause.
5 Steps to Better Putting:
1: Judge the distance between the ball and the hole.
2: Bend down to look for breaks in the green and hills or slopes toward the hole. Just allow your eyes to pass over the green without judgement. It is what it is.
3: Step up to the ball, practice swing your putter until your body tells you the speed you need to strike the ball; until it just feels right. Trust it.
4: Release your mind from the process by taking a deep breath.
5: Take one last look toward the hole and putt away.
6: Whether your ball goes in or not, maintain the meditation as long as you can. This gives your body a chance to learn from the putt. Too often we get excited, either that the ball is going into the hole or it is not, and our body and mind tense and impede sensory learning from that putt.
Will you sink every putt? Not likely. But this process will make you a better putter. The most difficult thing is to release your mind from the outcome. When you do your natural bodily intelligence with adjust accordingly and set you up to sink the next putt.
Putting is more sensory, tactile, than any other stroke in golf. It requires pin-point accuracy where the slightest miscue in stroke can send the ball awry.
When the mind puts stress on the body--to make the putt--the body tenses and does not get an accurate feel of what went wrong, or right, and does not learn.
Bottom Line: Take the mind out of equation and watch those putts drop!