A Ten-Step Guide to Making More Putts
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
“I just tried to play one shot at a time and have fun. It sounds so cliché; they tell you this all the time; to go have fun, but that’s really what I’m doing.”
That was part of Lilia Vu’s comments after her win at the recent Honda LPGA Thailand. She closed with a final round 64 on the Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course.
We all know how finicky and difficult golf can be. To be able to play to our full potential, we must control our emotions. To play at a higher level and do better than we usually do, you must do more. It takes a mindset that is focused only on the positive. You must get rid of the negative thoughts that are trying to creep in.
I preach constantly to my students the importance of building routines — as they practice, prepare for events, get ready to hit shots and, especially, as they prepare to putt.
Positive thoughts are an important part of any routine. You must not only visualize the outcome but also believe it will happen.
There’s no place more important than on the putting green for that idea. Mindset and positive thinking are the secrets to champions on professional tours like Vu.
Here’s a great ten-step solution to try the next time you’re out playing or practicing:
Pay attention to the balls reaction as you hit your approach or pitch onto the green. You can watch it roll until it stops.
You can view your putt from either the down-the line view or from behind the ball towards the hole. The line that your ball will follow to the hole is what you are trying to find. Imagine the ball hitting the ground.
After taking a look at the line down, begin to circle the hole counterclockwise. As you hit the 3 o’clock position, stop and look carefully at the line from that angle. Imagine the ball hitting the ground.
Continue your trip to the 12 o’clock position, or the opposite side of the hole from your ball. Examine the area. Imagine the ball entering.
Continue to the 9 o’clock position. Examine the information. Imagine the ball entering.
Once you are back at your ball, take a look down the line. Next, place your aim line (or use markings on your ball or draw your own with a pencil) at the apex of the line you have chosen. Visualize the ball coming in.
You should practice 2-3 strokes behind the ball, and on your line. You want to practice strokes that are similar to the one required to get the ball. InThe hole. Imagine the ball entering.
You can only visualize the ball moving as you practice your strokes. In hole.
As you get set over the ball to stroke your putt, say to yourself three times, “I am going to putt this putt. I am going to make this putt. I am going to make this putt.”
Then, stroke the putt. Before you look, wait for the putts to go in.
Although there are many steps to this suggested routine you should not spend more than two minutes on each step.
As Lilia Vu said, and it sounds cliché, but the difference between those that find success in golf and those that do not is the idea of being positive and enjoying what you are doing.
Vu won her first round on Sunday with 21 putts. In her post-round conference, Vu stated that she had a new outlook and a better mindset.
Lilia, you have accomplished your mission!