When you get started with golf it’s easy to overlook the importance of putting. As a new golfer, many of us would admit to being fixated with driving like a pro, before the lesson of the game’s balance sinks in.
Putting makes up a major part of the game- if you can’t roll that rock into the hole, it doesn’t really matter how far you can drive it. Some people will never learn to make the huge drives, though everyone can improve. If you’re less of a physical player making more of the putting game will more than make up for a shorter drive.
Putting is, like many aspects of golf, a mind game. You always need to make sure you stay calm, clear and collected when you take a shot but there’s a certain aspect of putting that can throw the confidence of a pro, if you don’t watch out for it.
The ball and the hole are constant, but it doesn’t always feel like that. It can sometimes feel tiny or big enough to swallow you. If you can keep these feelings in check you will find putting a lot easier to achieve. Some people will feel good about the times where the hole seems huge, but only if the ball goes in! Keeping in mind the constant relationship between the ball and the hole and you’ll avoid many of the mental traumas that come from putting.
There have been many developments in putter technology in recent years but I’ve learned the lesson not to be dazzled by all the shiny new equipment. Yes, there are improvements to a person’s game that come with new clubs but those improvements are far from free! You’d be better off working on your skills, most of the time at least.
Beginners in particular need to find their individual putting style before lapping up the tempting new tech. Don’t fall foul of the affliction where every missed shot is blamed on your tools. Realize that equipment improvements are incremental too. Of course, there’s a psychological benefit to new equipment, when you believe that something will help, but that often fades the first time you miss!
Equipment manufacturers probably hate it when golfers realize they don’t need a new putter constantly but imagine how much improvement you could generate spending that money on lessons or a training program instead. Not that I’m suggesting using a battered old putter from the early days of golf- trust me golf’s an expensive enough hobby, without caving in to gear lust!
Another important putting lesson comes from picking the right putter, one which feels right and suits your style; this will also reduce the need to buy new equipment constantly. Remember that long putters (AKA broomstick putters) will reduce wrist action for stability, but they also tend to be less accurate at longer distances. The better you can control your nerves, the less likely you are to need a long putter. As I said- Golf’s a mind game!