Tag Archives: handicap

Watch the Roll, Not the Hole — Putting Tips

Watch the Roll and not the Hole
Watch the Roll and not the Hole


Sometimes your mechanics may be in tuned and you may need that extra bit of confidence or missing piece to help make your putting stroke that much more effective.

Been trying this little drill with a bit more success.  Pick a point along the path you want your ball to take and ensure your head rotates as you swing moves along that line.  At least for me I noticed my stroke was a bit more confident and on-line.  I don’t manipulate the head of my putter.  Instead the head stays on track.  I guess my eyes do manipulate my hands; hence my putter head.


Give it a try if you’re having the putting yips like myself.  And kiss your 3 putts good-bye.

Leave All Excuses at the Door — Problem Solving your Golf Game

IMG_3542aHow can you feel as if you played so poorly yet still manage to score respectively?  And other times thought you played well only to score poorly.  It’s a conundrum or is it?

The proof is in the score.  At the end of the round, it’s all that really matters if you want to improve your game.  It’s the single, perhaps most important piece of feedback you can ever get from a round of golf.  Swings can come and go, but your score for the round is the ultimate evaluation of your game.

Finding out how you did after the round sometimes isn’t an option.  You need to band-aid fix that game of yours pronto.  It’s obvious if you track your progress during your round.  But as a weekend hacker I have always been plagued with how?

I have used my Swiss cheese of a memory, I have listened to my playing partners remarks about my game but nothing really is consistent compared to taking notes while you play your round.  My salvation is keeping a separate score card and logging in some simple notes on each hole.

Looking at my poor excuse of a scorecard, I always focus on Fairways hit, Greens-in-Regulation (GIR) and Putts.  Hit the fairway; check.  Miss the fairway — no check.  Hit the green; check.  Miss the green — no check.  And finally how many putts per hole.  It’s been my experience that off the tee box hitting a fairway is important but not as important as the other two items.  For me, GIR and Putts tell me if I am scrambling to save par or just making bad decisions around the course.golf-clubs-at-sunset

I can struggle off the tee box.  I can miss the green on my approach shot but if I can just chip/pitch and putt, I do play better.  Often I catch myself in the middle of my round, just like the other day, trying to match a better player shot for shot.  I can’t.  I have to play my game and that is I am comfortable making shots inside 100 yards.  As a part time golfer you need to have a fallback position.  My goal is to make it so close that I can play to my strength.  On the green just get my first putt close enough to sink my second putt.  When all else fails go back to your strengths.  Your game will improve with each success.

The other day I am playing with a golfer that can pound the ball down the fairway.  I guess I wanted to keep up with him.  Soon I am knocking my ball in all directions — army golf — left and right.  After a double bogey and a few bogies I had to refocus my efforts.  I looked at my scorecard/notes.  What I was doing was not getting the job done.  So I did just that.  I tried to get the ball inside 100 yards; get on the green and two-putt.  After a shaky par the following hole I managed to par the rest of way back to the club house.  No birdies but I salvaged what could have been a disastrous round.

If I were a typical golfer I could blame my equipment, the golf ball, nature, the pace of play.  My point is I didn’t.  I knew it was operator error and not some equipment malfunction and that left no excuses just an obvious solution — play to my game.

I know some players often complain about the pace of play messing with their game.  I should know I used to be one of those players.  But leave those excuses at the door if you want to truly find the root of your problem and provide a solution.

Golf: Breaking it down to it’s simplest terms.

It’s all about score.

It’s just that simple.  Why complicate an already complicated game?  You can have the worst swing, the worst ball flight, wear hand-me-downs and look like you walked out of a homeless shelter but if you can score, how can anyone fault you on style points?  You played better than they did.

I hear excuses like, “The Greens were terrible,” or “I just couldn’t get my game together because the pace of play was so slow,” and so on.  They are what they are — excuses.  Why is it that some players have rotten days yet still manage to come in with a respectable score?  Are they just luckier?  Perhaps.  Perhaps, not.

I prefer the later.  Sure having an excuse is a great cop-out.  But does it really serve any purpose other than to smooth over your bruised ego?  Personally I would much rather figure out why I messed up and perhaps, just perhaps should the occasion rear its ugly head again I may just have an answer.

You have heard it all before.  Golf coaches stress the importance of a short game.  Rely on your putting.  But why?  Is there something they aren’t telling you?  How about I break it down this way.

It may seem obvious to you but to me this was a revelation that was 20 years too late.

A par 4 for example is a tee shot, an approach shot and two putts.  That is what it’s supposed to be theoretically.  A par 5 similarly is a tee shot, a fairway shot, an approach and two putts. Finally a par 3 is simply an approach with two putts.

Now that is all well and good if you hit every green and make every putt.  But what if you miss the green on your approach?  Then you throw in an extra stroke for every hole you miss your green.  What if you make a single putt instead and make up the difference?  How do you do that?  The obvious answer, “hit the ball so close to the hole you just one putt or chip/pitch it in.”

The math of this is simple.  There are 18 holes on a golf course.  There are usually 10 par 4 , 4 par 5 and 4 par 3 holes per golf course with a par 72.  Putts alone equal 51% of your game.  Add your approach shot and that becomes 69% of your game.

Hole Type 3 % 4 % 5 % Importance Par
Qty 4 10 4 72
Tee Shot 1 33% 1 25% 1 20% 26%
Fairway 0% 0% 1 20% 4%
Approach 0% 1 25% 1 20% 18%
Put 2 67% 2 50% 2 40% 51%

Sure your tee shot is important but only with respect to par 3’s.  And it gets worse if you miss the green on your approach shot.

Hole Type 3 4 5
Score 4 % 5 % 6 % Importance Par
Qty 4 10 4 90
Tee Shot 1 25% 1 20% 1 17% 20%
Fairway 0% 0% 1 17% 4%
Approach 0% 1 20% 1 17% 15%
Chip 1 25% 1 20% 1 17% 20%
Put 2 50% 2 40% 2 33% 41%

Putting and chipping would account for 61% of my game.  If that wasn’t a wake up call I don’t know what is.  Add your approach shot and it jumps to a whopping 76%.  That is a HUGE part of your game.  Doing the math, I saw where I needed to concentrate.  And specifically where to concentrate.   Chips and putts — that was the key with approach shots being my second area to focus.  The next question was how the devil do I do that?  Keep track of your score but also track your Fairways hit, greens-in-regulation, and putts.  Keep your data collection simple so you can determine at a glance where your shortcomings arise.

One-putting, not impossible just difficult to do consistently.  Chipping it close, sample problem just different location and it’s easier to putt a ball you manage to chip close to a hole.

Now when I practice whenever I do, I know it’s tempting to pull out the driver but now I focus on hitting shots certain distances.  Why?  I know I will encounter those type of shots in my game (like a 75 yard pitch with my wedge).  Now standing over a ball I have the confidence to say to myself you have this shot.  You can hit it and this is what the ball will do when it lands.  If I miss it, so what.  Just recover.

The question then became how to score instead of making a perfect shot.  It took a lot of pressure off of me and instead allowed me to focus on the task at hand — saving par.  So what if I hit a ball poorly so long as I managed to get the ball on the green or so what if I hit the wrong line on my putt so long as I was close on my second putt to save par or bogey.  Now after a boatload of practicing chipping and putting I can honestly say I feel comfortable around the greens.  I focus on where I want my ball to be and execute.  If I miss then re-evaluate and execute.

The next time you hear one of those favorite excuses just remember what you could have done or rather should have done.  Just leave no excuses out there on the golf course.  You either executed what you wanted done or you didn’t.