Dec
07

Make the most of Your Putting Skill in Every Sense

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Strangely for someone who promotes the benefits of Unconscious Golf, I’ve always been fascinated with golfing statistics, especially about my putting! One thing I always seemed to notice was that I played better in certain forms of golf than others, especially with particular partners in foursome and fourball golf.

Well, I always seemed to putt better when I had a playing partner, so I’ll set aside 2-ball match play and stroke play for the moment. Now that I come to think about it, I generally seemed to putt better when I had a partner than when I was just playing for myself.

So why did I putt better with certain partners than I did with others? Well I fairly certain that I putted better when I played with a confident partner who I trusted to read my putts for me. The odd thing is that the partner I remember putting best with was not in my league in terms of handicap. He just seemed to read greens instinctively and he was certainly a good putter. He knew my putting style and trusted my judgement of distance, so he simply told me where to aim and I holed the putts – far more than my fair share.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone like that caddying for you now, I hear you say? Well, you already do, if you are prepared to trust the unconscious green reading instincts you already have. The good news is that I’ve addressed the unconscious aspects of green reading in the final golf hypnosis session in my “Own the Putting Green” programme.

Is that all we can do for putting? What about the power of the conscious mind? If I’m playing a full shot, I have lots conscious tools to help me. I can use yardage charts, GPS systems, laser rangefinders and even the 150 yard posts to help me judge distance. I can even calibrate my hitting distances with each club using devices like Trackman. In addition, there’s often contour information for the greens on the course planner to help me plan where best to land my approach shots.

All of those things, combined with the information we pick up through our senses and experience, help us to plan our full shots consciously in our pre-shot routines. The problem is that we are largely left alone with senses and judgement when it comes to putting. The only alternative to trusting your instinctive green reading skills seems to employ the services of a really good caddy or play with a partner you can trust!

Well that’s what I thought up until I went on an AimPoint green reading clinic recently!

The AimPoint Green Reading Clinic

The clinic was organised by my old friend and putting coach, Jason Gilroy of Gilroy’s Golf, and run by Europe’s senior AimPoint instructor, Jamie Donaldson. I’ll leave it to them to tell you all about AimPoint, other than to say that I started out very sceptical and came away as a convert.

What surprised me about the course was that it was much more intuitive and a lot simpler than I expected. What delighted me was that I learned something very important about my own field.

I talk a lot in my work about the importance of using and extending all of our sensory inputs – sight, hearing, feelings, smells and tastes. When I talk about visualisation, I really mean imagination and we can imagine more than just pictures. In fact many of us are more comfortable recalling and imagining internal and external feelings and sounds than pictures.

As a golfer, I was used to thinking about the feeling of every part of the body in my swing – apart from my feet. That all changed when Jamie started talking about walking around the green and sensing changes in slope with my feet. He was getting us to “look” for inflection points so we could detect break directions. You’ll have to go on the AimPoint Fundamentals clinic to understand the relevance of that information and a lot more besides.

All I know is that it reminded me of all the valuable input we have from all our senses and how we can easily “read” the subtlest change of slope on a green just by walking around on it.

Comments

  1. Andrew Fogg says:

    AimPoint and Geoff Mangum

    I was talking recently about AimPoint to one of my professional clients. Although he shared a lot of my enthusiasm, he warned me about a very negative article about AimPoint on Geoff Mangum’s PuttingZone Blog.

    Here’s my response:

    Yes, I have read the article and you’re not raining on my parade. I took it into account, with a pinch of salt, as I often do with Geoff’s articles, in deciding whether to go on the AimPoint Seminar. On balance it seemed worth a look.

    I’m sure that Geoff Mangum is right, to some degree, about the exact science and the aspects of feel, varying slope, etc. So I will take note of your warning. However, golf in general and putting in particular are not an exact science. So does it matter if AimPoint is scientifically incorrect if it has the potential to make people putt more confidently and possibly more accurately and consistently.

    I’m still at the learning stage and taking small steps, so I haven’t decided if the whole AimPoint idea works for me. However, the first small steps show great promise. That’s why I’ve been writing about it.

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