I’m going to talk about putting again today. It is my new favorite topic. After much research, much fretting, much thought, after talking and putting with my instructor, it comes down to this: I have developed an unfortunate case of the yips.
I recently bought the book “Putting out of Your Mind” by Bob Rotella, then also went to the library and checked out Dave Pelz’s “The Putting Bible” and an intriguing little book called “The Three Degree Putting Solution” by Michael Breed. In addition I checked out another Rotella book. (Rotella’s approach is very similar to the “Inner Game” books by Timothy Gallwey.)
Bottom line? For me, putting is the most difficult part of golf. It is the part of golf that scares me the most. I golfed with a friend yesterday and she said, “the closer to the hole you get the harder it is.” I don’t know if she made that up but it is simple and so true it stings.
We played 18 at an away course, my first time there. I counted 16 putts on the front nine, 23 putts on the back nine. Ouch. The pin placements were ridiculously tricky and I fell apart. My tee and fairway shots weren’t the problem. My approach shots weren’t the problem. My putting was the problem.
What I need to putt well
I need a putter that feels right, a putter that fits, and a putter that looks good to me. I need a steady, consistent stroke that doesn’t yip and most of all, I need the ability to let things flow when I putt under pressure. If I have all of that, my putts will drop.
I am currently using my third putter in three weeks! The funny thing is that years ago my son had a set of junior clubs when he used to go to summer golf camps. I sold his clubs and bag at a garage sale but for reasons unknown had pulled out the putter and kept it all these years.
I am a petite woman, not quite five feet two inches, about the size of an 11 or 12-year-old. I’ll be damned if that junior putter doesn’t fit me. Of all things, it feels right, looks right, is weighted right for my stroke and I am putting better with it. So yes, I switched from my classic Wilson Tour Special I to a too-heavy, Carbite ZH cavity back that I picked up cheap, to my son’s old blade style, heel and toe weighted junior putter – a nameless off-brand.
When I buy a new putter, the latter will definitely be the style of putter I buy. I feel like I’ve found my putting tribe. (I did in fact just order a new Taylormade White Smoke IN-12 in the same style as the nameless junior.)
Grooming me for next year’s championship?
A week or so ago I was finishing a nine-hole practice round on my home course and one of the starters was putting on the green near the pro-shop. He came up to me as I was repeating several putts on the undulating ninth green (it was a slow day) and said Pete Black, my golf instructor, sent him over to check on my putting stroke.
He then went on to say that Pete Black and he want to “groom me” for next year’s club championship. Isn’t that cute?
So I grabbed my golf buggy and headed to the practice green. I set up with my new cross-hand grip and open stance putt (which had been working until yesterday) and let one roll to the farthest flag 40 feet across. The very first putt had absolute perfect speed and dropped.
I know I have the ability to putt well locked inside me somewhere. Years ago when I didn’t know much about golf mechanics, I putt the lights out. It was the strongest part of my game. No matter how many strokes it took me to get to the green, I was confident I could sink a one-putt once I got there.
The more I’ve learned about golf, the worse my putting has gotten.
And now, the yips.
Next year’s championship is a goal for sure, and an attainable one at that. But I’ve got to putt!