Great putters have more than a good putting stroke. Great putters have confidence, imagination, touch, and human intuition. Nothing is more important in putting than knowing you can make putts. Everyone thinks confidence is the key to great putting, but how do you develop putting confidence? This issue of Peak Performance Golf Insights reveals how to improve putting confidence and develop a one-putt mindset.
Self-Confidence is a state of mind that says “I can do this.” Confidence must be earned and it doesn’t just happen overnight. Confidence is based on experience such as practice. It’s hard to be confident in your putting if you haven’t at least made putts on the practice green. Confidence also comes from making putts, putting practice, and a positive attitude. Here are six keys to boosting your putting confidence.
1. Pay Your Dues
Confidence comes from practice and knowing that you can do it. That’s why you practice–so you feel confident when it’s time to play. If you practice putting the right way, you should feel like you earned the right to be confident. Always remember you have “paid the dues” when you start to doubt your putting ability.
2. Change Your Goal
How do you judge your success on the greens? Most players have to make putts to feel successful and feel confident they can putt. This is especially true if their main goal is to make putts. It’s better to find a goal that you can control. If your goal is to “make it,” then you must learn to accept that you will miss putts! It’s easier to feel successful when your goal is to hit your line, have good speed, or hit a solid putt.
3. Choose Your Words
If you miss a short putt for par, do you call yourself all kinds of names and promise to buy a new putter after the round? It’s not your putter that’s the problem, it’s how you talk to yourself that is self-defeating. It’s important to make sure your self-talk is positive and supportive instead of negative and destructive. Sooner or later, you will begin to believe you can’t make putts if you keep telling yourself that you are not a good putter.
4. Practice to Make Putts
Practice is important to improving confidence, but it’s how you practice that is critical to transferring your confidence to the course. Don’t just practice to hit putts. Practice with the intention of making putts, just like you would on the golf course. Use your full putting routine-read the putt, see a line, and aim your putter-just like you do on the course. This type of practice will help you transfer what you learn to the course faster.
5. Begin with Success
A practice routine before you tee off is another source of confidence for many players. Many amateurs neglect this important step to gaining confidence. It’s an excellent time to tune-up your touch and feel for the green. Good players use a warm up to get a feel of hitting the ball solidly, to tune-up their touch, and create success pictures in their minds. As part of their warm up before going to the first tee, many pros make a few short putts in a row. This helps them gain confidence by seeing, hearing, and feeling putts fall before going to the first tee. It instills success pictures before that day’s game.
6. Make Good Decisions
Every good putter begins his or her stroke with a consistent mental and physical putting routine. A routine should help you (1) lock your mind into execution and nothing else, (2) trust your decisions and stroke, and (3) feel confident before you hit it. Make good decisions in your routine, such as when you read a green, pick a line, aim, and set-up. This should help reduce doubt and feed your confidence level so you can make a confident stroke. Finally, believe you have what it takes to make putts!