Just a hair off...

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By Hotsauce

  • 22 Replies
  1. Hotsauce

    Georgetown MA

    Hi TT, I recently played in a match and lost. It's frustrating to hit a lot of fairways and greens but all your putts just miss by a hair. Putting is generally the guiding light of my game, and this past voyage-and-a-half it was an unwanted anchor. I had to give my opponent 8 dots so I came into the day knowing I needed birdies. It was a big match on a slow playing day too, and I tend to lose focus when the game gets too deliberate. I chalked it up to thinking too much, or trying too hard, and moved on.

    Well today in my league it was déjà vu. Fairway, green, and a well hit putt trundling in, tracking right on line; it starts to lose speed at the hole and...a ringer to the right. Next hole, scappy little chip to 4 feet and a lip out left. The third time was not a charm- it was a 360*. I just couldn't buy a putt. I'm not superstitious, but I even went so far as to change balls (still a ProV- don't panic) after the 3rd lipout and that didn't even help. The first 4 putts caught the hole without dropping. I only got one to fall in the nine-2 in the last 27. I am emotionally scared by the memories of that unholy ball diving away from the darkness at the last moment.

    After finishing up work I've been drilling 5-7 footers all day in my office. If that first putt on my next round teases me like these past 27 holes I might just take up tennis.

    How about you TT? Do you have any cure for the 'almosts'

  2. CoolBreeze

    Sudbury, MA

    Putting is very emotional, personal, and confidence. You cannot let that get you down. Personally, I wouldn't go out and practice 5-7 footers to make me think that I am "practicing putting". First off, keep it simple and stay confident as there will be days like this and you will break through. Do not think of a "line" when putting, rather think that it is a path to get the ball rolling on. You can see that it would be more difficult to walk a tight rope that walking on the sidewalk. The path to the hole is 4 1/4 inches wide and depending on the speed of the ball rolling, that path can be larger or smaller. If the ball is rolling faster, the hole would be smaller as you would have to be more precise on alignment, aim, and path. If your speed was less aggressive the hole would seem larger as the ball could catch the side window or roll in the back door. There is really on three things to concern with putting: 1. uphill or downhill 2. left or right and 3. how long is the putt. With this said, practice these things: 1. Speed control and Set up & Stroke. Practicing speed control would be not putting at a hole at all! Therefore, you CANNOT miss! So, put tees in the practice green at 10, 20, and 30 foot increments that are uphill and downhill. Then roll putts from both directions to get the feel and build your grasp on speed control. Practicing stroke and setup would be snapping a chalk line on a flat putt for a a distance of 3-4 feet and challenge yourself to hit 10, 20, or 50 putts consecutively. You may need to check your setup when addressing the ball over a putt...are you de-lofting the putter face, upright or flat, and also something important which some don't even think about is your vision or sight on how you see the ball when you align the ball for a putt. From behind the ball you may see it dead straight on your line, then when you address, you may see it left or right of the hole, thus counters against your read and you subconsciously adjust to feel comfortable over the putt. When I line up a 5-7 footer to save par, I pick my line then close one eye and hold the putter shaft on AIM marker on the Pro V1X to be sure that I am aimed dead on. I know my stroke will be good and I tell myself, just miss it good right in the hole. I know this is a a lot and I hope it helps!


    Sorry to hear about your putting woes Hotsauce. Putting never has been one of my strengths. But on the occasion I am putting well, my mind is blank and I am just concentrating on tempo. Not sure if that helps.

  4. Rich T

    Rich T
    Shrewsbury, MA

    I feel for you. Amateur golf at it's finest! It is never fun when any part of the game seemingly leaves us. Especially when it is typically a consistent part of your game that you can rely on. Knowing you and your game as well as I do, I know you'll be banging those in soon and this is a short speed bump. If the issues do continue, I suggest you hand over your Napa to me.


  5. Tim Tiger

    Tim Tiger
    Bixby, OK

    Sauce, I can write a book about that over the last few rounds. Doing almost the exact same thing. Is there a "NAPA" moon that has us off a bit?

  6. Speedy

    Newmarket, NH

    ALL THE TIME... I know ya pain too well. Been a few times this year I could've shot a nice round IF I almost made a few things right. My driver has been hurting me as of late. But I will admit I'm surprised by this. You are MONEY with that putter, sorry to hear this.. Are the greens in good shape?

    You'll be fine though, we're due for another $20 match soon anyways and i'm sure you'll be draining the 10 plus footers then... And besides, not sure you would be handsome enough in a tennis outfit...
  7. Jerry M

    Jerry M
    Dallas, TX

    Just chalk it up to "it wasn't your day", everybody has them, Tiger included. Try not to let it get to you, flush it out of your mind and try to stay positive on your next round. The really good golfers have a short memory. Good luck.
  8. 1. Don't take up tennis!

    2. Any putting drill that makes you more confident over your putts.

    The one that works best for be is to put 6 tees in the ground 3 feet from a hole on the practice green like a clock, evenly spaced. Preferably with a slight break on some of the putts. Make all 6 in a row, then go back to 6 feet from the hole with each tee. Make all 6 in a row, then go back to 9 feet. If you miss one putt, reset and start over.

    I normally can get through the 3-footers on the first or second try, but the 6-footers can take a while. Been using this drill for the past two years and only got back to the 9-footers a handful of times.

    The reason I like it is that my confidence starts to build seeing so many putts go in. I start to get a good feel in my hands and can visualize the shot getting to the back of the cup. It also helps me figure out the difference for starting the ball inside the lip-on the edge-or outside the edge.

    I also like it because you start feeling a little bit of pressure by the time you get to the 5th or 6th putt. After a few times around I start to get more comfortable with the last couple putts. This really helps keep my focus up and nerves down when standing over a must make, or when you're giving up dots and need those birds to start tweeting!
  9. Don O

    Don O
    Madison, WI

    When I can go back and try it again and roll it in, I try to remember that relaxed feel. I tend to try too hard in competition. Not that I'll make the next 7 in a row, but it will get better after I r-e-l-a-x. My drives and approaches are not entirely predictable - I shouldn't expect putting to be any better.
  10. John M

    John M
    Clayton, CA

    My personal response to a poor putting round is to go to the putting green with one ball and my iPhone & Earpiece and just listen to music and putt. For some reason, I get my stroke back and the next round is always good.
  11. Rick D

    Rick D
    Weston, WI

    I feel your pain. We have a regional invitational amateur 2 day stroke play tourney here. I was the clubhouse leader day one until another came in a stroke lower. Day 2 I start out birdie, birdie. Then I got to where I couldn't make a putt. Birdie putts on 9, 10, 12, after great irons into tucked pins, all grazed. 13 left one short on the front edge. 14 and 15 uphill, got aggressive on both and left myself with short downhill sliders that I missed for bogies. Another great iron shot into 16 and I grazed another one, hanging my head. The thing is, I hit all of those putts where I aimed. I just read a bit more break than was there. A couple years later a guy was talking about that tourney and remarked that I had played so well the first day, then didn't play well the second. I played extremely well the second day, just didn't read greens. You can't kick yourself too hard for hitting putts where you want them. Sometimes our stroke is a bit off, sometimes we putt well, but don't read them well.
  12. Barry B

    Barry B
    Lake St Louis, MO

    I don't know, from your write-up it sounds like you are actually putting pretty darn good. At worst, you may be millimeters off on your line and your speed sounds like it's really close also. Stop stressing, you'll be back to dropping putts soon enough. In the mean time, go out and play a round just for fun, it's an amazing way to free up your mind, swing & stroke.
  13. I putt by feel, and if I am missing putts early in the round then I either don't have the speed of the greens, or I have too much movement in my putting. Simply put, I need to stay quiet and stop looking to see if the putt has gone in.
    Right now I am in a really good place. I have probably made over 90% of my putts 10 feet or less in the last 6 rounds. Alignment is important, and I am focussing on putting through the ball and not decelerating. As I pull the putter back, I saw to myself,"noooo-fear" accelerating through the ball as the putter head goes forward.
    Or it could be your equipment, did you bend the face of your putter or bend your shaft?
  14. tdogg21

    Chambersburg, PA

    My Dad use to tell me if I kept giving the ball a chance and I kept getting it close, the putts will eventually start to fall. It sounds to me like there is nothing wrong with your putting. You're hitting good strokes, it's just not falling. There's nothing wrong with a little extra practice, but don't put any more pressure on yourself. That will only make it worse. Just keep making good putts, and they will start to fall.
  15. Hotsauce

    Georgetown MA

    Thanks for the replies Gents! I'm glad I'm not the only head case out there.
    I've played a 9 or two since this post and just tried to relax and keep confident. I still feel a tad off, but have circled a couple too. I've always been a drip it into the hole (unless it's uphill) kind of putter, so seeing lips outs are like watching car crashes in slow motion.
    To get the mojo back I've switched up practice a bit. I really like climb the ladder from 4 sides- a little round' the world/ladder collaboration- and that seems to get the feel back a bit. I've got nothing but yard work this weekend so maybe a day or two off will help.
    Best of luck rolling the rock
  16. golfinnut

    Leesburg, VA

    I had the same issue with my putting last night in league play. I buzzed the hole multiple times for birdie ... edges all day. But that was the thing, I wasn't getting discouraged because the putts were where I wanted them to start, they rolled true ... they were just speed issues one way or the other.
    If you're buzzing the hole, I wouldn't be too concerned ... they will be dropping soon enough. Just as long as those putts aren't for bogey or worse. LOL :)
  17. BCH


    Best golfer I ever knew did this drill:

    Start with 5 balls from one foot away from the hole-make all 5 then move to two feet-then move to three foot

    If you miss any putts start all over again from one foot. Make take a while to get off the green!

    When i asked him why he did this exercise, he explaibed that he was not trying to make the putts but train his line. If you can make 5 three foot putts in a row, you are putting on line.

    Hope this helps

  18. Hotsauce

    Georgetown MA

    I love the climb the ladder drill. It's awesome for perfecting speed and starting the ball online. Plus those 5-6 footers are usually the putts that make or break a round.
  19. Zangetsu


    Noticed something on the course today.
    My swings are best when not thinking or anticipating shots and just stand, breathe, focus and hit.

    On puts on the other hand it really helps me to slow down take in the green. Check the line, breathe visualise and slowly stroke.

    Really focused on this today and it really payed off
  20. Sauce, I feel your pain. Don't mess with that stroke, whatever you do! It's like Mr. Tiger suspected - once in a while you have to pay a little extra for carrying such a gorgeous putter. Good luck!
  21. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    The guy I play with on Fridays is a teaching pro and tells me to move a little closer to the ball. Give it a try. Cannot hurt. Sounds like you have a good stroke.
  22. Dwayne N

    Dwayne N
    Island, KY

    Some days are just that way and some days aren't. went out last week made six birdies next time out two putted every hole with 4 lipouts
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