Made vs. Holed Putts

This “tip” is more of me urging you all to start thinking a bit differently on the putting green. How often have you hung your head in disgust when a putt misses the hole after you have made what you think is a great stroke? Guess what? Golf isn’t fair, and I hear life isn’t either. I will agree that there are very few sounds better on this earth than a little white (or neon green, red, purple, etc.) ball falling into a cup. However! There is little that we can do to control what that ball does after it leaves our putter face. Many will argue with me if fate and destiny truly exist, but to be scientifically objective about the situation of a golf ball rolling on a green, there are many different variables working for and against that ball going into its rightful home.
The following mindset is one that will start alleviating the unnecessary stresses we all put on ourselves to get that ball into the hole (in fewer shots). Start delineating between “making putts” and “holing putts.” Know that you have the ability to “make” every putt. It is simple. Roll your ball on your intended line with your intended speed. If you do that, you have “made” the putt. Whether or not that ball goes in the hole is a completely different issue and one that sometimes you are accountable for (chose the wrong line or wrong speed, failure to acknowledge grain/dew/other condition, etc.), but very often, you may not be accountable for (imperfection in the green, etc.). When we get obsessed about “holing” every putt we see, we immediately believe we are a poor putter if the putt we hit does not go in the hole. This can often lead to a downward spiral of putting confidence and many poor economic decisions of buying new putters or regripping, etc. (we in the golf shop don’t mind these irrational buying decisions).
So…. it is a great time to get out to a practice green and start committing to making every putt. Refrain from hitting putts for the sake of hitting putts and react positively or negatively if the putts go in or if the do not go in. Go through your process on every putt. Decide if the putt is uphill, downhill, sidehill or a combination of multiple slopes. Pick a path and a speed for with the ball to roll on that path. Make every putt. At that point you can learn where your strengths and weaknesses are, objectively. Do you have a tendency of over-reading break? Do you have a knack for leaving putts short? When you commit to making every putt, you can find your truest shot pattern and be objective through the learning process. Use this shot pattern as feedback and soon enough, you will be holing more putts, guaranteed!

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