Best Advice – Ask The Doctor
Almost everytime, I hit a great approach shot close to the hole on a green, I miss a short putt that could be considered a gimmie. I get impatient waiting for other people to putt out. Can you make some recommendations for me?
Dr. Macri – Answer:
You are describing something very common in golf. It almost feels as if you are being penalized for hitting a good shot. However, proper etiquette dictates that the player closest to the pin is a last to putt out. I can draw an analogy here to football, where the opposing team “ices the kicker” (i.e- has him delay and wait to kick the field goal in the hope that he will become physically and mentally tight). I would venture to guess that you might be over thinking and increasing muscle tension.
Below are a few strategies that you can try when you are in this situation.
- Decrease over- thinking. In the immortal words of Eddie Lowery in The Greatest game Ever Played (2005), “See it… Roll it… Hole it!”. Take the time to read the putt, and go through your practice routine. Avoid negative self-statements such as “ What if I miss?”. Think—”See it, Roll it, Hole it”
- Focus on something else while you are waiting. A great exercise is to read the letters of the brand name on the golf ball and say them silently to yourself one letter at a time.
- Take a deep breathe and exhale slowly. Usually in times of perceived stress, we forget to do the very thing that is that natural and simple.
Keep in mind that you need to try this on the practice green before we put it into play in a competitive situation. Otherwise, it will be meaningless. I hope you benefit from these simple mental strategies. Let me know if it helps!