PUTTING PRACTICE VERY MUCH THE KEY
“The more I practice, the luckier I get” is a phrase that says a lot about golf and putting practice is the hidden element that can make the difference between an excellent round and a very average one. That long raking putting practice may be a piece of good fortune but some people hole them more than others. Most people’s first experience of putting practice may have been as a child on a little putting practice green. The technique seemed easy enough with a flat faced putter and a little white ball; a flat area of green and half an hour’s entertainment then off to the next attraction, perhaps the dodgem cars or the big dipper.
Once someone takes up the game of golf, it is almost taken as read that the putting practice side of it is straightforward; how to master ball striking is the only challenge. That of course is far from the truth and putting mats is where scores can really be mad.
The Tendency of Putting Practice
It is soon apparent that striking the ball is not quite as simple as it seems with the tendency to lift the head too soon a regular fault, and without anyone watching to explain the problem, it can be baffling. However, gradually a novice is conscious of needing to keep the head down, and those perfect strikes, perhaps only one in ten creates the confidence that the game can be mastered.
It almost goes unnoticed how well a player in the early stages of playing golf performs on the putting practice green. It is easy to forget the time on the practice green before teeing off is not for putting practice it is just what everyone else does. The mind is already on the course so the putting practice is casual and not focused. Gradually however it dawns; a lovely drive down the middle and an iron on to the putting green only to three putt for a bogey; that was almost a great par if only for the three putts. The assumption that it is easy to two putting practice each green soon disappears.
A more seasoned golfer understands that putting can be difficult, that greens are not always as flat as that little putting green as a child. Anyone lucky enough to have played Muirfield in Lothian for the first time will wonder why the putting practice green has a series of humps and hollows. A few holes into the round, they will have the answer.
Skill on the putting green take putting practice and the secret can be to create a set routine so that mind and body automatically relax before the challenge of a putt. Read the line, judge the pace, slowly back and follow through a similar distance, no acceleration or deceleration. All these elements come into successful putting and although the pressure of the moment cannot be replicated in putting practice, everything else can. Time putting practice before a game is certainly valuable to get the feel of things, to get mentally ready for challenge as well then off to the first tee.