How to Become an “Athletic” Putter

How to Become an “Athletic” Putter

What athletic putting means to me is trusting, believing, feeling and having a sense of touch.  It’s also a sense of relaxation and confidence.  Athletic putting means instead of being locked up and trying to be too careful and too perfect, you relax.  That’s really how your brain operates at its best.  For example, if you were throwing a dart at a dartboard the first time, you would have no idea how hard or how high to throw it.  So you throw it and it goes low and sticks in the wall instead of the board; that would be pretty typical.  As a kid you get a ball and try to throw from third to first base and you throw it down to the ground or to the right or to the left.  But, little by little you start to figure out the feeling of where the ball releases.  It’s one of the things you don’t really think about, it just starts to happen.

In athletic putting we use three drills in conjunction with each other so your touch and feel is uncovered and comes to the surface.  So we start out with what seems to be a very unconventional drill:  the Look at the Hole Drill.  In this drill instead of looking at the ball, you look at the hole.  The ball is not moving in golf, so you don’t have to worry about hitting the ball.  Instead, you get to feel the stroke; you get to sense it come off the putter face and you get to see the ball the entire way.  This gives you a lot more information than with your head down.  And by getting that information it starts to unlock the sensors.  So if you hit the first one too hard you know to athletically adjust and hit the next one a little bit easier.  Let’s say you hit the next putt too easy, you then know to hit the next one somewhere in between the two and that contrast is what touch and feel and athleticism is all about.

The second drill is the One Hand Only Drill.  So, a right-handed person will do the drill right handed.   When you putt with one hand, you will feel if you start to muscle the club around.   We start to get more of a swing of the putter, more of a rhythm.   We feel the weight of the club head.   We swing the putter.   We get the momentum of centrifugal force working in our favor.   And because of these consistent natural laws, the ball starts to come off the face in a very similar fashion time after time.   I have seen a lot of people who putt as good or better with one hand and then they learn from that drill and become a better two-handed putter.

The third drill is really a test of what your sensors have “learned” from the first two drills.  It is the No Look Drill.  Normally, you putt without looking at the hole.  You putt looking at the ball, so you are not really seeing your target.  So your mind’s eye keeps the hole in mind but you don’t literally see it.   You are sensing what direction to hit the ball and you’re sensing how hard to hit it.  How well developed those senses are will determine how good of a putter you are.  So you putt, without looking where the ball goes, then make a call if you think it came up long, short, left, right, or just right, and then you rotate your head to see if you made the right call.  This is a really good drill to wake up those senses, to really get your feel going.  These three drills together work to make you an athletic putter who can trust their feel, their instinct, make more putts and reduce the number of three putts in a round.

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