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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Am I being hazed by the putting gods?

Is this some kind of "true golfer" initiation process I'm experiencing? Let's check the stats.

After finding my lost swing at the range on Saturday, I was still a little anxious about taking it out on the course. I mustered my courage and played yesterday, only to find myself playing like I did back when I was on a roll and winning. Aside from a couple of disaster holes (a 7 and a 9 - both on par 4's!), I had a solid round with7 pars and 6 bogeys. It was a really hot day and I was fatigued by the end, but I still parred out the last three holes to shoot a 90, which is my best round in months. I was walking on sunshine (instead of my aching dogs) and thinking to myself "oh yeah, I remember this... I actually CAN play golf." I was even putting well - only one 3-putt all day and a total of 35!

Then I turn around and play again today only to shoot a disappointing 100. I walked off the course feeling a little dejected but refused to let one round shake my regained confidence (even though I was quite willing to let one round just the day before build it up). I then chalked it up to some kind of golf god's hazing ritual - like now I'm REALLY not a beginner anymore because all real golfers go through this kind of thing. I know that's true - we all have our ups and downs, and I'm sure I'll continue to do that as well. HOWEVER...

...then I checked the stats. I know how important putting is. I do. I also know I've been struggling with that aspect of my game from the get go. To some extent, I believe putting is natural talent - you either have it or you don't. Kind of like music or fine art: you can become pretty good at it with training and experience to develop the skills, but the people with the natural ability to begin with will always be better.

Yesterday I was putting with confidence, feeling the lines and the speeds and knowing that, even from 50 feet away, I could two-putt my way into the cup. Today, I putted like the spaz I am. So here it is: yesterday I had 35 putts; today I had 43. I guess this is why I keep statistics. Had I putted today like I did yesterday, my 100 would have been a 92. Plus, today my disaster hole was a 10! So, I found all the strokes and I feel better about it. I'm still striking the ball well. My irons are back to being relatively solid, and the bonus - my shots with my fairway woods the last two days have been things of beauty. My driver, which used to be my straightest club, has developed an enormous slice, though not unplayable, and I'm working on it.

I don't know how many posts I've written complaining about my putting, but it seems like a lot. Putting, putting, putting, putting. I have to get better at putting. Maybe I'll read a book. :)
Any recommendations?

Next post.

11 comments:

mediaguru said...

To an extent I do believe you either have it or you don't when it comes to putting. I consider myself a great putter and many I know have told me that as well. One guy even told me I was the best putter he'd ever seen. (thanks buddy, then I 3 putted the next hole hehe).

But I do have some specific mechanics I do when I putt: I use lots of straight lines and right angles. My feet are perpendicular to the target line. My stance is completely square. I use my SHOULDERS to swing the club and the writsts, elbows and lower arms keep the same angles/positions all the way....

BUT I think there is a lot of "feel" in putting. I can jump onto a green without practicing and my first stroke will have the right speed. A friend asked me how I do that and I'm mad that he did becuase I sometimes wonder myself how I judge the speed...

I could go on.... Perhaps when I deliver your fantasy prize IN PERSON we can work on your putting stroke. :-)

Luke Swilor said...

There are some mechanics that are useful in putting, but when you're on the course you should just be trying to make it. Thinking mechanics when you play is usually not a good thing, especially in putting. Leave that to the putting green.

Bob Rotella's book Putting Out of Your Mind might be a pretty good start.

Golfchick said...

Media - Work on my putting stroke? Is that the best line you've got? ;)

Thanks, Luke. I'll check out that book.

mediaguru said...

I don't do lines... so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Calibrate your putt distance by practicing swinging back one putter head length for every 10 ft of putt length. So, for a 30 ft. putt, your backswing should be approximately 3 putter lengths.
I pace off every putt to determine the distance.

mediaguru said...

I know people that walk off their putts like that. And the Dave Pelz theory is to have a certain distance you bring the putter back depending on how long the putt is. Those are good ideas if you are working on your distance control. I don't do that personally but it's a good idea.

srinidhi said...

Enjoyed reading your blog and the comments! I am impressed that you play below 100, well, most of the times. I score higher even though I have been at it longer! Of course I started when my Grandson of 3 got interested in golf. He is over six now and is keen. He paricipates in competitions! My daughter set up this blog, where I ramble! You need patience and some understanding of the Asian mind. All the best and keep blogging.
http://nidhis-blog.blogspot.com/

Golfchick said...

Hi Sri Nidhi,

I checked out your site and I really like it! I'll be adding you to my blogroll. Keep up the good work and thanks for reading. :)

Kristen

Alyson Wilson said...

I just surfed over to your site and think you do a great job... and, based on all the comments you got about your putting, I'm not alone in my admiration! Keep it up!
-Alyson, thisnext.com/blog

srinidhi said...

Thanks! That is very encouraging.
I will also include your blog in my list as soon as I learn how!

Regards

Anonymous said...

Kristin, where are you? Get us hooked on your witty prose and leave us hanging! I hope you are still golfing! Don't do us like Jamboy did, I need my fix!