The Putts Add Up!
By Rhett Myers, PGA Golf Professional
When golfers don’t have time to play 9 or 18 holes, they may sometimes decide to just go to the range and practice hitting their driver, 3 wood and maybe a few iron shots. It’s rare that I see anyone at the practice green just chipping and putting for the hour. Although everyone strives to get their lowest score, their focus is not practicing the short game, where the stokes add up. It’s true, “if you can’t putt, you can’t score”. There are several good ball strikers with athletic swings, but, if your short game fails, the end result will prove it. Although there are some proper mechanics associated with putting, the mental aspects usually determine the results.
The best way to help your putting is to allow your subconscious reflexes to take over by letting your eyes tell your fingers how to strike the ball. See the ball in the hole. Line up your putt, take your stance, look at the hole, then look at the ball without any further mental distractions. Trust what your eyes have seen, you will become a better putter. Try this to prove the validity of eye/finger coordination. Glance at a pencil on your desk, look away and then reach for the pencil. Nine out of ten times, you will pick up the pencil and you will not even have to think about it. The same works in putting.
- Alignment – keep your feet left of the target, putter face aiming where you want the ball to go. Have the putter face chase the ball towards the hole
- Eyes over the ball
- Stand tall to allow your putter to act like a pendulum
- Keep your body as still as possible making only a shoulder and arm stroke
- Determine the distance of the putt by your backswing – always accelerate the putter head through the ball
Remember, for most players it is more important to strike each putt solidly versus being over concerned how to read the green. Practice your putting and your scorecard will show the difference.
Pace of Play
By Rhett Myers, PGA Golf Professional
Although some men and women play golf professionally for prize money, most golfers play for recreation and fun. There are few things in life that are more enjoyable than briskly walking a scenic course and playing golf with friends. This experience is sometimes tainted by a problem that is coast to coast, that is slow play. To enjoy one’s round to the fullest, the following are a few pace of play tips:
- Be ready to play your shot when it is your turn
- Take only one practice swing
- Play ready golf if it is agreed upon and safe
- Walk at a brisk pace between your shots
- Position your cart or golf bag between the green and the next tee
- The USGA encourages to putt continuously until you hole out, unless you are asked to mark or are standing in someone’s line
- Watch your ball after you hit it and mark it with something; a tree or other landmark. Watch it until it stops rolling
- Do not give friends or fellow competitors golf lessons
- Mark your score down on the next tee
- Let faster groups play through
- Play the correct tees. If you are a 10+ handicap, do not play the back tees
The following are various areas that the course itself can help in speeding up play.
- Look for well marked hazards and OB stakes
- Having yardage markers at 100, 150 and 200 yards helps speed up play, also on the par 3 tee boxes
- Allowing golfers to cross the fairways at 90 degrees with a golf cart is very important
- Take 2-3 clubs with you if you have to walk from your cart
- It is also a benefit if the course has both on the scorecard and tee signs where the player should be in their round at certain times
On a final note, remember, you are on the course to have fun and not rush, however, playing for 5 hours is not fun for anyone. Years back, I had the wonderful experience of playing the US Open venue, Shinnecock Hills on Long Island. I always remembered the verbage written on every water cooler throughout the course. It read, “Remember folks, your place on the course is immediately behind the game in front of you, not immediately in front of the game behind you”.