Tuesday, March 2 2021


The psychology of putting

Update: January, 08/2017 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

by Robert Bicknell

Well, the New Year is off to a rip roaring start as far as I am concerned. Remember when I said the first game of the year usually implies how the coming year will be?

Apparently, this year will be successful for me, but I’m really gonna have to work for it. It will be 12 months of grinding out pars… Hopefully there will be a few birdies to offset the amount of bogeys.

I am talking about both life and golf here…

Since returning from Christmas holiday, I’ve been hitting the ball better than ever. TaylorMade hooked me up with a new M2 driver with a nice Fujikura mid-kick shaft. This thing is actually fun to hit. Much less finicky than the M1 (where if you miss, you really miss) and  I’ve actually been hitting the par 5’s in two shots like when I was younger.

I then comfortably three-putt for par… *sigh*

Yes, into every life a little rain must fall and, for me, it appears the putter has decided to start acting up again. Every few years I go through this aggravation and cannot figure out why.

Almost every putt seems to lick the hole. They just won’t drop. No matter what I do, I just cannot seem to get it into the hole. Yeah, fine. Make all the jokes you want. Ha Ha.

It was funny the first day, but by the 5th round it ceased to be funny.

There are times when an easy solution is to simply change putters and shock your brain into reassessing things more carefully. Other times it’s the stroke which has gone off and you can rectify this by laying two clubs down on the practice green and putting between them.

You might even consider having your eyes checked, or in lieu of that, have your caddie double-check your alignment and set up. Of course, if you have my normal caddie – “Old Eagle Eyes” you could end up missing the putt somewhere between 5cm and oblivion.

She’s better since the operation. She can see the green from the apron now and can find the ball in the fairway. She still has trouble finding the balls which veer off into the trees which makes me wonder if her cousin has a business selling used golf balls…

I really only had one time in my career where my putting went so bad that I literally could not even make gimmies. Its embarrassing when your friends make you putt out from inside 15cm.

Grahame Harris (of Dalat fame) made me putt with my eyes closed and proclaimed my stroke was fine. Therefore my problem was mostly alignment oriented and psychological.

Psychology, what a concept. Yet it does play a major role in putting. If you know you’re gonna make the putt, you probably will. But if you don’t believe you will make it, you probably won’t.

Maybe Philosophy would be better to explain putting.

René Descartes once famously postulated: “Cogito ergo sum” which is the original Latin which we all know as “I think therefore I am.”

In putting, we can translate that into “I suck therefore I miss.”

Perhaps we can apply a Relativistic correction of Murphy’s law:
Whether things can go wrong or not, it depends on your frame of reference.

So, maybe the putt wasn’t really wrong because the cup WAS where your ball went at some time in the past, or might be where the cup will be in the future. So the putt was correct, but just at the wrong time.

That’s the story of my life. When my ship comes in, I’ll be at the airport.

Nevertheless, I have little doubt my putting will come back in short order. All you have to do is make a few and the confidence returns.

The problem is that when my putting returns, I’ll start hitting 330-yard drives into the trees, into the lake, off the property. And when that straightens out, the irons will go nuts.

If everything is working correctly, I have to worry about an asteroid crashing into the planet because it just would be too much to ask for a perfect day. You know how things go in golf.

The game is 80 per cent mental and I’m 100 per cent mental case…VNS



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