Solving Putting Yips – One Possible Solution

Do I really need to define the phrase ‘putting yips’? I am certain that every golfer has played through a period of the putting yips. The lack of confidence before even striking the ball definitely contributes to our flat stick woes. We sometimes get to a point where we feel it is impossible to fix this challenge. I am here to say that it is possible to eliminate the putting yips by finding the solution that works best for you. Today, I have one that might work for your game, so keep reading and let me know what you think.

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“The yips is the colloquial term for a sudden and unexplained loss of skills in experienced athletes. Symptoms of the yips are losing fine motor skills and psychological issues that impact on the muscle memory and decision making of the player which creates a failure to perform basic skills of the sport.” (Wikipedia)

First, I believe that all yips are rooted in our mental preparation for any shot. The lack of confidence and defeatist attitude before even striking the ball leads to a case of the “cant’s”. This negative step in turn leads to a breakdown in our game and failure to confidently hit the golf. Therefore, when I get a case of the yips, I focus on improving my mental approach and focus to each shot. In the video below, the advice given by Johnny Miller is very good and something I do inadvertently. Take a look:

By focusing on something other than the contact spot on the ball, you mind is forced to forget about many aspects of the yips and lets your putting stroke take over. Yes, hitting the ball or at least contact with the ball will our putter should be automatic. This excludes any swing thoughts. Thinking during the actual swing is not a good idea; we must let our natural putting stroke take over after we committed to the shot.

For me, I focus on the top of my putter. I am not an advocate of not seeing contact (old school training from other sports), but I do allow my mind to focus on something other than the plethora of stressors involved in putting the ball. By focusing on the alignment line on top of my putter, I force my mind to exclude all other swing thoughts. This helps reduce the putting yips because I am mentally focused on something other than my putting stroke; I allow my natural swing to take over. For me, this mental focus helps improve my putting by reducing the 1000 swing thoughts that can occur in an instant during contact.

There is no one solution to defeating the putting yips. The solution mentioned in the video above has many variations. The point is to allow your natural putting stroke take over the process of putting. This is definitely easier to say than do; just ask any player struggling with the putting yips. Regardless, I believe that the root of this terrible affliction is rooted in our mental approach to each shot and that is where I focus my efforts when I consistently struggle with puttting or any other golf shot.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

6 thoughts on “Solving Putting Yips – One Possible Solution

  1. Jim, never had the putting yips but the corrections make sense. I’ve experimented with looking at the hole and it works best on short putts. When the stroke gets longer, focusing on something other than the ball can become problematic. I ended up hitting the ground behind the ball and discontinued. It seems to work best when you focus your mind on the target or the shape of the putt that you want. Rotella goes in depth on this in his putting book which is a great read.

    I’ve had the chip yips and didn’t come out of them until I stop focusing on mechanics. I’m sure the same concept applies to putting.

    Thanks,

    Brian

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian,

      I find that with every shot, the less I think during the second of swing action, the better I play. Yips are definitely mental and each player has to find their own way to fix their unique challenge. It is a never ending process to keep on track. And it is one that I really enjoy.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My bad day on the greens the other day wasn’t yips. I hit good putts that just weren’t the right putts. Going into I think my 5th year of almost nightly putting practice and almost a year of bouncing the ball off the hole instead of into thanks to covid my biggest issue I’d have to say is overconfidence. Putting with my eyes closed or looking at the target ala Spieth is not something that scares me at all anymore. In fact I sometimes think I swing freer watching the screen on my computer than at the putt. My last two putts tonight were made looking at SNL on youtube. I dropped both. Or rather I got both speed and line perfect and rolled both to sit on top of the 4 other balls already in the 2 holes I have. It’s a bit more demanding to do that. And pretty satisfying and confidence inspiring.

    I can’t imagine getting the putting yips with the amount of practice I get in. Drop just 10 in a row from 9 feet every night for a few years. Even Charles Barkley couldn’t get the yips after that. Lol. Did you notice his swing yips are gone btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      Sounds like you have your short game in perfect condition. Practice will breed confidence and that in itself eliminates the yips. I have not watched CB new swing, will take a look.

      Cheers Jim

      Like

      • After a year of slow business thanks to covid and a timely move into a condo surrounded by golf courses just before it, I’d say my short game is as good as it’s ever been for sure. That doesn’t stop the occasional flub, skull, and shank, but it limits them to levels I’ve never seen. And give me a lot more confidence in my ability to get close enough for a decent shot at the hole.

        Liked by 1 person

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