When Putting Be Aggressive!

During my recent successes on the links, I have one real failing. It might not seem like much because of my low scores, but I cannot believe the challenges I am having on the greens. Before you roll your eyes, you must know by now that I am always trying to take advantage of every ounce of possibilities so I can shoot the lowest score. At this time, my putting is causing me some angst and I know exactly why!

Putting is a tough skill to master in golf!

Basically, my tendency is to leave my putts short. Not by much mind you, but enough not to go into the hole. This error in judgement is costing me three or four chances a round to lower my score. This is really unsatisfactory to know that I need to hit the ball a bit harder and yet I still come up short.

To be fair, I am not talking about putts outside of 20 feet. I feel that any putt inside of 20 feet has a legit chance of going in the hole. To leave these attempts short can be avoided and I am working through my mental failings to prevent any further mishaps. Yes I said it, my putting challenges are purely mental. So, how do I get past this bump in the road.

Yesterday, I told myself on every putt to hit the ball past the hole. It worked fairly well because I was getting the ball past the cup at least eight inches. That is always my goal anyway and I fortunately I am working through this challenge. I pride myself on being a solid putter and small hiccups are expected from time to time. Fortunately, I was able to identify my issue sooner than later and hopefully, I am on the right track to better play on the greens.

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

6 thoughts on “When Putting Be Aggressive!

  1. Putting is such a mental game. I find tending to the mental side of putting is critically important. Being too defensive does not result in the best outcomes except on wicked downhill or side hill putts.

    You cannot fear a three putt. My philosophy is that a three putt resulting from being too short is unacceptable, I never gave it a chance to go in. The occasional three putt that went too far is the acceptable price of giving the putt a chance.

    On uphill putts inside 25 feet, coming up short means I am being too defensive, need to attack.

    My pregame putting warmup is always focused on getting the weight right. I only use one ball and start with medium putts, putt to random lengths because that is what happens on the course. I never hit a second ball from the same spot in a pregame warmup because on the course you never get a second chance of the same length.

    I also believe in having a fast but routine setup. Thinking too much and indecision rarely turns out well, so pick your line, take your stance, and sink the putt. I have never struggled much with the putter and I believe it is largely because I believe in my putting (delusional?), don’t linger on failure and get on with it. I see so many people overthink putting and take too long over the ball with poor results. Pick the line, address the ball and get on with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, what you’ve described is a mental shift from three-putt avoidance to a make it mentality. You cannot fear three-putts if you want to hole more. It’s a tough adjustment for many players to make.

    Thanks,

    Brian

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What’s the old saying….fortune favors the brave. Some tempered aggression on the greens is vital I think. And for me, that means I note the danger, then basically just disregard it. Not sure 8 inches past is really enough. I’m looking more for the 3 foot range and sometimes go 6 feet past after a year of playing with covid holes that weren’t sunk all the way in the ground. Never putted better on average than I do now.

    But being that aggressive does bring with it an issue and that’s the need for more putting practice before a round. Just running out onto the first tee right now means I’m far more likely to blow up on the first few greens while I get dialed in. Even the greens at home that I know pretty well by now. Today was like that. I ran out with no warm up, was on the first hole in two and three putted. I missed the 3 footer coming back. And did it again on the next three holes. But after that I started putting. No more tiny pushes or pulls. No more lip outs.

    My last tee shot today scared me while watching it fly. The pin was in front on the right side of the green and I’d pulled it a bit past the left edge. There’s a flower garden on that side behind the green. But I got a lucky bounce to the right as it one hopped on where it then ran right off the back a couple inches onto the first cut leaving me a bit over 30 feet of left to right break and downhill to the pin. So I could chip or putt. The choice was mine to make. Years ago I would have chipped every time. Aim off to the left a little extra, chip it high and way short and give it a little bit of side spin that would both help it make the turn and more importantly to me then, help me keep it on the green. Not today. I gave the ball a whack with my putter hard enough to send it right off the false front. I cut the break in half and I hit the pin dead on and got that eagle. The less thought I put into what might be if I miss, the better my putting gets. That’s the real key. Usually that also means the better my score it though I’ll readily admit that a bad day putting like that is a really bad day. Fortune may favor the brave, but that’s an average not a guarantee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      There are several great tips in your comment. The most important is to have confidence to hit puts with enough strength to place the ball past the hole. 17 inches is the distance recommended my professionals, but I found that just a bit too aggressive for my game. Each play must decide for themselves of course.

      Cheers Jim

      Like

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