Putting Improvement: Train Like you Play

Ok.  Dustin Johnson is not my student. But this drives me nuts.  Well, with my players it does.  

Take a minute to first watch Dustin Johnson performing the circle putting drill.  Then you will understand rest of blog better.  

Something to take note on while watching video:

  • Look on his face when he misses versus makes
  • His body language when he misses versus makes

If only coaches and players fully understood performance mindset and what happens to self esteem when practicing / warming up the way he is.

The start:

When putting to a hole, USE YOUR FULL TOURNAMENT ROUTINE!  That goes for any player, I mean any player, yes that even includes touring professional like Dustin Johnson.  Not doing so triggers the auto response of EXCUSES.  Those excuses then never get to root problem which then has player making the same mistake.  To combat the missed putt, some sort of internal thought covers up the missed putt.  But it really doesn't matter as subtle damage to self esteem (how one views themselves) has taken place.  The mind has seen the putt miss.  NOTHING you can do will change that fact.  TRUST ME on this one.  Just take a look at his face and body language when he misses the putt.  I'm certainly you have seen the same look and reaction on others golfers when they do the same.  I'm also pretty sure that you have done the exact same thing. 

The second guy is always great. Hardly ever misses. Goal is to make the second guy hit the first shot. Accomplishing that is no easy task but one that can be accomplished with proper training.
— Dennis Sales

What happens next is intriguing and humorous.  Intriguing in that after the golfer makes the excuse, he pulls another ball, make the obvious adjustment and magically the ball goes into the hole.  BUT, that was an adjustment to what the conscious mind saw.  What it doesn't fix it what the unconscious mind saw.  Then while on the golf course, the unconscious mind goes back to its adjustment in final stages of pre-shot routine, and another first putt miss.  Why?  Because their was something in the first stage of calculations and final stages of unconscious adjustments that was never corrected or shall I shay addressed.  Humorous because the golfer will keep making the same mistake until the root cause is addressed.  It is addressed not thru drills but thru assessments of stroke and mindset.  

How does one fix these simple round killing mistakes?  The answer is not simple as it does require a number of technical, skill and mental game assessments.  This is something we do here at our training center if one ever so desired to come in for.  The following would be some basic but solid training concepts to use.  

  • QUALITY over QUANTITY always!  That even applies to pre-round WARM-UP.
  • Since you mark the golf ball while playing, mark your golf ball when putting on the putting green.  Great example to this.  I worked with a player on their mental game.  They would make tons more putts while practicing then playing tournament golf.  We assessed all the key components.  Everything was outstanding except how they practiced to a hole and how their mindset changed once they saw they coin.  Their mindset viewed the coin as a putt that had more value then the putt they would typically make during practice.  When we started added the coin to practice, their practice putting stats dropped.  Slowly and steadily they increased back to what they were previously.  They also started to make way more putts during tournament play.  
  • In putting to holes, ALWAYS run your FULL TOURNAMENT ROUTINE.   That means performing your full read!  YES, even go to the other side of the hole.  Especially if you do that while competing.  
  • If you are working on speed or start line, DO NOT use a hole!  Never use a hole for that.  
  • If you use the line on ball, ALWAYS use the LINE with your FULL TOURNAMENT ROUTINE to hit putts to a hole!  You will thank me later for this.  
  • Love when players track their performance during practice.  It really will help you develop the correct mindset on how they view themselves as a putter.  Do you want to view yourself as a great putter who can make putts?  Or do you want to view yourself as someone who can't one putt?  OR worse, someone who views themselves as a bad putter?  It is a CHOICE!
  • ALWAYS start your putting day by dialing in your feels for start direction and pace.  

 About Dennis Sales Golf.  We specialize in providing holistic training concepts to developing and serious junior golfers.  Our junior training program is one of the most successful programs in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex.  Training program provides everything a junior golfer would need to achieve their goals at an affordable tuition.  4 hours per month training and practice starting at $99 per month.  For more information please call 972-861-0649 or use link below to email us.