chunk-the-putter

First and foremost, yes that is “Chunk” from the Goonies… moving on…

A chunked putt is incredibly frustrating and ultimately costs your strokes. It happens to all of us from time to time, and the root cause is nearly always the same. And that is a drop in spine angle.

Spine angle can change in a number of ways to cause the chunk, but most often its from your head dropping towards the ball slightly, or you changing the level of bend in your body when you’re over the ball during your backswing.

Remember, a change of less than a half of an inch can cause the chunk, considering you address the ball with the club starting on the ground in the first place.

To help combat this there’s a couple things you can remember, but the best one, and the simplest is to keep your chin off your chest. The simple act of keeping you chin up will help you keep it more stationary during your stroke. Sometime good putters can get complacent and slowly their posture starts to deteriorate. This usually starts with the either the head, or the body slouching over the ball, which makes moving around during your stroke much easier.

Another common fault that can change your posture during your swing is eye movement. In general its best to focus on a single spot behind the ball during your stroke. If you’re eyes begin to move around, or look to early, it becomes very easy for your posture to change than can easily result in a chunk or other miss-hit.

So before every putt, stay tall, keep your chin up, and keep your eyes steady for your stroke. These simple tips will help you eliminate chunking from your game.

cup-bullseye2

Putting can one of the most infuriating parts of the game despite its simplicity. For those of you suffering from the yips or simply looking for a new way to try and reprogram your putting stroke here’s a drill you can try to help out.

For most players struggling with their putting, its not their feel thats the problem, it’s their ability to hit the putt where they are lining up. This drill attempts to eliminate your need to look at the ball while making a stroke, and trust me, this isnt easy, but with a little practice it works.

Start your setup as you normally would, make practice strokes to get a feel for the distance you need the putt to go (this is the most important part). Then align yourself as you normally would, focusing on the feel of the stroke your going to make. Here’s the trick, now focus solely on the target, DO NOT look down at the ball, and complete your stroke.

Thats it. This drill lets you focus solely on feel. At first you may find it difficult to get a feel for hitting the ball at the bottom of your arc, or on the center of the face, but practice makes perfect. Also you may find it easy to chunk the putt, and this is usually because of excess body movements during your stroke. Focus on keeping your head steady and you should have no problem making solid contact.

Give it a shot!

putting_yips_yip_fixes

I hate the yips. It seems that every two years or so, after missing a couple of short putts – my mind goes into “don’t miss it” mode, and I’m faced with another couple weeks of awful, yip-filled rounds of golf. Now I guess I really shouldn’t complain, I’ve heard the horror stories of players quitting the game because their yips got so bad, or even people whose yips have progressed to affect their chipping and full-swing shots. I’m glad I’m not suffering that bad.

With all this said, I’ve spent countless hours on the putting green working on different things to help cure myself of the yips. I’ve tried different putting strokes, different setup routines, different putters and various drills – you name it, I’ve tried it. Oddly enough, I’ve found that some of the simplest changes to my putting stroke have made all the difference. In this post, I’m going to share with you those simple changes – so that you too can benefit – enjoy.

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For those of you who suffer from the yips, it doesn’t seem to matter what “cure” you try, because nothing works. What you have to realize is that the yips is a mental issue, not a swing fault. Your brain is telling your wrists to twitch before impact, because your brain is not 100% sure of the putt you’re about to make. What you need to do is re-boot your brain thinking process when it comes to putting. Forget all the missed short putts, and lost strokes are start the learning process over again. A great way to do this is to forget about the hole entirely.

Lets face it the hole is a small target, too small, and you need to think BIG. Work on your basic putting setup and alignment to a range bucket or towel from 10 feet away. Your successes will improve… and so will your confidence in your putting. With this approach, you can start trusting your putting stroke again and your yips should go away. Once you become more confident with your fundamentals, and you have successfully re-booted your putting stroke using the larger target… slowly work your way down to the hole again.

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deceleration putting tips drillsThe number one reason why amateurs miss short putts is deceleration. This symptom can creep up in many parts of your game, especially with chipping and putting. If you notice yourself stubbing chips and putts, or have trouble making all your short putts, I would bet you’re decelerating into impact.

I cannot stress enough the importance of acceleration when putting – not doing so can be deadly. Ensuring you accelerate into impact will help your short game tremendously. You will longer have to worry about short putts or the occasional stub, because if you follow-through, the ball has nowhere to go but forward.  On the other hand, you have to be careful.  If you start over-thinking things and try to steer your shots, the deceleration bug can creep in, and you’re game will suffer accordingly. Deceleration in many cases leads to the dreaded yips.

I use this simple drill to encourage an accelerating stroke on the putting green. Simply putt to a hole about 5-10 feet away, but place a headcover / ball / range bucket in the way of your backswing to keep it short. This forces you to accelerate into the ball and the results are immediate.

I would recommend everyone try this drill, because sometime spotting that you are decelerating is difficult. Don’t miss it!

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In putting, there are very few similarities from one player to the next. This is because putting is all about ‘feel’. Some players have good feel around the greens; others don’t. For those who have trouble, being able to see the line of the putt, the subtle breaks and path towards the hole can be very beneficial.  Instead of having to imagine the line, you can now see the line.

To help provide this visual feedback, try putting in the early morning dew. It is a great way to develop a visual sense of how a putt breaks. With some practice you can begin to develop a better sense of the ‘feel’ of each putt. After hitting some putts in the dew and taking a look at the break trails of each, a 25 foot putt never looked so easy.

Give it a try!

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We all know golf is very much a mental game. The brain has a profound effect on the results of each and every one of our shots. A fine example is to look more closely at a common problem like the yips. If you don't already know, the yips are involuntary wrist and arm twitches right before impact, which can affect anything from chipping to those three footers impossible. Read More →