We are obsessed with hitting the golf ball.
We endlessly study ways to get another 10 yards out of our driver.
We constantly hunt for clubs and balls that promise to fly straighter and truer.
When we talk about getting a lesson, we have one thing in mind: working on our swing.
I have a question to ask:
Have you ever thought about getting a putting lesson?
I had one the other day … for the first time in my life.
And I have one other question to ask:
What took me so long?
I went into it thinking we would tweak my setup. Maybe I would just buy a new putter. I had no intention of changing my left-hand-low grip, which I’ve been using – successfully, in my mind – for about a decade.
But as we started to look at what I was doing and not doing with my putting stroke, it was obvious that I needed to do more than a few tweaks. I needed an overhaul.
It didn’t matter whether I was sticking with my Ping, the one I’ve had for more 20 years, or going to something new. That wasn’t the issue.
The issue was, well, everything.
We changed how I started the process of lining up a putt.
We changed my hand position.
We changed how much I bent over.
We changed my shoulder position.
And then, finally, we changed my grip back to conventional.
The last part, for me, was the most shocking of all.
I switched to left hand low not because it felt so great, not because it looked so great and not because it was clearly better.
I switched out of desperation. Putting had befuddled me forever, and my right hand kept taking over – especially on short putts.
I wasn’t a confident putter. I was a scared putter. I wasn’t trying to make a 20-footer; I was trying to avoid three-putting. Short putts weren’t even 50-50. Round after round was ruined by unforced errors on the green.
Left hand low definitely helped. It took my right hand out of it. It didn’t look great and I still jabbed at the ball, but at least it felt better mentally.
But my mentors could see what I couldn’t: My form, my technique were off kilter with left hand low. No wonder I still didn’t make a lot of putts; I was doing too many things that were fundamentally wrong.
When I tried the conventional grip again, all that changed. Now I looked much better, and when they put tees on both sides of my putter and challenged me to avoid hitting them, we found that my stroke was much more on line.
Yes, I was making a lot of putts with my left hand low during the lesson, but with conventional I not only made them – I looked so much better when we watched it on replay.
It had something in common with every golf lesson I’ve ever had: I learned a lot. No matter how long you’ve played our great game, there’s more to learn.
So stop obsessing about everything tee to green. Yes, that’s important, but at least 25 or 30 of your strokes in every round are on the green.
Do something about your putting. What’s taking you so long?