Try these two simple drills to improve your accuracy on the green.
Ironically, one of the best ways to improve your putt is to close your eyes.
Putting with your eyes wide shut might sound crazy, but this is a savvy trick many professional golfers use to get in tune with their stroke on the green.
Australian golfer Peter O’Malley has said, “I’m putting with my eyes closed. Everyone laughs when I say it, but it’s true. It takes away the visual anxiety. When you get over those short putts and you can’t see what the putt’s doing, it takes away the anxiety. With the eyes shut, I hit it more firmly than I probably would with my eyes open.”
PGA golfers Colin Montgomerie and Johnny Miller have drawn attention for putting with their eyes closed in tournaments. However, this technique can work wonders for recreational golfers as well.
The eyes-closed strategy teaches you to feel the stroke and trust the mechanics of the putt.
Once you develop the proper putting mechanics, you can get the ball in position, stand up tall and practice putting with your eyes closed at various distances from the hole.
Remember, one of the biggest obstacles to putting is the human mind. If you overthink the putt, you’ll over involve your body. The putter should serve as a pendulum, swinging back and forth and delivering the ball to the cup, plain and simple.
By closing your eyes, you’ll feel the stroke with your body and take your mind out of the equation.
You’ll also relax and focus more fully on the task at hand. And, as Peter O’Malley said, you’ll reduce the anxiety associated with trying to make the perfect putt.
You can try this drill over and over on the golf course. As you do, move the ball back a bit further each time. Remember that the putter knows what to do. You just need to encourage it to do it.
Another great short putting drill involves keeping your eye on the back of the cup, rather than on the ball. Gently putt the ball into the hole while keeping your eyes glued on the back of the cup. Like putting with your eyes closed, this exercise also encourages you to relax. Therefore, you think less and have faith in the simple physics of the putt.
By incorporating this putting drill into your practice routine, you begin to develop a better feel on the green.
By eliminating visual distraction, you can focus on the feel of the putt, which is what really matters.
Above all, don’t let your mind hold you back on the golf course. Use these two simple drills to improve your accuracy and refine your putt. You just may see a major spike in your performance on the green.
July is an ideal month to play golf on Hilton Head Island and time to perfect your putt. Always wear a hat in the summer sun, stay hydrated and have fun on the green this season!
By Doug Weaver, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.
A former PGA Touring pro, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free hands-on interactive clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. 843-785-1138, 800-827-3006 or www.palmettodunes.com.