The shot that will live in The Player’s Championship historical vault is the par saving putt by Martin Kaymer on the 17th hole. It was 28 feet and had almost ten feet of break, but more importantly, Kaymer needed to make this putt to keep his lead. He sank it, made another great two putt on 18 and the trophy was his.
Golfers at all levels struggle with big breaking putts. Of course, they are difficult. You need two variables, line and speed. When you have those two variables correct into your putting formula, you will begin to make your putts.
There is a simple answer to making more breaking putts: Get into the feel zone. And the best way to get into the feel zone is with visualization. Here is a simple 3-step process that will help you to get into the feel zone:
- Visualize the target line arc. This is the arc that goes from your ball to the hole. It must be as clear as you can make it. Some people struggle with visualization, but everyone can visualize. The more you practice it on the course, the better you will get at it!
- The goal of your practice putting stroke is for the ball to roll on your visualized target line arc. Your only goal is to feel how hard you must hit the ball to keep it on this line. Take the same practice putting stroke as you plan to use for the real stroke. Also, don’t worry about making the putt, just think about rolling the ball on this target line arc.
- Be committed and make your stroke. If it goes in—then great. If not, do the same process for the next putt.
Visualization is the key to playing your best on the course. When you visualize, you will feel the shot better. And when you get into the feel zone, you will play your best golf.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University. He is the author of the Washington Post best selling business book, Full Throttle. Dr. Steinberg speaks to businesses about mental toughness and overcoming adversity. If you are interested in have him speak to your group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see more about him at www.drgreggsteinberg.com