3 “Must”kateers in Putting… Par 3

Recently I have had challenges with my putting. My ball has seemed to have a mind of it’s own, wanting to go it’s own way instead of the way I—the supposed controller of it’s destination–intended. So I have repaired to the practice green and hundreds of puts to figure out what I need to do to effectively communicate and execute my putting desires—get the ball in the cup more regularly.

US Senior Open - Final Round

TOLEDO, OH – JULY 31: Bernhard Langer of Germany lines up a putt on the 16th green during the final round of the United States Senior Open at Inverness Club on July 31, 2011 in Toledo, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Much to my delight, my practice revealed three simple absolute “Must’s” I need to adhere to in order to sink more puts.

First, I must Focus on the moment—what do I need to do right now? What’s the strategy? What’s the line to the target? Which way does the grain lay?  Am I facing a straight or breaking put? What’s the best speed? Do I need to be aggressive or apply a gentle stroke, etc.?  In short I need to discern what the situation dictates.

Second, I must Commit to my strategy–full on, no second guessing. Second guessing can get you killed in golf and in life.

Third, I must Follow-through on the strategy I have committed to–focus and Commitment without Follow-through are useless.

In putting that means once I have settled in over my putt, with my direction and pace established in mind minds eye, I need to keep my head in the present—not doing any kind of “lookie yonder” or second guessing, no sneaking a peek early which pulls my body, hands and hence my putter face off the intended stroke track—all sure-fire ways to send my putts anywhere but into the cup.

Interesting, to me, is that I can draw a direct comparison between how I approach putting and how I approach life. I have discovered that the same “3 must’s”—Focus, Commit and Follow-through—applied to help me be a more successful putter, transcend golf and are applicable to every facet of my life–family, financial, career, social, intellectual, physical and spiritual. I can gain tremendous insight into any facet of my life by asking these three simple diagnostic questions:

  • Am I focused on the issue–what parameters do I need to take into account?
  • Am I committed to a specific plan of action—beyond second guessing?
  • What does my follow through need to be?

My challenge—and perhaps yours—is what will I do with what I learn from my answers.

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