No-look putting

I've always been fascinated in listening to someone try to explain to a new golfer how hard he should hit a particular put, as if there is some scientific formula to it. There is not. I remember reading an article more than thirty years ago that talked about using one inch of backswing and one inch of follow through for each foot between you and the hole. In other words, the article said, for a five foot put, try 5 inches of backswing and 5 inches of follow through. This is probably an excellent starting point (that's how I started to learn "feel" on the putting green) but is by no means the end of the story.

I've always believed that you can't put this thought process into words any more than baseball player can tell you how he differentiates between a short toss from second to first base and a longer, harder throw to home plate. How does Eli Manning know how hard to throw a "touch" screen pass to his running back versus a long bomb to over the middle to David Tyree (sorry Patriots fans). They don't really know how they do it, they just do it!

I think this kind of applies to putting as well which is why a recent "tip" article in Golf Magazine caught my eye. The gist of the piece was that a baseball pitcher doesn't look at the ball when he's pitching, he looks at his catcher, or target. A quarterback focuses on his receiver, not the ball. So why shouldn't a golfer look at his target, the hole, when he's putting?

I immediately went to the putting green and tried it out with amazing results, especially on long putts. I'd look at the putt, look at the cup, judge the break, line up my putter's head to what I judged to be the line, then focused back on the cup and held my eyes on it as I stroked the ball. On long putts of 20 to 30 feet, the ball was stopping inside a 3-foot radius from the hole almost every time, with several putts dropping in! I was astounded.

During my next round I tried putting a couple of long putts in this "no-look" manner with disappointing results. I wasn't even close. So now I've adopted the method as a good drill on the putting green, but continue to look at the ball when putting during an actual round. I have, however, made one change to my on course putting game: now, just before I actually stroke the ball, I consciously think to myself, "toss it in the hole". This seems to force my mind and body to make that pitcher-catcher, quarterback-receiver correlation and makes me putt the way my mind and body already subconsciously know how to putt! So far the results have been great, but I assume that that too, like everything else in golf, will change soon enough. is a site dedicated to the belief that you don't have to break the bank to play good golf and enjoy your time on the golf course

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