Guyatt’s putting revelation - PGA of Australia

Guyatt’s putting revelation


A week or so ago I came home from another trip to Japan and was a little disappointed.

A week or so ago I came home from another trip to Japan and was a little disappointed.

"MatthewI had played really well and shot four sub par rounds for the week
finishing at 10-under par.

Why would I be disappointed with that I hear you ask?

Well I didn’t putt well and once again felt as though that part of
my game let the rest of my game down again!

That
Monday I sat down at my computer and decided to do some research. I looked up
the PGA Tour putting stats for this year to date.

What I found will change me forever I hope. The numbers were
amazing.

I looked at putts from three feet to 10 feet and then in some
larger brackets beyond that out to 25 feet.

I looked at the best, the number one ranked player and his
percentage of putts holed from all of those distances and then also looked at
the 10th player and also the last placed player from every distance.

What I found in a nutshell without really boring you completely to
tears was that from inside five feet the number one putter is exceptional and
is nearly at 100% although 10th place only makes around 88% from five feet
whilst last place makes only 61% from five feet.

The numbers continue to considerably slide the further you get
from the hole which is understandable but what shocked me were the numbers.

From 10 feet the best is at a very respectable 73% but 10th place
drops to 57% whilst last place is only making 17% from that range.

I guess what I am getting at here is that for a very, very long
time I have been expecting to make more putts than the best putters in the
world.

Unrealistic expectations and that have over a number of years
built the pressure on the greens and caused me to spiral downwards mentally to
the point of suffering the yips and incredible mental instability in the
greens.

When the best in the world is making 13% from 20 feet why and how
did I get away with believing I should be making them all and criticising
myself each time I missed.

It was probably the most valuable hour I have spent on my game
this year.

I am playing great at the moment but that doesn’t matter when your
brain is being told lies the minute you get to the green.

The past two days I have added to my study by spending some
considerable time with Cameron Stachan, a putting coach that I have come across
through a mutual friend.

When
Cameron and I went to the course to play I flushed it down the middle and
wedged it to about 10 feet.

From there I hit my putt which came up short and I tapped it in
for par.

Cameron came across and said something very profound to me….he
said, "I watched you play that hole and from the tee to the green you were
dancing, moving beautifully to the music and then the minute you got on the
green it looked like you no longer knew how to dance, you were lost and your
brain looked like it was in overdrive trying to find answers!"

He said, "The hardest part of the hole technically was to hit
that tee shot 250m down the middle with a slight draw and you didn’t give it
any thought or time. Yet when you got to the easiest part of the hole
technically, you actually almost froze and gave it far more brain power than
the tee shot!"

How true he was and how valuable this putting lesson was going to
be.

Not only was I placing unrealistic expectations on my putting but
I was also doing it all wrong.

I wasn’t dancing at all, I was thinking too much about outcomes,
fearing them even, and also just generally over thinking the easiest skill in
the game.

For
a person who plays the game so much on feel and in fact loves playing
instinctive sports too, my putting game hasn’t matched that since I was a young
kid.

I have often thought I am better at other sports where thinking
happens on the run unlike golf where we have an abundance of time to think. For
me that has been the killer.

Here’s the big one, if a person who had never played golf before
was given the task of hitting a driver 250 metres down the middle and hitting a
10 feet putt to the hole, we all know they would have far more success hitting the
putt, yet I make that process the hardest and most difficult.

Over
the course of the day I was taught and finally started to roll the ball, stay
in the bubble, look and react, putt instinctively and more.

I felt free for the first time in forever and coupled with my
study I felt as though I didn’t have to make putts!

The irony of it all was that now I started making putts!

There is loads of more relevant repetition ahead of me but I would
be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited!

Stay tuned for more and my advice is that you don’t think about
how to throw a ball to a person, you just do it, allow the power of your brain
and instincts to work and you may just be amazed at what happens! Enjoy your
golf!

Thanks
Cameron!

—–

Matthew Guyatt is a Tour Professional competing on both the
PGA Tour of Australasia and Japan Golf Tour. You can follow his progress on Tour via his blog or on twitter.


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