Do you remember when you were much younger and putted like youth possessed? You were fearless and confident. You just felt that every putt was going in.
What's happened since then? Why do we now stand next to our ball on the putting green and have all these negative thoughts rushing through our heads? And it just keeps getting worse the older we get.
Sam Snead holds the record for most tournament wins at 82 official and 70 others over his career. At the end of his career, he made the statement “I've shot a charging elephant at 10 feet that skidded to it's death at my feet and I was never as scared as I am at a 4 foot putt. "
What is going on here? Here is a man that knew how to win, obviously. He knew how to hold a putter and use it as well as anyone for 4 decades. And he was afraid of 4 foot putts! He developed such a bad case of what is known as “The YIps" that he went to putting “croquet" style, or rather, putting between his legs.
This enraged the purists after he won a tournament putting that way that they immediately put a new rule in that said you have to stand at the side of the ball. Bobby Jones was said to be instrumental in getting that rule changed.
So what does all this have to do with us and our golf putting game? Everything. Have you put two and two together yet from the ideas presented here?
We go from total fearlessness in our youth to a complete wreck as we get older. Why is this? It's because we store all those misses over the years in our unconscious golf mind storage facility. You see, it's very easy and lazy for us to think about what went wrong and that's because we are hard-wired to do that as humans.
For instance, way back when we were all farmers and cave dwellers, when we made a mistake with our efforts at providing food, clothing and shelter, it could result in death! So we would constantly be looking at our mistakes to see if we could do the task better next time. We would run the problem over and over in our mind until we went about the task again, this time hoping to do it more efficiently so that we could eat or escape the weather! Going over our errors was a matter of life and death in those days.
Fast forward to today. We still do the same thing with our daily tasks. We get feedback from something we attempted to accomplish and then work on improving how to do the task better the next time. This works well for us when we are talking about using our conscious mind to do things. Unfortunately, it wreaks havoc on our golf game because your best golf, as you know, is played with your UNconscious mind.
So every time you miss a putt you thought you should have made, your unconscious mind begins to store it as another failure. The older we get, the more failures we have stored up in our memory banks. These failures get presented to our conscious mind right when we don't want them to; when we have a crucial putt that we believe we should make.
Youth doesn't have that problem because, well, they just haven't missed that many yet. Even Tiger Woods himself has said recently that when he was young, he just felt like every putt was going in. Every putt! This suggests that even HE gets the doubts at times.
So what do we do about this so that we can start putting with the mindset we had as a teenager? Because we all know that confidence is everything, especially in putting. Shoot, there's even a book by a famous golf psychologist about golf and confidence.
The answer is to release the negative emotions, decisions, beliefs, and attachments we have to the memories of all those missed putts in a Gestalt we've created in our unconscious.
What? What the heck did you just say. . . Gestalt?
Ok, without getting technical, since it's the Unconscious Mind that stores these memories and brings them back up at the worst time, we have to find ways to communicate with it on it's level. The only ways I know of are Hypnosis, NLP, and Timeline techniques.
I'll write more on those modalities in other articles. Greens and fairways,
Craig Sigl, The Golf Anti-practice expert is a Master and Trainer of Hypnosis, NLP and Timeline techniques. Visit his website: www.break80golf.com for a free ecourse and ebook on lowering your scores Without Practice.