I’ve mentioned this a couple of times over on the Tips & Drills section, here it is in a bit more detail.
Many many years ago I read a golf instructional piece by Nick Faldo in a newspaper back in the UK. It talked about how he would putt and listen to the ball go into the hole rather than look to see if the ball had gone in from short distances. As an impressionable young golfer who idolised the then world numero uno I remember rushing to the putting green soon after to try out this new golden nugget of information.
To this day I think it was one of the most important things I’ve ever read about golf and how to play it.
I say this as after I have selected a target to aim at (not always the hole on a breaking putt!) I still concentrate mostly on keeping my eyes looking straight down once the ball has left the putter face. I try to focus on the spot directly beneath the ball once it has been struck. What is the point of this? Well, for a start, it takes away the temptation to sneak a look to see whether the ball has gone into / is rolling towards the hole. Turning your body to watch the ball roll almost always results in the upper body moving excessively and can cause the putter to quite dramatically travel off line. I’m not saying keeping your body ‘quieter’ whilst putting guarantees the ball will go in the hole, it does however significantly improve your chances of starting the ball rolling on the intended line.
As I have mentioned before, listening to the ball drop into the hole from short distances is one way of testing yourself. Another is to actually putt with your eyes closed completely! It’s not as mad as it may first sound. I usually try this towards the end of a putting session when my stroke is feeling really ground in either on the T3 putting arc or using the chalkline. As long as you continue to perform the same stroke as before, assuming the ball was going in before of course, simply line the putt up and close your eyes just before taking the putter head back. Hopefully you’ll hear the same familiar noise of the ball rattling into the cup. This is a great drill to really ‘feel’ what the putter is doing in your hands rather than being too obsessed with how the stroke looks.
Try it out on the putting green and let me know how you get on. Please feel free to ask any questions below.