Symptom: Three putts from close range, especially when the first putt goes well past the cup, and you miss the comeback putt. You are frustrated and just want to leave the green and figure you’ll just tap it in…but it ain’t so simple, is it?
Description: After a bad miss, do a complete reset, go though your routine, and re-read your putt. It’s usually a very different putt than the one you just missed. And now, you have new information that will help you make a better read. Plus, you need to cool down.
Why it Works: Of course, the ideal missed putt finishes about 18 inches past the cup on the high side. But, sometimes we all underestimate the speed or slope of the green and end up several feet past the hole. Or the putt lips out and goes off in a new direction. Or whatever. The key is that you decide what to do next based on what just happened. The comeback putt will be uphill and have less break than your first (downhill) putt, so aim accordingly.
The Comeback Putt is a New Putt
It is an instinctive, emotional reaction to not want to repeat your first mistake on the next putt, but BE CAREFUL! The reason the putt went so far by the cup in the first place may be because you misread the speed. This same logic means that the comeback putt is probably MORE UPHILL (and therefore slower) than you think! The key word here is “think”, as in “stop and think about what you are doing”.
By the same logic, if you miss a flat putt by playing too much break, play a bit less break on your comeback putt. And take your time to line it up. To see what happens when you don’t, have a look at Charl Schwartzel — he four-putts playing too much break three times in a row! Charl doesn’t take the time to reset himself and re-read the putt, he’s obviously disgusted and just trying to get off the green. Sound familiar? Have a look:
An easy way to make sure you do a reset is to mark your ball and align the line on your ball to your target. This act, while a good idea in itself, can reset your mind and force you to slow down, rather than just slapping the ball towards the cup. Do it even if you just have a two-footer left, you’ll be glad you did.
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