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The closer you get to the hole the greater your fear of failure becomes. From a coaching perspective there are a number of question marks raised by this statement. I will consider the most significant and leave the rest for your coaching session. You must come to love the fact that a missed putt is not a failure, it is however feedback. Every golfer needs to integrate this thought in to their game, and accept and process the feedback offered to improve their feel for future putts.
Unfortunately you are most likely not aware of the wide range of techniques that your subconscious offers at this stage of the hole. Access to these techniques, and an ability to use them effectively, will increase your putting game and statistics considerably. I can provide a range of coaching exercises that will improve your feel for putting and your overall awareness of the characteristics of the putt before you.
Putting obviously is at the end of the hole, and at that point you may be holding on to some anger and frustration from earlier shots as well as some bad breaks offered by the game – nothing like finishing in a divot to produce an extra putt on the green. Finally having your target in site, the focus on not dropping any more shots increases exponentially the closer you get. Each potential miss seems more destructive that the last. So how do you not only manage your emotional state at the same time as executing a putt that has so many physical factors reducing the chance of success? The weather, condition of the hole, type of grass, nap of the grass are all less obvious factors beyond distance and line that should be made available to your subconcious mind. These will be considered one at a time based on an assessment of your putting game.
This expression sums up quite nicely the relative importance of putting and driving. Obviously both play a crucial part in the game, but how many times do you typically use each club in a round of golf? A ratio of 3:1 or even 4:1 in favour of putting seems plausible. How many times do you see somebody drive three times compared to putt three or even four times on a hole? You may change club on the tee for a provisional, but there’s nothing that you can change physically on the green when three feet from the hole with a six inch break unless you fancy putting with a blade or a wood. However you can change your approach, you can improve your feel, your awareness, your emotional state and consider how beneficial the feedback from the putt before you be will irrespective of the result.
I provide you with Mental Game techniques that will improve your putting. Techniques include improving your feel, cognitive green games, managing your fear of failure, visualisation, reducing anxiety produced by competitive play, negating perceived past failures, improving your reading of the line and length of the putt and developing an effective routine both before and just as importantly after the putt.
But be warned. As a coach I will not recognise any outcome as a failure. You as a golfer should adopt the same stance. There is no failure, only feedback and learning. This goes a long way towards managing your emotional state, however it is a learning process itself that more often than not needs to be built in to a coaching plan.