Cinching the Putt: Get More Active to Feel the Stroke

There is just something about putting that makes some golfers wince. They could be playing a great game up until that point when suddenly they begin to choke when they have to make the clutch putt. They might overthink about what they have to do to make the shot, tense up due to the anxiety, and then become frustrated when they miss as they want to start throwing clubs and cursing into the wind. Unfortunately, it isn’t just amateurs that experience problems with clutch putting. Former baseball and soccer player Charles Hoffman wanted to improve his putting to get more PGA wins, yet something was missing from his gameplay. Naturally athletic, there was just something wrong that was getting in his way of transferring his athletic capabilities from his soccer and baseball days to his current golf game.Charles Hoffman Finding His Athletic Nature to Improve His Putting Short game instructor James Sieckmann could see what was happening. It was the mental aspect of making the putt that was actually hampering Hoffman's swing. As Hoffman stepped up to the ball, he became tentative during the backswing. He didn't have a feel for what he wanted to do when staring at the hole and wasn't reacting at the right tempo to sink the ball.

Feel the Stroke and Then React Correctly

James Sieckmann's goal was to make Hoffman's swing more active instead of hesitant. He wanted to create the same feeling for every stroke so that Hoffman wasn't always dwelling on making the right decision when making the clutch putt, which could increase his anxiety on whether he was making the right decision as he would slow down his tempo during the backswing. Instead, it would be more of a natural reaction to him in an effort to build up his confidence by having a steadier tempo. For Hoffman's case, his putting improved significantly during 2016 when using this method. When sinking a 10-foot birdie putt during his game in Texas, he was able to earn his PGA Tour win for the fourth time.

Any Player Can Cinch the Clutch Putt with Practice

Sieckmann's teachings can help anyone who find themselves second guessing themselves when putting. All it requires is getting out to the practice green. Instead of focusing your attention on the ball and the swing, look at the hole. Practice your putting technique while also making regular strokes until you find the right tempo based on the distance of where you make the shot. Through this repetition, you will react better when facing the same scenario out on the golf course. Instead of letting indecision hamper your mind, you will be more active when making the backswing and have a better tempo to make the clutch putt.
May 23, 2016 — Natalie Montoya

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