Creating a reliable routine prior to any shot is vital. It is one of the most important tools you can have. It will help you remain calm and provide a comfortable and familiar environment under pressure. Use it to fall back on when your anxiety levels and emotions are difficult to control.
When putting, it is important to focus on the process and not the outcome. There are many variations to any routine but a sound foundation to build is one that encompasses the following
- Observing the situation
- Deciding on a strategy
- See it
- Feel it
- Trust it
Observing the situation and come up with an appropriate strategy, what are you faced with. Your green reading and strategy should happen very early, before you’re even thinking about the stroke.
Once committed to your strategy, get into your putting set up and make your practice stroke. Take the read you have just made and try to visualize the line your ball will take and then the ball rolling along that line. It takes commitment to make this aspect part of every putt, but as it becomes routine it will help eliminate distractions and keep you in the present when you are under pressure.
Once comfortable with you visualization, time to create a relative feel of the putting stroke you are trying to put on the ball. It is pointless creating a practice putting stroke relative to a 10 foot putt when you actually have a 30 foot putt. While programming in the correct rehearsal of your stroke use your eyes to confirm things for you. There is no point looking at the ground when you are having your practice putting strokes and you are receiving very little feedback. , using one or two key thoughts will help you get the ball rolling well without too much focus on technique.
It is now up to you to run the program off with little disruption of your thoughts and not slip back into the trap of getting caught up in the outcome before you have even hit the putt. By trusting your stroke, you have decided to give the best effort you can on the mechanics and let the rest just happen.