Marius Filmalter: A friendly wager will improve your focus on greens
I do provide full-swing instruction to some of my tour players, but my real passion is on the putting green. Although I consider myself a fair player, having played a few years professionally in Europe, I consider myself an excellent putter. I still have those competitive juices from playing so many years ago, and I often like to challenge my students to putting contests. I do this because I believe a friendly wager helps narrow a player’s focus plus I like to remind my student’s that I can perform what I preach.
These putting games are never for any large amounts; in fact my standard game is a nine-hole match for $1. Now that might not sound like much, but remember that 99 percent of the players on the PGA Tour would rather play in a lightning storm carrying a metal wood over their head than lose any bet on the golf course. And strictly for evidence, I ask any players that lose to me to sign the dollar.
I share this story to remind you folks at home that it is good to practice with a little wager on the line. It doesn’t have to be about money. In fact, I push many of my students to set goals like making 10 or 15 four-footers in a row before they head back to the hotel for the night. Practicing with a purpose will help you focus and be more comfortable when you need to make a putt in a pressure situation.
Just in case you were wondering how the putting competition went this week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC at Las Colinas, well, the old guy came out on top as I took a buck from Tag Ridings [above]. I suspect he will be back for his dollar real soon.
Before I leave you this week, I wanted to discuss a trend that I am seeing more and more with my students. Traditionally, players come to see me when they are struggling on the greens and are looking for some guidance. However, a growing number of players make it a point to see me when they are putting their best. At first glance, it seems pointless to see an instructor when things are good, but I am a strong supporter of it and you can benefit from this practice as well.
Consider the last time you were playing a round and you were putting really well for the first few holes and then the putter seemed to turn cold out of the blue. Most amateurs will get more and more frustrated and the poor putter will end up in an early grave by the end of the round. Instead of letting a cold putter ruin your round, try the following exercise to salvage it:
The next time you have a great day on the greens, instead of immediately celebrating with a couple beers, take a moment to jot a couple points about your day on the greens down on a piece of paper. Did you putt with authority or did you die the ball in the hole? What grip did you use? How many practice strokes did you make before putting? Did you look at the hole before making the putt?
After you are finished writing a couple points down, tuck that piece of paper back in your golf bag for the next time your putter goes cold. Most of my students find that reading these points helps settle them down and often turns around their fortunes on the greens.
Inevitably, someone will say, “Marius, I have never had a good day on the putting green to establish this memory jog.” If that is the case then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a private lesson.
Thanks to all those that ordered the Automatic Putting Package last week. The response was so good I decided to extend the promo code for one more week. Simply visit mariusgolf.com and use promo ‘radio’ in the checkout for $10 off your purchase.
Until next time … cheers!
[Photo: Getty Images]