Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #11

Click play to listen to Greg’s Podcast, or read below.

It’s just four days until 2021. I hope you had a great Christmas and got lots of golf supplies! This is the first year I can remember where I didn’t get a dozen Titelist Golf Balls, oh well, I did get a new Ping Putter, and they aren’t cheap. For the last ten years I’ve blamed my putting on the putter not the puttie, but I have been practicing on my living room carpet, and even though the carpet is much slower than even a fuzzy winter green, it has helped.

I’ve always been a wrist putter, and you’ll notice most pro’s are arm and shoulder putters. With regard to putting, it’s do as I say, not as I do, and if you are new to the game, I would recommend using the arm motion and lock your wrists in place. I won two best putter trophies in Junior Golf, but I don’t play 300 rounds per year anymore and I’m not 17, so I’m trying to adopt this new style of arm and shoulder putting. I think it’s going to work in the long run.

As a person ages his nerves aren’t what they used to be, causing a flinching, which has been termed “the yips.” I’ve been known to miss a four foot putt by a foot because of this condition, and the only thing that seems to cure the problem is taking wrist out of the stroke, hitting the putt firmly, and not worrying about missing it. The idea is the hole gets in the way of the ball. You’re actually trying to putt the ball past the hole. I believe I could break 80 again if I could sink all my short putts. True there’s nothing like the feeling of hitting a 250 yard drive or a long-iron to the center of the green, but the old saying “drive for show, putt for dough” still applies, just ask Lee Trevino. He had to retire because he lost his putting touch, same with Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.

So the next time the temperature hits 50 and you have an hour of free time, instead of rushing out to play six holes, go to the putting green.

I’ve discovered several fun putting games which are even more fun if you have competition and put a hot chocolate in the outcome. My favorite is closest to the hole. In my prime I could beat just about anyone in this game. The idea is to pick a putt of about 20 feet, and lag the ball a few inches short of the hole. The person closest to the hole gets one point, but if someone hits your ball, they lose a point. For extra difficulty you can even add the rule that you lose another point if the ball falls below the hole. But that can be open to interpretation and could lead to words or worse. In this game you get two points for sinking the putt, and if someone sinks on top of you they get four points. The person that gets the most points on a hole gets to pick the next putting position on the practice green. First to 21 points wins. We’ll talk about another putting game next time.

Happy New Year, and good luck on the greens!