Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Seeing the Line

Source; lockedinputting.com
I had a rare experience on the golf course last weekend which leads me to this post “Seeing the Line”.  I somehow managed to shoot a record low five under par 31 on the back nine of Saturdays round.  I have only ever made five birdies in a round a few times but never in a nine hole stretch.  This comes after I managed to shoot a less than impressive forty two on the front nine.  Given the weather conditions around here this time of the year I was not all that disappointed with the score on the front.  The fairways and greens are soft and wet, we had a consistent breeze and the greens are bumpy from fall aeration.  However, given it is late November we are just happy to be playing.

After the round one of my fellow players asked me what the difference was on the back nine.  At the time I stated that I had more looks at birdie on the back than I did on the front.  On the front nine I could not get the ball on the green in regulation, so very few birdie putts.  Consequently, this lead to a bunch of bogeys as I was unable to get up and down for par.  I was striking the ball great but my chipping was horrendous.  So, like a lot of amateurs I squandered shot after shot with poor chipping.

However, after having some time to reflect on the round I came to the realization that the difference on the back nine was that I saw the line.  This usually happens to me a few times each season but it is pretty rare.  Allow me to explain what I mean by seeing the line.  When I line up a putt I have a standard routine like most people.  I get directly behind the ball and do the best to read the break, usually plumb bob the line and get an understanding and feel for the speed.  When I get over the ball, I line up my putt for the ball to travel on the intended line I have selected and attempt to roll the ball on that line.  On most days I make some putts and miss some others.  However, once in a while I see the line and nothing else.  I get the sensation while reading the putt that I cannot miss.  When I get over the putt, my focus narrows, everything else around me seems to silence and I get the feeling that the putt is going in.  I focus solely on holing the putt and not missing.  I do not concern myself with hitting it too hard, too easy or that I have misread the putt.  I trust my feel, touch and read, then release the putter head.

That is what happened to me on Saturday’s round on the back nine.  I wish I knew how to harness the feeling or call upon it at will.  I guess the lesson I can take from this weekend is that I should try and apply that focus, routine, concentration and confidence every time I stand over a putt.  Perhaps that will be one of my primary putting goals for next year.

What do you do in your putting routine to see the line? 

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