It’s not for everyone, but there are a lot of people who love this sport and enjoy watching it. If you’re one of them, read the blog.
As the name implies, this is a blog about the golf putting game, in particular about picking off better golf balls — that is, putting better because you know how to pick off better golf balls. The focus is on fundamentals: how to pick up a golf ball, how to turn it over on the green, and how to putt. There’s very little emphasis on strategy or tactics.
The author does not publish every article as a blog post, so if you see an article that asks you a question about how to putt better golf balls (e.g., “What do I do when my putter breaks?”), email him at firstname.lastname@example.org (not “big shots” or “BPaugherty”) and he’ll send you his answer.
In golf, the most successful approach is to be a big shot-ball picker up. High percentage shots are easy if you know how to pick them off the trees, and in a short tournament those are the ones that matter. So if you have the ability to putt well, you will have a good chance of winning.
It’s not really about how well you can putt, though. It’s about how good your mind is at picking off low-percentage shots. A lot of people can putt well, but they tend to miss high percentage shots while putting. They get carried away with their mood swings and focus on the wrong things, and they end up throwing away their good putts while trying to make low-percentage ones. You need to be able to keep your focus on the right things while still being able to pick off your opponents’ low-percentage putts.
I’ve put it off long enough. I’m going to start a blog, and I’m going to call it “big shots golf.”
The reason is that people hear the word “golf” and think of the sport as an elite, high-status activity like golf driving or golf putting. But to me the word “golf” means just how we play the game; that is, I play at a par-three course, where we hit balls onto greens. What’s important about this particular game is not the equipment or the equipment setup, but how we use the equipment to do what we want to do.
I will write about how to be a better golfer, because with luck and good technique you can improve your golf very quickly. There are techniques for hitting out of sand traps and bunkers, for hitting into trouble spots, for hitting long and short irons, for hitting wedges, for hitting putts that look like putts but go in instead of out, for making putt after putt after putt after putt—and my point is not that you need all these techniques. As long as you’ve got enough that work reliably and are easy to remember and use consistently, you should have enough for now.
The most important question for a golf putter is How do I get better? Not What is my handicap?, or “What kind of golfer am I?” or “How should I play the course?” or “How can I avoid losing my tee time?” Just, “How do I get better?”
The answer to that question can be found in the professional golfers’ world. The answer to that question can be found in their approach to practice. The answer to that question can be found in the way they choose their golf balls.
It used to be common knowledge among amateurs that pro golfers practice with cheap balls so they don’t break them. Now it seems obvious, but it wasn’t obvious then. It was new information.
When you watch a pro golfer hit a ball, he doesn’t just watch his swing; he watches his ball flight. And he watches his club face and club head speed, too. He even watches the grass and where the ball landed when he’s done practicing. He wants to know what happened before he did what he did.
The average person can’t hang with the pros. So why are they so good at golf?
First, they’ve got a lot of practice. For some reason, the pros’ playing times are often measured in centuries: Open Championship, 36-hole tournament, match play tournament over 36 holes. That’s just a few days a week for decades. If you’re not ready to play that much golf, then you’re not ready for competition at the highest level.
Second, their accuracy is inhuman. Even when they throw straight it’s still haphazardly accurate; but when they putt well, it’s diamond-perfect. The pro knows how to putt on the green (and knowing how to do that is what makes you a good player), and he knows where the green should be by making sure he puts his ball there every time.
The higher you go in the golf world, the more important putting becomes.
The first time I had a chance to see Tiger Woods play live was at the Pebble Beach pro-am in 2002, and he still looked like a kid. He was 20 years old that week.
That’s not just because of his youth: maybe if he were 10 years younger he would have looked like a kid. But even if you’re 30 or 40 (I’m 38), you don’t look like a kid when you play golf as well as Tiger does. If you do, you’re probably not Tiger Woods.
The other thing that makes Tiger look young is that he’s so much better than everyone else at hitting the ball on to the green. Everyone knows this, but it’s hard to appreciate when you don’t see it every day. When I watch him hit the ball, I can’t help thinking how much easier it must be for him than anyone else. All he has to do is swing his clubhead through the ball and then putt it in the hole – except that if he misses his putt he doesn’t have to make another stroke (though if he does miss, there’s nothing wrong with trying again).
This is why so many high-level
The human skill of hitting a golf ball is complicated and subtle. It’s a game that is played so well that we have no idea how to explain it. There are some basic rules, but they break down when you try to apply them.
I’ve been thinking about the game for a while now, and I think the basic problem is that we are all too confident in our abilities. We know how to play golf, we think; it’s just a matter of getting better at it.
The problem with this approach is that you need to be able to recognize when you need improvement, which means you need to be able to take note of what you’re doing wrong. The most important thing about golf is knowing what not to do.
So here are some tips: