Golf Practice "Y"

Defeat Putting Yips

The letter Y is dedicated to helping the 40-50 per cent of golfers who have some form of the yips. The yips are the nervous tension causing golfers to miss short putts.

Yip Cure 1: Understanding exactly what causes the yips.

Concept: Wouldn't it be great if a pharmaceutical company could create a pill to make your yips disappear?

Action: Over-analysis: You may get so caught up in the mechanics of the stroke that you paralyze your movement. You may become so self-conscious of your body position and putting stroke that you find yourself watching the putterhead go back and come through the ball. Or you may look up to see how the ball rolls.

Steering: Instead of letting the putter head swing through the ball, you may find yourself steering and guiding the ball into the hole because of a lack of confidence in your putting stroke. Tension can cause you to push the putter head toward the hole, getting your wrists or legs into the act at the same time.

You need to work on making a smaller backswing to produce a faster through swing.

Nervous: Getting nervous over a putt is a sure way to miss. Without confidence, you allow all manner of negative thoughts to enter your head and your play. What can you do to make the putt? Will it go in? Can you lose the hole or the match by missing? Will you feel embarrassed in front of the other players by missing?

Anxiety: Your yips may be caused by anxiety over making a putt. If you look up too quickly you may not complete the stroke, pulling or pushing with your hands. Your hands may even shake and wobble.

Alignment: If you line up incorrectly before you hit the putt, and you misalign your putter head, your body may subconsciously cause you to alter the swing path in mid stroke, in an attempt to make a correction. To correct the path of your putter in mid stroke is immensely difficult and likely to result in a push or pull, or the putter head may cut across the ball and cause it to spin.

Yip Cure 2: Keep your head still.

Concept: Looking up or peeking to see if the ball goes into the hole is a sure way to miss a putt. Resist the temptation to watch the ball. Keep your head still over the ball and stare down at the empty spot the ball used to occupy before you hit the putt.

Action: On the putting green, place a small coin underneath your ball to focus on once the putt has left. Listen to hear if the putt falls. You may also catch yourself watching your putter head go back away from the ball and come back through contact.

Don't allow your eyes to follow the putter head during the stroke. To help focus on the ball, pick a small, noticeable mark on the ball to look at. Keep your eyes fixed on the brand name, printed logo, a simple dimple, or an identification mark throughout your stroke.

Yip Cure 3: Look away.

Concept: Smooth out impact by distracting your brain.

Action: Hit a few putts with your eyes focused on the hole. This takes away the vision of the impact position and helps you to accelerate past the ball.

Research indicates that players with the yips have rapid eye movements during the stroke. The eyes transmit the necessary club information to the brain and the rapid eye movement interferes with brain/muscle control. With the eyes focused on the hole, the player receives information about the club head, stroke path and putter momentum through the hands instead.

Yip Cure 4: Shock therapy.

Concept: New feels trigger new pathways in the brain.

Action: Hit the middle of the golf ball with the bottom portion (leading edge) of the putter. Of course, you wouldn’t use this type of putt in a real game, but it is great shock therapy.

Yip Cure 5: Technique.

Concept: A breakdown in your right wrist can result in the yips. Often, a breakdown or flick of the wrist happens before impact. This is a mechanical flaw that sends the putt off-line.

Action: Use different grips. The claw or the reverse overlap grip can eliminate this mechanical flaw. Also, hit some putts using your lead hand and completely neutralize your other hand by tucking it in your pocket. You may find you putt more solidly this way. This learning experience may tell you that when your right hand is gripping the putter, it is the cause of the flipping before impact.

BONUS: Try out different putters.

The Belly Putter

The belly putter is longer than the traditional putter and shorter than the long putter.

As the name implies, you grip the belly putter by anchoring the top butt end of the club into your belly. Anchoring the putter in your belly causes the motion of the stroke to become simpler and more reliable, like a pendulum effect.

The Long Putter

Long putters cannot be swung without free-flow. The weight of the putter head swings by itself, straight back and forth like the pendulum on a clock