Jordan Spieth, as you might have noticed, looks at the hole on some of his shorter putts.
This forces him to react to the target. Remember, you can’t follow the putter with your eyes. Putting whilst looking at the hole works.
A lot of people find it helps your rhythm and stops you steering the ball. Most guide it and watch what the putter is doing. But if you throw something, you look at the target
and not what you’re throwing. But, in golf, you're side on, and that means you’re looking at the ball and not your target, so that frees you up.
Not just a drill
Traditionally, this has been used as a long putting drill to get you a bit looser over the ball and get your eyes looking at the target. This, in turn, tells the brain how hard to hit it. Ask any top player what they’re thinking when it comes to how much speed they put on their putts and they’ll say ‘nothing’.
When players struggle with putting, they’re usually thinking about how far back to take the putter and how to control the speed. Guys who putt well just putt.
Don’t be scared
This tip is designed to get you more towards the instinctive end of the spectrum. There are guys who have won on tour with their eyes shut. Guys have won on tour looking at the target. But the general public seem to be afraid to try stuff that may help, even if it is not deemed ‘normal’.
Johnny Miller won putting with his eyes shut. If it works, fine. You’re not going to miss the ball. It might stress you too much because you’ll think people are looking at you as it’s not conventional, but you’re not going to miss the ball.
Most people struggle with putting because of doubt. They look at the hole, then the ball and nothing happens. Then there’s a panic attack.
They either rush the backswing, there’s no flow, or they don’t know how to start the backswing. But if you have a definitive way to start the stroke, then it’s going to help.
In the long game, some guys kick their knee, some tilt their head, some have forward presses - but I think moving the butt of the putter ever so slightly forward is a good way to start. That’s what Spieth does and he’s putting better than anyone else right now.
David Patrick PGA Professional, teaches at Kingsfield Golf Range. For lessons, call David on 07773 427 233. Follow him on Twitter at @shortgamedoctor.