It is time to face the truth. Our New Year’s resolutions are bound not to happen. We commit to them every year and are sure that this time we will indeed cut down on sweets, we will begin to work out more, travel more, or care less. However, by the end of the year, most of us realize nothing has changed. And the circle starts over again. But don’t worry, if it were that easy, we would all be eating healthy and running marathons. Habits take time to form and therefore, it also takes a lot of time and dedication to change them again. Since putting practice falls into the category – we should do more, but don’t – let’s have a look into how you can effectively change that habit and finally stay committed to your practice with these five simple tips.
Tip 1: Find your reason
Before starting to commit yourself to more putting practice (or any other New Year’s resolution), you should ask yourself “why haven’t I done it in the past?”. We generally tend to tell ourselves it is not our fault or that we just don’t have time to practice more. However, those are just excuses and we overlook the real reasons for our behaviors. Because honestly, all of us will find 5 minutes of our time to do things we really want. If you were to be committed, you would hop on your PuttView System for whatever amount of time or putt on the carpet in the office.
For putting, one of the real reasons you might dread it could be because you don’t know how to practice efficiently. Maybe other parts of golf are more fun for you, or you can’t find a way to map out improvements and this leads to frustration and indifference to your practice. No matter what your reason is, it is important to answer this question for yourself. Our brain is designed to be efficient, and we form shortcuts that will help us solve our cognitive dissonances. We find strategies and form behaviors that fix the problem but are not necessarily the best solution. Once you have identified the underlying reason for your behavior, you will find it a lot easier to tackle it and find a new coping mechanism.
Putting practice is not always fun for people. The reason, however, is not because they don’t have a fancy PuttView System at home or they don’t have time to drive to the golf course. Most of the time people make excuses for entirely different reasons. Therefore, it is important that you know and understand yours.
Tip 2: Be truthful to yourself
Being bored is a feeling, that no one likes. Yet, practice can be a boring and dreadful task which we put ourselves through to achieve a specific goal. This goal could be to hole more putts, to lower your handicap, or to beat your friend the next time you play a competitive round together. It is very important to have a goal in mind that will help remind you why you are doing what you are doing.
Just because you have a goal though, doesn’t mean you will like the way there all the time. And that is ok. You don’t have to. In fact, you might find it helpful to accept those negative, dreadful moments as something that just is what it is. Ask yourself why you do not want to practice your putting on a day, that you told yourself you would do it. And, again, start looking for a solution that works for you. If it rains, maybe you can commit to putting on your PuttView System or, if you don’t have one, on your carpet at home. You can still have a purposeful practice and won’t have to leave the house. If you feel stressed due to work or other commitments, you can ask yourself where your priorities are that day. Do you need some time to rest before you are ready to practice? Or would some coffee or music help? Even if this means you decide to skip a practice day, you can commit to an additional 10 minutes the next day. Either way, instead of making new excuses, be honest to yourself and find a solution that will help you stick to your goals.
Making excuses for things we don’t want to do is simple. And it is just as easy to condemn ourselves for it. However, accepting the process it takes to make lasting changes in your behavior, will lead to fewer excuses and more strategies that will include your desired outcome.
Tip 3: Make a difference
A habit is something that is formed through continuous repetition. It is not easy to break habits and therefore you will need to make a conscious effort to change things. Instead of heading straight to the driving range the next time you are on the golf course you could sneak in five minutes on the putting green. Or you could challenge yourself to hole ten 5ft putts before you proceed to the first tee. Make sure you consciously make decisions that are different from your usual routine. This will make it easier for your brain to form new connections and create new habits.
Practice your putting with a purpose. Only if you know what you are practicing for and how you practice your putting, will you be able to enjoy the process.
Tip 4: Putting Practice with a purpose
Additionally, you should make sure that you make a plan for your practice. As mentioned above, a lot of your lack of interest in practicing your putting more often is probably due to a missing plan. How can you perform a task, when you do not know what the task is? Most golfers randomly hit putts on the putting green, not knowing why they holed the putt, or why they didn’t. And then end up calling that practice. Yet, what are the lessons learned?
Before going to the putting green or onto your PuttView System, you should ask yourself what you struggle with most during your rounds. Do you feel like you are three putting too much? Do you miss too many short putts? Or, do you lack the ability to anticipate what your ball is going to do on the green? Analyze the areas that you feel like you need improvement in and write them down. Now, you can look into ways of practicing those skills.
For inspiration, you can also look at our practice site where we offer various practice drills with and without PuttView that will help you improve your putting . Again, most importantly you need to know what your goal for your practice time is. With this sense of purpose, it won’t be dreadful anymore for you to head to the putting green.
Keep track of your performance. Writing down your goals and challenges can be a great way to understand what you have already accomplished and where you still need to put in a little more work.
Tip 5: Keep track and stay entertained
Last but not least, you should keep track of your performance. It might seem like a very simple thing yet it will help you appreciate the hours you put in and will keep you from falling back into old habits as you will be able to see your improvements over time.
To be able to do that, you should ensure to make your progress and goals measurable and as precise as possible. If you simply count the number of putts you made during a round, or look at your PuttView statistics to see how many balls you holed out, you will miss the main purpose of your practice. Instead, tell yourself for example to only have three 3-putts during a competitive round and no more than two missed putts from within 2ft.
The goals you picked should both be attainable as well as challenging. This way you will not lose interest in keeping up with your performance and additionally, you added a layer of fun to something that you dreaded before.
Fun and entertainment should be a vital part of your routine. By challenging yourself to become better as well as finding ways to reward yourself for it, you can achieve that and make putting practice something to enjoy.
By following those 5 simple tips, you will be able to finally stick to your new routine. Putting does not have to be lame or boring, as long as you know what you are trying to achieve. Yes, there will be days where you do not feel like going onto the putting green and even with more practice, you will have days where it seems like you can’t hole a putt.
The important thing is that you manage your own expectations realistically and instead of condemning yourself for not wanting to practice, you should make sure you find the underlying reason for not wanting to go. Now, you can start the new year with a new habit and this time next year you will be even more proud of yourself for achieving your goals and the progress you made. Enjoy!
Anni, as most people call her, is our Marketing and Communication Manager. She is a former college golf player at the University of Mobile where she also made the All-Decade-Team (2010-2020) and loves all things golf. After graduating in Communications as well as English Language and Literature, she moved to Hamburg to become an editor for GOLF MAGAZIN, Germany's number one golf magazine. After four years as an editor Anni now brings her expertise to the PuttView Team