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Mental Game Mastery, Issue #123, Monthly Ezine -- Birdie or Bogey?
June 26, 2008

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Playing for birdie or protecting par?

I've had numerous conversations this past month with clients and customers of my mental game course around putting for birdie. the comments are: "I can make tough par and even bogey saving putts but don't seem to convert my birdie chances." Sound familiar?

This is a critical area of playing your best golf. After all, if you don't make birdies at some point, it's hard to shoot really low scores. Yet even for the higher handicap player a par is a birdie so read this with that in mind.

This situation is so consistent among players it's almost a proverb. Let's look at how to alter your relationship to putting for par or birdie. First let's look into the mindset that causes this and with that we'll see a clear path to follow to drastically improve our conversion rate of important putts.

It Matters More

Our comfort zones tend to build how we approach a putt. If we're not used to birdies then a clutch putt to us is a par putt. We "buckle down", so to speak and drain the putt. Our focus in fact narrows. This is the key.

The par putt is a "must make" to keep within our comfort zone. Our typical scoring area. Whereas a birdie is a bonus. If the putt doesn't go, "oh well, it's still an easy par." Do you see the difference so far?

You want to walk into a putt with the mindset this is a "must make". I know some people say "well this creates more pressure and that's not good is it?" Yes! What's happening isn't an increase in pressure, no. It's an increased narrowness of your attention. Your mind and body align together because your focus improves.

Treat the birdie lie it's a par putt

When you treat your birdie putt like it's a much needed par you increase your attention on the hole and the line and really allow your best to come forth. Yesterday I hit only 7 greens (I know, poor ball striking!) but had 3 birdies. My conversion on greens hit is very high.

I clutch up on par putts as well to keep rounds going and then approach birdies with the same mindset. I advise clients to do this very thing and trust it for about 10 rounds. Once you do this your mindset is rock solid. You don't relax too much on birdie putts because you "have a stroke to play with."

Make sure you visualize your putt clearly before walking into the address position and then once again when you take looks at the hole before making your stroke. Combine this with the mindset this is a must make, makes you a clutch putter. Birdie or par. It won't matter.

Enjoy and go low!


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