You told me that there are no yips with your method of putting, but I have the yips every time I try to putt on short putts and it counts. Sad, but true. I can putt correctly following your instruction in practice but when i try to putt in a match or for a putt that counts, my body shakes and when I try to let gravity win the battle down, I just plain and simple "yip" the putt. It doesn't matter if my right hand is just along for the ride, I just don't seem to be able to stop this.
I can use a "saw" grip like the one Mark O'Meara uses to make a shoulder stroke with gravity but that is as close as I can get, and the straight back and straight through on putts inside 10 feet involves more arm motion and it is much worse then.
Is there anything you can suggest to help me? I am sorry to be a failure. It has been 2 years since I had my lesson and I have not made any progress on this.
I don't recall telling you that there are no yips with my method. What I most likely said was that rhythm helps the yips and a no-hands stroke method helps the yips, both of which I teach and promote.
The yips are neurological disorganization, usually caused by using the dominant hand inappropriately in touchy-feely "sensitive fingers" hand-eye coordination as routinely taught by Dave Stockton Jr. and Stan Utley and lots of confused people who don't seem to know much about human anatomy and what causes the yips. Mark O'Meara teaches "releasing the putter head thru impact with the right hand", which is what caused his yips. But he still apparently teaches and advocates this, and he is the reason Tiger Woods keeps working on this ill-conceived, misguided notion of the putting stroke. It's like a train wreck at the end of the track inviting Tiger to keep coming down the same track. That makes no sense at all, folks.
Your body shaking is partly caused by your being worried about what others think of you when you play golf. The less you care about that, the better. It is also partly due to some "perfectionism" in the personality, that expects every putt to go in, and is unwilling to accept an occasional miss. So lighten up and treat golf as a game, and not life and death, and that should help. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done for some reason -- people (at least men) don't really like golf if it is ONLY a game, now do they?
Bernard Langer clasped the putter handle to his left forearm with his right hand, and this tamed the dominant hand out of the stroke and also made the stroke much more of a left-arm swing. An arm swing in general is better than any swinging of either hand, in terms of getting the yips under control.
A "hit" stroke promotes the yips, as there is an "anticipation" of the hit on the ball that causes the flinching of the arm and hand muscles as if the hitting of the ball was going to knock the putter face way off line or something -- a tightening to control the sudden increase in opposition to the putter head from impacting the ball. To reduce the effect of the messed up neurology, get away from a "hit" stroke to a stroke that doesn't care about whether there is a ball there, and is simply a good stroke, and sometimes there is a ball there that gets in the way.
Then there are psychological "thumb sucking" tricks to derail the usual mentality that promotes the yips. Don't focus on the result or outcome in the sense that making the result come out right is your top concern. Instead, focus on "giving the putt its best chance of sinking by following the line and touch / pace required by the read." That means just pay attention to how far the hole is and then make a stroke that starts the ball online with the usual tempo and rhythm, and accept that after that, there is nothing you can do about the outcome.
Sometimes the read is wrong, sometimes the aim is off, and sometimes the stroke is crooked by a hair or the touch is off. It happens, and you have to accept the human variability plus also accept the "rub of the green". All you are basically trying to do is read it well and aim according to the read -- this has nothing to do with the yips. Then, once aimed, you're basically off the hook -- just start it online with the usual tempo and rhythm.
It's a bit obvious from your manner of expressing yourself in this forum that you are a bit "uptight" about your putting problem. So that tells me the above comments are probably apt and useful / helpful to you. I would suggest using the claw grip or something equally ugly to get rid of your stupidly unhelpful right hand, kill the idea of using "sensitive fingers" with exquisite "hand-eye coordination" that is responsible for stroking the ball into the outcome, chill out, get some rhythm, and make strokes without a ball, then make strokes to nowhere in particular with a ball, then perch a ball on the edge of the lip and give yourself three chances from 20 feet to bump the perched ball over into the hole, then without the ball there, give yourself three chances to sink the same 20-footer, then forgive yourself for making a mistake in your approach to golf that got you into this mess and man-up like Bernard Langer and get a divorce from your problem and move on.
I've met quite a few golfers with the yips who secretly don't want to get rid of them, as this allows them "cover" for poor putting -- a ready-made excuse. They complain about the shaking, but they are also a bit chary of taking responsibility for their misses. Everyone misses, and yippers need to like this before the misses start to relent. With the yips or without them, the misses are yours alone, so you better get your head wrapped around the idea that misses are not unexpected and so must be accepted.
Great putters never care about misses -- they care about not making a good read and aim, and then making some sort of goofy stroke that reduces the chances that the read will work out. Yippers care about every miss, so stop that -- it's pouring gasoline on a flame. You can deal with the flame, but not while you're pouring gasoline onto it.
I don't know whether any of this will help you get away from the problem your past putting habits have caused. It's tough dealing with the yips on a forum, since quite a bit of it depends upon your personality and emotional makeup, in addition to the idiosyncracies of what's in your head and habits for making strokes on the green.
Putting Coach and Theorist
PuttingZone.com -- golf's most advanced putting instruction.
This message has been edited by aceputt from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Nov 8, 2011 11:34 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I have waited to respond until I had played a couple of times to see if your ideas would help me. I took them to heart the first time and I thought I was cured with the approach to lighten up, to work on a no hands swing and to only worry about starting the putts on line. I putted very well and shot an even par 72 thanks to my better putting. However, the very next time, I had them back again and shot 80.
In analyzing the difference, I was playing with two friends any following advice on the first round. The second round involved playing in a fivesome with 3 players that I did not know well. I found myself on the first green with a fear of yipping the first putt which lagged up for a 2 putt. The rest of the round was spent trying some other grip, stance or method of putting to take away my fear of yipping in front of others. I realize today that I did not ever remember to do the things you suggested once that fear gripped me. So I guess you are right- it is more in my brain and less in my stroke.
That doesn't sound curable to me. I am afraid your analysis is correct.
I have tried Bernhard Langer's arm grip at times and I am still thinking about a long putter, but both seem to be the "thumb sucking" kind of answers.
Golf is a game, so "play" it. Part of the problem in golf is the self-regarding fear that others will have negative views of our personhood, revealed by unskillful golf. Holy cow! I'd advise someone with that "what do others think of my golf and therefore of me" to get out of golf, except they would have the same problem in bowling. So don't give up golf; just give up the lack of "play" in the game. That might require some personality transplant, but it's a good transplant, so get one.
Putting Coach and Theorist
Thank you for your note. I like the thought of "play" it. Before I played in my last tournament last month, my wife told me the night before the first round that I should be thankful for every bad shot I made because I was still getting to "play golf" without health problems and I was walking 18 holes of golf when many my age can't even make that 18 hole walk. She said to just say this is great when I missed those putts.
I took that to heart and in a very big tournament in which I had only made the cut once in the past 5 years, I finished Tied for 7th place and only had 1 three putt in 54 holes on greens that stimpted at 13!! I think her comment is the same as yours and it definitely helped me not focus on my failure and took the pressure off my putting. I did not worry a bit about what others thought.
Although I did use my "thumbsucking" grip to hold the putter, I did use the "bob white" whistle on every putt of every length to help with my tempo. I think that was a major reason why I made so many of the short putts that I have had trouble with in the past.
Thank you for my lesson, my book and your helpful comments.