Like Seve, you have a unique putting DNA – here's how to uncover it

Golf Tips

Forget technical thoughts, writes Karl Morris, The Lost Art of Putting will help you become more creative on the greens

What is the lost art of putting? What have we actually lost? What did we used to have that just isn’t there anymore?

For one thing, it seems to me that most golfers have fond memories of how they used to putt. The days when they played the game as a youngster and they walked onto a green with a sense of anticipation as opposed to dread. Putting seemed very simple.

Many years ago when I played the game as a junior and always looking for ways to improve I was given a book called Seve: The Young Champion by Dudley Doust.

The book was a fascinating insight into the genius of the then young Seve Ballesteros who had taken the golfing world by storm when he finished second in The Open as a 19-year-old to Johnny Miller.

Who can ever forget the shot Ballesteros played on the final hole as he hit a pitch and run approach through a gap in the bunkers not much wider than a parking line? The ball cosied up five feet from the hole and a birdie secured him a second-place finish with the great Jack Nicklaus. The shot is available on YouTube and if you have time treat yourself to a couple of minutes embracing the art that was Seve.

Seve Ballesteros fist pump

In the book the great man talked about how he ‘created’ each putt he hit. Each and every putt was a unique opportunity to express his craft. Seve said he even felt that he actually shaped some putts by hooking or cutting the ball into a slope. Science would tell us this actually didn’t really happen but it was what Seve himself felt he was doing.

The putt was a problem to be solved and he embraced every opportunity. The problem was how to get the ball into the hole and Seve’s creative genius went to work to find the answer. If you look at Seve’s technique with the toe of the putter up in the air and a liberal use of the wrists it was far from ‘textbook’ perfect but my word was it ever effective.

He saw putting as an art form and the green was his canvas in which to paint some wonderfully memorable pictures. How far have we come from that now? With all of the supposed benefits of technology and putter fitting, are we actually putting better? Do we hole more putts than we used to? Is putting actually fun? Do you actually enjoy the motion of your putting stroke for its own sake?

My thought is that if becoming very technique orientated has made you a much better putter then you should stay on that track without any question. If something is working in your game then keep doing it.

However, if what you are doing hasn’t worked and isn’t working then Gary Nicol and I in our new book propose a different road down which to travel. The Lost Art of Putting does not dismiss technique but suggests to you the secret in holing more putts may well be less about trying to fit into a technical model someone else gives to you and more about uncovering what is your unique putting DNA.

Look back at some of the greatest putters in the history of the game, Jack Nicklaus crouched over the ball standing way open; Isao Aoki who did just about everything ‘wrong’ but who was a genius at getting the ball into the hole; Bobby Locke who stood way shut and ‘hooked’ every putt, more often than not, straight into the hole. Where any of these great players trying to be someone else or had they just worked out what was right for them as a unique individual?

So much of the modern world is about someone else telling you what is best for you. Fit into this model. Do it this way because I, as the expert, am telling you to do so.

Our book has no pictures, no techniques just a series of concepts and ideas that you can consider and then personalise for yourself. This just might be a way of getting back to the ‘authentic you’ as opposed to a second rate copy of someone else. At the very least we promise you that you will have a lot more fun with your game.

The Lost Art of Putting

The Lost Art of Putting, by Karl Morris and Gary Nicol and featuring a foreword from 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, is available in hardback and for Kindle from Amazon.

You can also follow The Lost Art of Putting on Twitter and Facebook.

About the authors

Karl Morris has been involved in performance coaching for more than 30 years. In that time he has worked with multiple major champions in golf, Ashes-winning captains in cricket, as well as Premier League and international footballers. His passion has always been to make mental game coaching both practical and applicable. You can visit Karl’s website and follow him on Twitter.

Karl Morris has been involved in performance coaching for more than 30 years. In that time he has worked with multiple major champions in golf, Ashes-winning captains in cricket, as well as Premier League and international footballers. His passion has always been to make mental game coaching both practical and applicable. You can visit Karl’s website and follow him on Twitter.

More from Karl Morris

Previous article
Next article
Top