Missing by an Inch? Great!

Sometimes, you have one of those rounds where every putt seems to miss by an inch. Actually, that is a great sign!

I repeat: Missing by inch or so is a great sign! Depending on how far away you were, your chances of getting the putt to drop depend on tiny lumps and bumps in the green. It’s kind of like the ball running down the maze of pegs in a Panchenko game. You improve your odds by putting down a good line with the right speed, but there is still only so close you can come, depending on the conditions.

That’s why it’s so important to get it close, for a stress-free finish. Because depending on the slope, even a 2-footer can be a knee-knocker.

Note, too, that even the pros are only making 50% of their 6 footers, and they’re missing 75% from 10 or 12 feet.

The important thing to recognize is that, from any reasonable distance, the difference between a miss and a make is minuscule — in the neighborhood of a tiny fraction of a degree!

The human motor system doesn’t have the precision to make that fine an adjustment. So coming oh-so-close is, in a fact, a great putt! It’s a stochastic (random, statistical) game, and often coming close is just about the best you can do.

So be glad when it drops, but don’t take a lot of credit for it, either. Whether it makes or just misses is mostly a matter of luck!

That said, I’ve found that have to include putting in my regular practice rotation. I finish sessions with it, finish short game sessions with it, and sometimes finish with it after playing a short round! Because when I took several weeks off to work on converting the website, I noticed that I wound up missing just a bit more!

Of course, the putting stats also depend on the short game! In fact, the only way to make sure you have more 1-putts than 3-putts is to have a great short game! Otherwise, the task is just too difficult.

(I’m getting used to my new wedges, so that part of my game is picking up again. That will be the subject of the next book.)

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