Master the Course

Long and Short of it

By Jeff Coston
Published on

Here are two important points that mean so much to me in my game and will certainly help every golfer.
1. Controlling the speed of your putts
Every major championship player will tell you that that is the key to winning. I couldn’t agree more. The greens you putt on at home may not roll at the same championship speeds that the pros do, but whatever the speed they roll, you have to be confident that any putt you take will either go in or leave you with a comfortable (and hopefully tap-in) distance.

I see far too many amateur players tie themselves up in knots trying to read the line and not respecting the speed of the putt enough. My guess is, the average energy and thought to each putt by amateur golfers is 80 percent read, 20 percent speed. I say it should be the reverse.
When it comes to putting, think 20% read, 80% speed
If you concentrate more on the right speed, you'll be a better putter. Speed dictates line anyway and if you have the right speed, you can trust more. The reason people three-putt is rarely because they have a bad line; it's because they did not have the right speed.
2. Work on your drive
Some say golfers spend too much time on the range working on driving, and thus, by default, not enough on their short game. Of course your short game is critical but so is your driving. It's no secret in golf: If you can’t drive, you won’t have any fun playing golf. So my tip on driving is this: Curve your golf ball. Either left to right or right to left, know your shot pattern and play to that. None other than Jack Nicklaus told me that a straight was an accident.
These two areas of my game are what I often focus on when I know I need to play my best. If I'm confident with my driver and I'm confident on the greens, I know I'm going to have a good round. I hope that's that case for you too.