Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new GOLF.com series where we share improvements, insights and insights from amateur golfers like you – including some of the speed bumps and challenges they’ve faced along the way.
The game of golf can be extremely unforgiving at times.
Take, for example, this video from my putting competition with GOLF Teacher to Watch Ryan Young, who offered to help me strengthen my flat club by introducing this pressure game he calls the “chopping block.”
As I mention at the beginning of the video, my putting has been terrible all summer – which Young knows, having been my teammate at my very first Pro-Am.
Unlike my full swing – where I was able to find some answers to my mistakes – my putting remains frustratingly inconsistent.
Some days I read greens like a pro but can’t adjust the speed. Other days I struggle to find the lines and my distance control is excellent. And then there are days when neither goes right and 3-putts happen more often than I’d like to admit.
But that putting competition against Young helped me work on a little bit of everything in the short game.
From dealing with pressure to confidently rolling my shots to reading tricky short putts, it was really useful – so it can be a fun game to help you before your next round.
How the game works
In competition, Young and I take turns hitting putts, starting at three feet and moving back a foot from there, with the goal of “simulating pressure putts,” as he describes it.
If Player 1 misses, Player 2 has the chance to eliminate that person by sinking the putt from the same distance.
Young adds: “We start at one meter and move back every lap. But basically: If you can do it, you are on the safe side. If you miss, you’re on the chopping block.
“If I make it right after you [miss], you are outside. But if you miss and I miss, you’re safe,” he adds. “Every round we go back; so don’t miss it!”
So if both Player 1 and Player 2 make the putt, they move back one position. If both miss, they must repeat their attempt.
If Player 1 misses and Player 2 makes it from the same distance, Player 2 wins.
Here, however, golf can be cruel.
What you can learn from this putting competition
Personally, I have no right to beat someone of Young’s caliber in this putting competition – but of course I’m glad I did. Not only did it allow me to channel the pressure I feel on the course when making such short putts, but it also gave me absolute confidence that I could handle it with one of the best coaches in the sport.
“When you feel pressure and just focus on speed, they go in more often,” Young said. “So you don’t have to worry so much about being perfect.”
This is where an important lesson for amateurs comes into play: never give in.
In golf, it’s easy to downplay your abilities and often throw around a self-deprecating joke here and there. But it’s a tricky path because if you do it enough, you can actually start believe It.
Sure, Young is a much better player than me. And sure, if we did this putting competition ten times, we both know he would probably getting the upper hand.
But in this case I got the best of him.
So even if you’re playing with low handicap players and are having trouble breaking 100, be confident and think positively. You probably can’t outplay these types of players, but you can pretty much keep up with them in the short game.
“[This game] helps you know what to focus on next time you take a course,” adds Young. “Whether you’re trying to break 80 or win your first tournament, whatever you did here, copy and paste it.”
Hopefully you can take this entertaining putting competition – and the experience of a 12-handicap player like me defeating a “teacher to watch” – with you to the practice green to boost your confidence as we head into the fall golf season .
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https://golf.com/instruction/putting/putting-competition-eliminate-3-putts-shaving-strokes/ I beat a Teacher to Watch in this putting competition. That’s how it works