Why the ‘Must Make’ Mentality is Delusional and is Only Hurting Your Success

 

 

”Don’t try too hard to hole every putt. A ‘must make’ attitude puts too much pressure on your stroke. Just do your best to get the correct line and speed and roll the ball at the hole on that line”

Ben Crenshaw

 

I think as amateur golfers we tend to ignore these wise words. a lot of us expect a little too much from ourselves on the flat surface and there’s often this wild misconception amongst amateurs, that everything inside 10 feet should be buried or else it’s a complete failure.

 

Which as you”ll find out is complete nonsense. 

 

Putting is arguably the most testing part of the game mentally. The littlest bit of self-doubt, confusion on the line or a tentative mindset gives you very little chance of success.

 

Too much tension and your stroke might get twitchier, your thinking isn’t as clear. You may even become a little too conscious of your mechanics when trying to almost will the ball into the hole – rather than just letting it happen.

 

So, anything you can do to free yourself up a little mentally is going to be a very advantageous.

 

And I think most of us would benefit from becoming a little more realistic.

 

Let’s have a look at these putting stats from the greatest players on the planet…

 

  • 99% of putts holed from 3 feet and in
  • 69% of 6-foot putts
  • 54% of 8-foot putts
  • 31% of putts between 10 and 15 feet

 

To be quite honest, when I first saw these, I was a little shocked. The best players only hole half from 8 feet? But they barely miss on TV was my first thought…

 

 The PGA Pro Illusion

 

I think part of the problem is when you watch the guys on TV – they’re seemingly draining everything they look at.

Putts effortlessly falling in from every angle from all kinds of ridiculous distances.

 

But what you often forget, is what you are watching is effectively a highlight reel of the best bits from 140 players (or 70 odd at the weekend).

 

They are showing you the guys that are at the top of the leaderboard, which invariably means – they are holing lots of putts.

 

Not the ones who can’t hole a putt for toffee and struggling to make the cut. 

 

 

And this misconception can often raise our own expectations to delusional levels which is often extremely unhelpful.

 

So what can you take from this?

 

Well for me – realizing that the pros missed a lot was actually very refreshing for my mindset and has actually allowed me to approach my putting a little differently. I have been able reset my expectations to healthy and productive levels.

 

That 10-footer I am now faced with, is actually a bonus if it goes in because statistically I am going to miss far more than I hole. And this new found attitude has allowed me to be a lot easier on myself when I miss.

 

OK, it hasn’t turned me into Jordan Spieth overnight, but it’s certainly allowed me to hole a few more putts and enjoy the game more – which is the goal right?

 

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Must Make Means Less Make

 

Rory Mcilroy’s recent rendezvous with putting icon, Brad Faxon has been very well documented. This lesson/meeting, was arguably the catalyst to Mcilroys recent win at Bay Hill, where he was putting like a man possessed (especially in the final round).

 

Mcilroy actually said during the tournament, that he was trying to get into the mindset of not caring if he missed. He found that this attitude was able to free him up, whereas before he was almost trying too hard to make every putt.

 

So, if you are falling into the trap of this ‘must make’ mentality – remember this post. Give yourself permission to miss from inside 10 feet…because you are going to a lot.

 

It’s amazing what this little switch in thinking can do for your success.

 

Long Putting is Much More Crucial Than You May of Thought

 

Another glaring realization I took from these stats was just how important your lag putting is.

 

The pros’ from inside 3 feet are missing 1 out of every 100 attempts. Ok, your success rate might not be quite as clinical, but you’ll still get a very large percentage.

 

But from 6 feet, the likelihood of your missing starts to snowball, so this is where your approach putting becomes so important. Keep stroking those 40 footers up to 6 feet and you’re going to 3 putt a lot. And when you do, don’t keep blaming that 6 foot putt, it was the one before, that putt you in this mess (no pun intended).

 

So, it’s clear to me that putting a little more time into your mid-long range putts will save you shots. You don’t need a crazy amount of talent or technical know how either. Its just a bit more application and often spending a few more minutes on the green before you head off to play.

 

So, could your attitude improve a little on the greens? If so, give this a little thought next time you go out to play – it will help.

 

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Currently a low handicap golfer who is striving to become a scratch player. I have a very keen passion for the mental side of the game as I feel this is holding lots of golfers back from fulfilling their potential (as it did me) and also stopping them from enjoying this awesome game it as much as they should.