I haven’t read Dave Stockton’s new book Unconscious Putting, but during a recent appearance on The Golf Channel the guru piqued my interest while plugging his paperback. He reiterated tips from his earlier manifesto, Putt to Win, which I had read and most of the content sounded very similar. Not sure if there’s a whole lot of difference in the two books, but in Putt to Win, I thought the tips on pulling the left hand towards the target, not taking a practice stroke, and putting over a spot just in front of the ball were too mechanical, however I managed to incorporate his tip of reading break from the lowest point along the putt to my benefit. During The Golf Channel appearance, his explanation for not taking a practice stroke (allows you to stay better focused on your target) finally registered and I committed to try this last Sunday during my short game practice. Wow! At first putting with no practice stroke felt weird but the ability to zero in on the target improved my feel for distance incredibly. I putted nine holes in 16 strokes and banged in a couple of long ones but still felt a bit awkward. I also incorporated the recommended pre-shot routine of placing the putter in front of and then behind the ball, ala Nick Price, to ensure I was fully bought in. One more practice session with this method on Saturday, and I’ll be ready to game test it in my Sunday round. Has anyone out there fully converted to the Stockton method? Send me your feedback please!
I have experimented in my short game practice of hitting shots without rehearsal strokes and it’s worked well, but I’ve worked so hard to develop a repeatable pre-shot routine for short shots using two practice swings and I hesitate to abandon that. The lie of various short shots can vary greatly, as can your club selection and practice swings allow you to feel the shot before pulling the trigger. Ultimately, whatever routine I use for putting or short shots will be successful if I keep it consistent from shot to shot.