It used to be the keys to good putting were judging line and speed. Some characterized it as 90% mental, 10% stroke. Others say it’s guts and feel. Whatever your previous understanding, throw it out because the real key is SOBRIETY.
I made this discovery on a recent trip to South Carolina. Our friends who invited us to spend a week on the Grand Strand threw in an invite to play a couple of rounds which I excitedly agreed to. The evening before round 1, we were getting to know each other, and swapping lies about our overstated golfing abilities. I learned from one playing partner that he was a good ball striker but was “three-putting every time he hit a green.” This piqued my interest and I looked forward to watching him in action.
The next day, it didn’t take long to diagnose the putting problems. Now, I enjoyed the heck out of my round and my playing partner’s company, but these guys were part of the new “Bro Culture”. I was first clued in by my riding partner’s request to play music during the round, and the crack of the first beer can on the #1 tee. I accepted the tunes but declined a cold one. Our starting time was 7:50 a.m. and I have no problem with folks drinking while they play, but I’ve always stuck to water and Gatorade because the first hint of a beer buzz kills my sense of judgement on and around the greens. Doing some back of the napkin math, our round took about four hours and they finished a beer every two or three holes, which divides out to about seven beers per round. Obviously, my tolerance is much less, but if I drank that much during a round, bad putting would be the least of my problems.
Overconsumption was clearly the source of his bad putting but the driving cultural shift is more interesting and appears to be caused by three underlying factors. Beer companies who glamorize and associate golf with drinking. Check out the Bros in this video that I’m sure you’ve seen watching any of your favorite sports.
Second is Top Golf where drinking, loud music, and golf are all normalizing the behavior. Third is the new LIV golf series where constant sensory bombardment replaces the traditional serenity and courtesy of the game. Can we solve? The putting fix is easy. The cultural shift; not so.
Just interested, but what do you drink while you play? Play well.