Why do golfers get so nervous about putts in the three to five foot range? Part of the reason is the belief that you should never miss a putt of this length, or the demand in your head, “I’ve got to make this putt.” You might have the belief that “Only poor putters miss these putts,” or only those who are “head cases” could miss such a short putt.
Take an honest look at the types of thoughts that go on in your head when you’re faced with a “knee-knocker.” Are you telling yourself that you ought to be able to make this putt? Are you demanding of yourself that you not miss? Or perhaps you’re thinking, “Oh no! Not another one of these putts that give me so much trouble!”
When faced with a typical “knee-knocker,” it’s important that you let go of any of the above types of thinking, and instead work on substituting more helpful and productive thoughts. Let go of worries about “what might happen” by reminding yourself of the hundreds or thousands of similar length putts you’ve sunk in practice and competition. With any putt, you either sink it or you don’t; there is no middle ground. So when faced with a three to five foot putt, do you want to be thinking about the ones you’ve missed in the past, or would you rather remind yourself of the many, many successes you’ve had from this length. Before you stroke the putt, you want to reaffirm to yourself you are capable of sinking the putt, you believe in your ability to sink the putt, you anticipate the ball will find the bottom of the cup.
Implementing such positive beliefs will not only take the anxiety out of facing one of these “knee-knockers,” it will also greatly increase your chances of success!