It’s time to embrace Cameron Smith’s ingenious ‘freewheel it’ putting process
We watch professional golf to be entertained, but there’s always a chance we might be able to glean a swing tip or equipment tweak from the best players in the world that could benefit our own game.
Consider it a potential added benefit to spending hours watching golf from the comfort of the couch.
After watching Cameron Smith’s magical putting performance at the Players Championship, the obvious question is this: What can you steal from the Aussie’s flatstick process that might help you sink a few more putts? In Smith’s case, what makes him great is his ability to “freewheel it” when things aren’t going his way.
A few years back, Smith was asked by Titleist to describe how he marks his Pro V1x golf ball for a competitive round. Pros tend to be creatures of habit, marking their ball the same and going through the same putting routine to keep things consistent during pressure-packed situations.
Smith, however, is a bit more of a free spirit.
The “purply, pink” Sharpie he uses to mark the Pro V1x sidestamp — a color that’s meant to support the Brisbane Broncos, a Rugby League Football Club — is a clear indicator that he prefers to line up the ball to the target before making a stroke. But when Getty Images snapped a photo of Smith’s Pro V1x in the address position, the line was facing forward.
So what gives? According to Smith, he doesn’t subscribe to the hard-and-fast rule that the line has to be facing upward at all times, even when marking the sidestamp with a Sharpie.
In fact, Smith tends to play things by ear when it comes to how he lines up the ball.
“I go in and out of lining it up and not,” Smith said. “It just depends on how I’m feeling. Some days I feel like the line is straight. Other days my eyes just aren’t quite right, so I’ll just line it up with the Titleist (logo) and freewheel it.”
Smith’s ability to make on-the-fly changes to how he lines up the ball might seem psychotic to some, but it’s a reminder that you should always have a backup plan when your usual putting process isn’t working. Maybe that means moving the sidestamp line forward to free up your mind, or opting for a putter with a different alignment aid.
Whatever you do, have a backup option when things go sideways. Embrace your inner Cameron Smith.
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