Why Padraig Harrington wants you to putt with your eyes closed
Throughout the last several months as the world has battled the coronavirus pandemic, three-time major champion Padraig Harrington has taken to Twitter to offer priceless golf tips to help golfers everywhere improve their games, or at least help them pass the time.
The PGA Tour may be in full swing again, albeit without fans, but Harrington has continued to share the insights and expertise earned over his storied pro career. On Tuesday, the 2021 European Ryder Cup captain offered up a putting tip that might seem questionable at first, but is backed up with solid proof of its efficacy.
The tip? Putt with your eyes closed.
“Here’s a little training drill lot of pros use out on Tour to get the feel for the greens,” Paddy says to begin the video. “When they’re practicing, they’ll hit a putt, and then the next putt or couple of putts they’ll actually close their eyes.”
To demonstrate the drill, Harrington hits a normal putt from about 30 feet, then he sets up for a second putt from the same distance and just before he makes the stroke, he closes his eyes and keeps them closed throughout the stroke. Then, while keeping his eyes closed and head trained down on the impact zone, he tries to call how the putt went, e.g.: a little bit in the heel, pushed a little bit high right, etc. Finally, he opens his eyes and checks to see if the actual putt matched what he felt and predicted.
And just in case you’re unconvinced of the merits of this drill, Harrington dropped this surprising fact to drive the point home: “I pretty much know one Masters winner since the 2000s, and maybe a second masters winner, a different one, both putted the whole tournament with their eyes closed.”
But why would a top pro choose to take this drill to the game’s biggest stage? Harrington explains that, too:
“It actually works very well if you’re a little bit nervous or jumpy on putts because if you can’t see the putter head, you can’t react to it. But it is mainly used by pros as a training drill to get a feel for their putts, get a feel for the pace of the greens.”
Crucially, this drill isn’t reserved for major champions. Harrington thinks every golfer should do it before every round, and maybe even try it when it counts.
“Before you go out to play and you’re hitting a couple putts warming up, always hit a couple with your eyes closed just to see if you have the pace of the greens,” he says, “and you might find it actually feels so good you’ll use it the odd time on the golf course.”
You can the full video of Harrington’s tip below.