Here’s how to trick your opponent into giving you more putts

September 17, 2019

We saw some rather interesting pieces of gamesmanship at the Solheim Cup last weekend.  Among them: U.S. rookie Megan Khang refusing to give opponent Charley Hull that must have been a foot, if that.

We’ve all been there. Playing a reasonably harmless money match against a friend of ours who just refuses to give any putts whatsoever. It’s very annoying. Or, at least, it used to be very annoying. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen to me very much anymore.


Because back in my junior golf days I developed a foolproof strategy that has never let me down, and almost always results in getting a lot of short putts being given to me, no questions asked.

In essence, the strategy is a simple one: Run down the clock.

When you’re playing an opponent who isn’t giving you a short putt, don’t just accept it. Your goal is to use it as an opportunity to take the upper hand yourself. In being made to finish out, I now have the floor — and the opportunity to do whatever I want with it. So, in those moments, what I choose to do is everything in my power to wind down the clock. To make the process as long and tedious for my opponent as humanly possible.

It works every time, for a few reasons:

  • First, because nobody likes watching a slow player. It’s annoying, and frustrating.
  • Second, it makes your opponent begin to doubt their decision, and with every passing wipe of the putter blade, potentially feel guilty about it.
  • Third, it puts pressure on your opponent, especially if he’s the host, for fear of playing too slow and holding up the groups behind him.

I admit, it’s a bit dastardly, but that’s sort of the point. It’s gamesmanship, and if you’re shaky over short putts, it’s a simple way to stack the deck in your advantage during the match.

If you’re unsure how to draw out the process of hitting a short putt, below are the 22-steps I often use in such cases. You’ll probably have to hit one or two short putts early in the round, but by making the process as slow and painful as possible, you’ll find your opponent giving you a lot more putts to save himself the pain.

1. Express Light-Hearted Surprise

“Oh wow, tough crowd!”

2. Mark Ball

3. Clean Golf Ball

4. Fix Ball Markers

5. Read Putt

Make sure you read all the nooks and crannies.

6. Remove Leaves and Other Objects From Green

7. Walk Around Putt

8. Read Putt From Opposite Side

Important to get another look

9. Walk Around Putt Again

10. Read Putt Again

Might have missed something the first time.

11. Line Up Ball

12. Check Line

13. Adjust Line

14. Check Line

15. Remove Ball Marker

Go time.

16. Check Line

17. Begin Pre-Shot Routine

18. Back Off Putt

Wasn’t feeling it.

19. Begin Pre-Shot Routine For Second Time

20. Hit Putt

21. Pick Up Ball

22. Express Light-Hearted Relief

“Making me work for it!”