Amateurs ask me all the time if there’s one thing they can do to immediately improve their putting. Most are surprised to learn that my answer has very little to do with stroke mechanics or becoming a better green reader. Instead, it’s the ability to convince their playing competitors that they neglected to “try.” Confused? Allow me to explain.
Let’s say you’ve been putting solidly all day, but late in the round you get a little aggressive with an uphill 12-footer for par and it runs almost four feet by the hole. Now you find yourself with a nasty little downhill left-edge putt for bogey that’s clearly out of universally accepted gimme range. What do you do? Obviously, this is a putt you have no interest in hitting, but it’s not quite close enough to simply pick up and play dumb.
This is the moment I instruct my students to employ the Hype-and-Swipe®, a proprietary method I developed where you take a disinterested, off-balance swipe at the putt in question, conveying the message to your playing competitors that you weren’t really trying to make it. Along with a fairway-finding fade, mega-flop and the sideways punch-out, this is probably the most valuable shot to have in your bag. It provides you with an opportunity to make the putt, but at the same time gives you a legitimate excuse for not making it, which in turn puts pressure on your playing partners to give you the putt after the fact. I call it an “important hedge.” Others have called it “putting insurance.”
Follow these steps to pull it off.
1. Act Quickly
You need to be in a hurry. Don’t even mark your ball. Immediately after your par putt rolls by, act as if your only objective is to just get out of everyone’s way.
2. Walk the Tightrope
I know you don’t actually care, but you need to feign concern about stepping on the putting lines of your playing competitors. This is paramount. Give the appearance that you are meticulously tip-toeing through a minefield.
When you get close enough to your ball to swipe at it, put 99 percent of your weight on one leg while awkwardly reaching to address the ball. As you begin your stroke, start to lose your balance. At impact you want to look as if you’re falling over. If you somehow make it, great! If not, you might get the mercy gimme.
@ClubProGuy is also the founder of the 7-4-7 Swing Thought System® and the Stack-and-Jilt™ Chipping method.