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Golfing is my favorite summertime pastime. And in the winter I like to read a bit about golf to see what I can do to improve my game. Putting is by far the worst facet of my game. It just never feels right. So I picked up Instinct Putting, hoping to find a something to help me figure this stupid game out. It’s a radical idea and may  put off many traditionalist putters.

Early on in the book, there’s a quiz to take to see if Instinct Putting is for you.  I had struggled with each scenario outlined in the book.  Can’t figure distance right on long putts, too many three putts in a round (and that doesn’t count the four putts!), and it just never feels right.

If you have a few of those problems, this may be for you. The method is based on the premise that each of us carries an innate ability to do things through “athletic intuition”.  When you walk, do you have to think about how to move your arms, legs, hips, shoulders, and everything else in concert? No. You just do it. Thinking about it is likely to screw it up.  

Think about hitting a receiver on the run in football, or how you pelted the neighbor kid with a snow ball as he ran away.  Did you have think about the physics involved: the angles and speeds and velocities? No, you just lined it up and did it. Your brain took care of the rest.

Instinct putting builds off of that. It says that looking at the ball while you putt is like looking at the free throw line while shooting free throws. That doesn’t make much sense and neither does looking at the ball instead of your target when you putt. The target could be the hole, or some point on the green you want to putt to.  It has you look at that point throughout the putting stroke.

The book goes into depth on the science behind it, studies to show that it is effective, and highlights some golfers that have used it.  The book also quickly covers the basics of putting like grip and reading the green.  

To learn Instinct Putting, it includes a number of drills, broken up into three sections.  The first to get you used to hitting the ball without looking at it, the second to work on distance control, and the third to fine tune the method in competition.  It even lays out a multi-week practice schedule for you.

I’ve tried the first two drills out. The first just has you toss a ball from your putting stance while looking at the target.  It’s definitely strange at first, but I was soon hitting my target regularly. The next drill is the No Where drill.  You hit the ball to No Where in particular, but you do it while looking at your target, not at the ball. It’s just to get a feel of hitting the ball squarely without looking at it.  It seemed to work pretty well for me.

I can’t wait for the snow to melt and the code to relinquish its death grip on Michigan so I can go outside and start working on this. If this works, I’ll be well on my way to my Senior PGA Tour Card in 30 years.

4 stars – see the book rating explanation here