Limerick Leader golf columnist Ivan Morris
This is my last column until our minds turn towards who will strip Sergio of his coveted green jacket?
Like Rory, I need 'some extra me time' to recover my mojo and do a bit of work on my failing short game. Golf is a scoring game and my scores in 2017 were nothing to write about.
At my age it's impossible to improve one's ballstriking ability and length but it is ALWAYS possible to improve within 50-yards of the hole and turn three shots into two more often.
Anyone can compete with a longer hitter if one's short game is consistently sharper. I'll be keeping score when I practice - otherwise it is aimless and of no value. I enjoy putting games and like practicing my putting with one ball, aiming at different targets of varying lengths away.
It is always an imaginary match situation and I always keep score - sometimes it's mental match play and sometimes it's mental stroke play because the mindset in either format is quite different. To break the monotony and measure progress I sometimes take 10-putts each from 3 feet, 8 feet and 33 feet. If one can make 10 of 10 from 3-feet, 5 of 10 from 8-feet and 2 of 10 from 33-feet, one is putting like a pro!
I'LL leave you with some amusing and confusing words of wisdom on the art of p-u-t-t-i-n-g (as I like to call it).
The things that look the easiest in golf are usually the hardest - take putting, for example - Eric Brown
The really good putter is born, not made, and is inherently endowed with a good eye and tactile delicacy of grip which are denied the ordinary run of mortals - Walter Travis
The good putter is more due to constant practice and sound nerves than because he has a superior, God-given talent. Putting is based on feel and trust. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to adopt a perfect putting stroke – Jackie Burke.
(Author Note: no wonder putting is so perplexing when you hear such contrary (valid) wisdom!)
Love and putting are mysteries beyond the capacity of most golfers to solve – Tommy Armour
Billy Casper could sink a 40-foot putt by just winking at it – Chi Chi Rodriguez
On the putting green the mind can be a grave source of trouble. Begin to dislike the look of a putt, and the chances of holing it at once become less. Good or bad putting, as often as not, is dependent on your state of mind - Joyce Wethered
Putting is like wisdom. Partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience - Arnold Palmer
Increasing green speeds have hurt the game causing greens on many golf courses to be nearly unplayable for average players to negotiate. I am of the opinion that the trends on greens should be back to some degree of flatness.
The modern roller coaster green with six-foot banks and swales will die a natural death. Perhaps one green with a valley of sin or buried elephant is in order? Putting is already half the game; we should hesitate to make it two-thirds - Desmond Muirhead
Putting should be done to all intents and purposes with one hand. When both hands are used to the full extent, one works against the other. The right hand guides the club, and it is this guiding of the club that is everything in putting, and particularly in the case of short putts - William Park Junior
The approach putt is an all-important shot - finishing near the hole will spare a golfer much anxiety – Robert Harris
The opinion of a man on the state of the green on which he has just missed his putt should be listened to with reserve – Horace Hutchinson.
The game of golf would be nothing without this troublesome business around the hole – Joyce Wethered
An average hitter who is a great putter is a match for anyone. A great hitter who is a poor putter is a match for no one. If one can knock in a few putts one can get away with playing mediocre golf and still shoot decent scores. If you can’t knock in the putts it doesn’t matter how well you play, you won't shoot low - Jackie Burke
AND a final few words from your scribe: It doesn't matter if a golfer is off the fairway as long as he has a free shot at the green.
It doesn't matter if he misses a short putt occasionally or doesn't hole any long putts. It doesn't matter if he misses a few greens, as long as he chips close. Professionals are not that much better at putting than a 'good amateur.' The big difference is in their tee to green shots, especially getting close to the hole from long distances.
The long game is the separator and when some extra distance is involved, more so. The nearer you are to the hole, the more success you will have with your next shot. Better players are a little bit better at everything.
Of the 26-stroke difference between someone who shoots 69 and someone who shoots 95, 18 strokes (on average) are lost on full shots, and just eight on the greens; drive for show putt for dough? I don't think so but I am still going to practice it because that is where I know I can improve!