The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

Finally played a new course this week, as we traveled to Norvelt Golf Club, in Novelt, Pa. about a 70 minute drive. This course was a very pleasant surprise. The course plays about 6600 yards from the blue tees has many diverse holes and was in very good condition. The big surprise was the greens were the fastest we have played during this 2 year plus trek, as they ran a solid 9 on the strimp. The greens had some good slope on them too, so getting above the hole was deadly. The fairways were in great shape and the roughs were grown in well. The course was very hilly and had some really up and down holes.   The course did have some blah easy holes, but more than made up for it, with some great scenery and some very tough spectacular holes. The greens were the thing. It took 86 courses to finally have truly fast greens. The hot dog at the turn was mediocre at best, but I would rather have great greens. I have already experienced the great dog and  just fair greens at Firestone Farms. The only negative note was because of some lack of course knowledge, and some occasional poor ball striking, my 16 consecutive rounds in the 70’s came to end with an 82. Pete had an 84 and with great weather we had a very enjoyable day. This course was worth the trip. Today I went to Rolling Acres  and got back in the groove with a 3 over 76 but it leads to talk about what I consider the most frustrating part of this game, namely the short putt. I missed a couple of real shorties today.  Even when I shot the 69 at Rolling Acres this year I missed a couple of short putts, with one being around 2 feet. First lets define a short putt. I consider a short putt anything from 18 inches to 4 feet. I probably have even missed putts shorter than 18 inches but lets stick to that distance frame. The two most famous short putt misses in the history of modern golf is Doug Sanders at the British Open in the sixties, and Scott Hoch at the Masters in the nineties. What is amazing about both of those putts, is at the most they were 2 feet, and neither player even touched the hole. I’m not being critical because I do this all the time. So what is it about the short putt, that even brings golfers at the top level to their knees. I am going to touch upon some things that make short putts unique and hope to have some answers to the problems, which I do not have now. The short putt puts you in the “should” mode, like you should make it. If you miss a putt in the 5 to 10 foot range, even though  you may be disappointed you still know that it can happen. But when you get inside the 4 foot range, then you think you “should” make all of them, and when you don’t, it can be a confidence shaker. The short putt increases your decision making processes. On a longer putt you are thinking optimum speed. If  you miss it you want the putt to stop close to the hole. But on the short putt you got to think about hitting it a particular speed. The two extremes would be to die the putt in the hole or bang it in the back of the cup. This also will affect the way you read the break of the putt. Finally, the short putt, is just flat out, the most important shot of the hole. It is the final, hopefully, shot of the hole. Miss this and there is no tomorrow. Golf’s version of sudden death. Except it can happen 18 times and the death is your score. Well, with that happey note, I will leave you for another week. Eighty six down and fourteen to go.

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