How to make more putts without changing your stroke

Most golfers are frustrated. Not because they don’t put in enough effort to play what they consider ‘good’ golf.

They are frustrated that they put in all kinds of effort, but they consider most of their golf to be ‘bad.’

However, every once in a while, you have gained a glimpse of your true potential when golf seemed easy. But those moments seem fleeting, and they often take us by surprise.

This blog is about how surprises can often show us that there is a different approach to golf that opens us to new ways of learning, and brings us closer to playing the kind of golf we’ve always aspired.

I also invite you to consider the offering at the end of this blog on how you can experience a different approach to developing your own game.

I have a client who is a model of dedication. If you are an avid golfer, I think you’ll see a lot of yourself in him.

To say he works diligently on his game is a gross understatement. He plays about three days a week, and practices for a couple of hours two or three times a week. 

He is, as my father used to say, a serious student of the game. He doesn’t just want to get better—he aches, he yearns—to become a great player.

That desire has a payoff, but also a cost.

The payoff is that for a relative newcomer to the game, he has steadily improved and is now a solid mid-handicapper. (It’s interesting that dedicated novices quickly improve, but after about three years, they tend to plateau.)

However, the cost of such dedication is that he often gets in his own way. He’ll pursue some kind of thought about his swing or stroke, and things appear to ‘work’, and golf is solved—as if it were an equation. Oh joy, oh bliss.

Ultimately, whatever was ‘working’ goes off the rails. Like many golfers, he gets frustrated and often feels mystified by the game. 

To his credit, he never stops in his effort to move forward. No matter what happens, he goes back to the course and the practice ground and continues the process.  

We’ve been working on allowing himself to let go of his propensity to think his way through the swing, and allow his body to react more instinctively to the target. He reported that this was helpful, he felt freer and his ball-striking could be impressive, but like most golfers, he would often fall back into focusing on mechanics. Sometimes it helped, most times it didn’t.

But things can change. And the conduit to change is often surprising, perhaps unplanned, accidental. Something that causes us to have a completely different experience that offers a new perspective, and becomes a gateway to a new approach.

Late last summer, my client told me about such an experience.

He related that he was on the practice green at his course working on his putting. But he was still struggling with short putts, and his distance control was erratic.

He was doing what he always did—he was working hard on his stroke. He was following the well-worn model of ‘digging it out of the dirt,’ giving ‘110 percent,’ you know the drill. But his hard work was not being rewarded.

Then his phone rang in his back pocket. It was a customer, and he took the call.

As they spoke, my client got itchy to keep putting, so he held the phone with his left hand and began putting single-handedly with his right. (His customer was also a golfer.)

To my client’s surprise, while focusing on the conversation and putting with one hand, somewhat magically, long putts cozied up to tap-in, medium-range putts either went in or just missed, and short putts went in the hole almost automatically.

When my client told me about this experience, he was excited and laughing. He said that his stroke felt effortless; there was no straining or trying—the putter just seemed to go back, and moved forward with its own momentum.

It was a breakthrough moment. He finally realized through his own experience that all of his thinking, trying and finicking with his stroke was handcuffing him. 

This is the different approach that I have eluded to. Not that you need to talk on the phone to play great golf.

But my client had an experience where his conscious thinking mind—the part of him that was forever giving him instructions on how to putt, admonishing him for putting poorly, and constantly judging him—was distracted. 

This allowed his subconscious mind to work with his body to perform with freedom and ease, as if the handcuffs had been removed. He saw what his brain and body can do when he doesn’t self-interfere. He experienced just how brilliant he can putt—with the stroke he has.

This eludes to the different approach that I referred to earlier—a way of learning and experiencing golf that allows you to tap into your innate talent, athleticism, experience and your brilliant body and brain to play some pretty darn good golf. Without changing your stroke.

What’s more, this approach to golf is easier than you imagined, requires less thinking, trying, and—what’s more—allows you to experience yourself performing with a great sense of ease and at a higher level. 

I invite you to explore two upcoming opportunities that will allow you to experience this different approach for yourself, and to discover just how capable you are as a golfer, and to see some new possibilities for yourself.

—A six-week online group coaching session called Quiet Mind Putting: How to Make More Putts Without Changing Your Stroke. It starts June 22.

—An in-person morning workshop called Quiet Mind Golf: How To Sharpen Your Short Game Without Changing Your Technique scheduled for June 23 at RattleSnake Point GC in Milton. 

Both are limited to eight people. Don’t miss your opportunity.

For more information, click on the links.

If you’d like to explore if these are fit for you, let’s have a chat. Send me an email to or call 519.835.5939.

About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!