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Honey, I lost my putting: the 7 actions to find it…

A story of self-confidence with a little ball!

We're going to talk about golf, but it's just a parable. If you are not familiar with this sport, don't worry, you will understand the following. Ultimately, it's a story about self-confidence, self-esteem, and how to work on these issues every day.

préparation mentale Golf

A few months ago, two clients used my services for mental preparation for golf. I was motivated by the subject, this sport being an old passion. A few amateur competitions made me understand at the time that, if any sport is mental, it is golf.

Quietly, one Sunday afternoon at your club, you put the balls in the hole. And on the day of a competition, that doesn’t fit… What’s the difference? The mental. But the problem with the word “mental” is that we use it in every way, and over time, it no longer has any meaning.

To understand, you have to dissect all of this. PGA Tour pro and 2017 winner Brooks Koepka said: “Golf is crazy. When we manage, we have the impression that things will never change. And it's the same when you're bad, that will never change. And that's how I feel now. »

Why does the athlete get stuck at this point in certain circumstances, even stars like this golf professional, Brooks Koepka? This resistance pushed me to bring out my dusty golf clubs from the back of the garage after more than 20 years. Some elements explained by my clients escaped me, so I will live it. I will live the experience of believing that I become something with a certain level (everything being relative :) ). But what was predicted happened, at a pivotal moment, the fall. Nothing fits anymore... failures follow one another. I am convinced of emptiness, I have lost a skill. It’s CERTAIN, it’s lost. Hence the title, I have lost my putting, in the sense that I lose my skills in certain circumstances like a competition and I "stuck" on the subject and strengthen it myself.

These subjects fascinate me. Therapist in Nyon closed to Geneva, I work on various subjects related to stress. The power of our brain, which can be our best ally or worst enemy, is fascinating. Again, to the non-golfer, you will understand all this as a parable of self-confidence. If your topic is speaking up, asserting yourself, etc., the cooking recipe is the same. For the golfer as for any amateur sport, it is a very beautiful parable of life that we can copy/paste in our personal, professional, etc. context, during challenges, conflicts and capacity for resilience.

Jack Nicklaus: “Golf is 90% mental and 10% physical”

Putting seems to me to be the most mental aspect of all golfing activities. Perhaps this is the moment when what we succeed 1000 times in training fails in competition. My putting experience made me experience something interesting... I thought I had a certain level and one day, I missed 3 in a row and not at the right time. And there settled in me this feeling of loss, like an object, like a pair of keys. I lost my putting. I had lost my self-confidence over this gesture. By losing my self-confidence, doubt led to a risky movement, like flying a plane without being sure that it will respond to the commands. I no longer know anything, I no longer control… I am no longer anchored in my body.

So, as a therapist on the subject of stress, I stopped everything and took a piece of paper and a pen... My self-confidence is firstly based on my self-esteem... and I need to review this basis.


Self-esteem or what am I worth, what are my values. We're going to stop using vague words. Statistically, what am I really worth in this activity?

Level 1: Know your stats… Know your true level

Out of 10 putts, how many do you put in the hole from 1m, 2m, etc.? ? How many are successful? Let's imagine that you tell me 6/10 at 1 meter... When you miss one, don't be angry or disconcerted... You have just carried out an operation which has a 60% probability of success, accept the 40%. So you don't refuse every shot. Like a trader who makes operations, a fisherman who casts his lines... only 1 out of X will give a positive result.

Our brain has the capacity to remember a particular experience and in this amateur game, we remember our best move... And we make it a reference. In neurolinguistic programming, we deal with this type of subject. Our brain processes information in different forms, including being selective (remembering certain moves) and distortion (we transform reality...).

The other element on our perception of level is the level of others. And especially the pros we watch. We first look at those who make the cut and the journalist will highlight the good shots to maintain his audience. But the statistics speak and will make you reconsider what the level of the pros is. At 1m82 (6 feet), on average, a PGA Tour pro succeeds only 71% of the time! And at 3 meters, only 40%. This is far from what your eyes and brain receive as information. Over 18 holes, how many putts, these are your stats and work on how to reduce that number.

Level 2: Know your stats in different circumstances

Putting on a mat is one thing, but when it's in reality, pitch, length of grass, direction of grass, rain, etc., all of these are factors that put your stats at a other level. The environmental context is important, as is the issue, but also human interactions. When two toxic people are next to you, what impact does it have on you? Doesn’t that mean anything to you? And in the car, if I “stick” to you, will that have an impact on your peace of mind? For some yes and others no.

Exercise: When you have a good time, live it. Take the time to feel what is happening in your body. Don’t ignore the body part of managing our emotions. Experience what is happening in your body (wave of relaxation, ease of breathing, light shoulders) and try to memorize it. We receive our stress in certain places in our body, but also our joys of victory. Study these moments with a view to reproducing this feeling. This state could be the subject of an anchor and be part of the positive visualization. You understand that you must look for a physical and mental state at any given time that pushes you to be away from that state.

Level 3: The issue

Do not fail in the face of what is at stake, but stay in the game. It is once again a mental effort, a mental exercise to put yourself in the context of the game with two friends while the situation is serious.


We define stress well because there is the perception of the situation: how is the green, where am I in terms of points, what competition. And my perception of my resources to deal with it. In short, there is the stressor (putting the ball in the hole, seeing a spider or being attacked) and our perception of the difficulty of the situation.

The 7 actions:

1. Know my real statistics and therefore accept my probabilities of failure

When it happens…it was expected. Long put of 10 meters, I have 40% success. So I aim for an imaginary circle near the hole rather than the hole. So, I attack a 2-shot strategy. Two advantages: 1. I'm close to the hole and 2. I keep a positive state of mind because things are under control, I can do what I want. And so I attack my second putt with the right mindset.

2. Train hard, race easy

An expression known in many sports, you can also apply it here. Do your workouts in competitive conditions, or worse. Start challenges with friends. Tiger Woods said that during his practices, he imagined himself on the 18th hole at Augusta. Put this pressure on during certain workouts. There's always that technical training, but it's necessary to do what I call performance training. If I put 4 balls and I aim at a point at 2 meters and do it 6 times (so 24 shots in a row), in the end I will have calibrated my shot to have a certain probability of success. But on the competitive course, I will make my putt right after an iron shot or a sand wedge. Any comparison is impossible. Take advantage of bad days and bad circumstances to practice getting back to a good result. Yes, we are talking about resilience. I'm a loser and "behind by X points" and I'm doing everything to get back up. This is the simplest definition of a champion.

3. Develop upstream through mental imagery

and the technique to achieve the right state of mind and physical relaxation. I use this technique in many cases: musicians, executives for speaking and athletes in skill sports.

4. A mental routine

A technical routine may seem necessary for some, and a mental routine can be added. Too much routine leads to freezing. There comes a time when a routine that is too long causes you to get stuck in this phase, like a horse that refuses an obstacle. Set a maximum number of repetitions. For example, for me, I do 2 technical routines, then 2 mental routines. During the last two, I forget the technique. This must come first and I look for the connection with my body, as well as a level of muscular relaxation. I have to do it during my training for it to work in competition.

5. Visualization of the move before the current movement

I imagine the contact of the club, the noise of the contact on the grass, and the noise of contact with the ground). During the technical routine, I'm not talking about mental imagery or positive visualization, but simply imagining the move.

6. My little sentence

I don't like to use the word mantra because it is a spiritual term and that is not the case here. Your little internal sentence can also be a marker of your anchoring. Personally, I have one: “It will fit because it’s simply mechanical. » A straight object (the putter) will strike a round ball in a straight line. There will be a certain strength and direction. In the end, it's just mechanical. For 2 weeks I had fun doing the opposite and saying "I'm bad and I'm not going to succeed", my statistics are clear on the power of our internal communication.

7. I embrace the good days and the bad.

And I’m not starting to draw definitive conclusions about any of my actions because I had a bad day. Nelly Korda can talk about it: “a bad day in the office” by making 10 shots on a par 3 on the LPGA Tour.

This rule is important in your life, whether during a conference, in case of physical failures at a certain moment, etc. Don't impose arbitrary rules on yourself. There are hazards.

If you have any questions or comments, I will be happy to answer them.


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