Bill Britton is a 15 year PGA Tour player and owner of the Bill Britton Golf School at Twin Brook Golf Center in Tinton Falls, New Jersey
While on Tour, Bill won the 1989 Centel Classic and in 1990 finished 7th in the Masters and 4th in the PGA Championship. Bill will be featured monthly in “Ask Bill.”
For more information on Twin Brook Golf Center and the Bill Britton Golf School, go to www.twinbrookgolfcenter.com and www.billbrittongolfschool.com. To submit questions for “Ask Bill”, email us at email@example.com.
Q-Do you have any, ANY, help with the dreaded putting Yips?
A- I have seen player’s have the yips with the driver, chipping and putting. In the case of putting, I believe the yips come from being too concerned with the outcome of the putt, negative thinking and poor technique.
The good news is that the yips can be over come. Bernhard Langer, as I understand it, had the yips twice in his career, and is a two time Masters Champion. And you will not find more difficult greens to putt than those at Augusta National. I have also had the privilege of playing with Orville Moody (former US Open Champion) early in my career, and he was clearly the worst putter of any tour player I have ever played with. There is no doubt in my mind that if those two players can over come the yips as they did, it is possible for anyone.
Having said that, it will not be easy, the yips are not only in your stroke but also in your mind. I would suggest the following plan and stick to it.
- Always be positive. Everyone has negative thoughts, but you must take control of you mind and concentrate on the process of putting, not the outcome. You might say something to yourself like, “I am going to hit a solid putt at the right corner of the hole” and not be concerned with the result.
- Practice your aim, speed, and making solid contact.
- Make a decision about the break and speed and stick to it.
- Give every putt within 20 feet the chance to go it. Meaning, reach the hole.
- Strive to roll your ball at the right speed down your target line and nothing more. That is the best we can do, we have zero control over the ball once it leaves the putter.
- See a Professional you trust for help.
- Do this and no more. It is so easy to over try. The challenge for the most is in doing less, not more.
Q. Can you please help me out with the ruling for a ball that you deem unplayable?
A. You can deem your ball unplayable anywhere on the course except in a water hazard.
If you deem your ball unplayable; it is a one stroke penalty and your options are:
1. Play a ball as near as possible from where the original ball was last played.
2. Drop a ball behind where the original ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit as to how far back you want to go.
3. Drop a ball within two club lengths of where the original ball lay, no nearer to the hole.
If the unplayable ball is in the bunker and the player chooses b or c, the ball must be dropped in the bunker.
When proceeding under this rule, you are allowed to mark, clean or substitute another ball.
Q. What advice do you have for reading greens?
A. The ability to read greens is definitely a learned ability. I believe the more putts you watch the better you will become at reading greens. With that in mind, I would suggest seeing as many putts as possible both yours and your playing partner.
When putting it is important to stay still until the stroke is completed, but it is also important to then turn our head to watch the putt roll. The same goes for out chips. Beyond that here are a few good ideas to help you:
- -As you approach the green, observe the overall slope of the green.
- -Squat down behind the putt approximately 5-6 steps behind the ball to read the putt. Imagine it raining, which way would the water roll off of the green? This is the direction your putt will break. Try to imagine the line your ball must roll over to go into the hole.
- -A putt will usually break more near the hole because it will be rolling slower and is more susceptible to the slope.
- -On big breaking putts, experiment with playing more break and missing on the high side. Most of us severely under read putts.
Q. What advice do you have for shots where the ball is below your feet? And above your feet?
A. When the ball is above your feet the ball tends to hook because the club face is closed in this position. This shot requires us to aim further to the right, stand taller, stand further away from the ball and make a flatter swing.
If the ball is below your feet the ball tends to slice because the club face is open. You want to aim to the left, bend more in the knee’s and hips, stand closer to the ball and swing more upright.
Q. I followed you at this years Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club over the Memorial Day Weekend. Being that the winning score (Jay Haas +7) was well over par, what made the conditions so tough? And how was your experience (coming in tied for 16th)?
A. As for the toughness of the course it was a combination of things. The greens were extremely fast and were also very sloped. And then you had the rough, along the fairways and around the greens, very high. When you have all of these factors it is going to lead to high scores. When you are playing a course like this it is imperative to keep the ball below the hole. But with the rough the way it was, if you hit into it, keeping the ball below the hole became extremely hard. Overall, I had a great week and hit the ball better than I could ever have expected. Other then a couple of bad stretches on Friday and Sunday, I was very pleased with my play. It is an absolute treat for me to play in tournaments such as a PGA Championship.