Golf is a challenging game all on its own, but when you unexpectedly get the yips, it makes you want to store your clubs in the corner and leave the game to the pros. Whether you know it as freezing, the waggles, the staggers, the jerks, whiskey fingers, or most commonly today, the yips, you’ll want to do your best to clear your head, move forward and get your golf game back on track!
First things first, realize that the yips happen to just about every golfer at some point in time, so you are with good company! Hank Haney says The yips get grouped into a category with nervousness and choking, but they’re a combination of neurological “fault” mixed with a secondary anxiety element. In addition to playing with your head, there are three common technical issues caused by the yips – failure to accelerate the putter, excessive wrist action and lifting your head too early. Let’s take a look at how to work through these putting challenges.
Failing to accelerate the putter
Too much wrist
Often golfers will flick their wrists to try and tap the ball into the cup. Just as mentioned above, if you swing it like a pendulum, your putt will be more consistent.
Lifting your head too early
Lifting your head to follow the ball will pull your shoulders and club out of line. Be sure to keep your eyes down where you start until you hear your ball hit the cup.
While an exact explanation of the yips is still a mystery, we do know that The yips are not limited to golf. The condition has similar effects in activities like darts, archery, shooting, and there have been several examples in baseball too.
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This golfer went from being a +2 handicap with an excellent putting game to at least a 12 handicap because of severe “Putting Yips”. As is typical for many this affliction began in the mid 40yrs and went on into the late 50’s with many attempts to solve the Yips.
In this case the “Yips” were much more prevalent and severe when playing in competitions under pressure. This fact made it more difficult to eliminate or at least reduce greatly because when practicing and trying other methods and putter styles, the feeling of pressure was much less and the yips would appear to have disappeared. When back under pressure in competition the Yips would return every time. I realized from this that any solution would have to include pressure situations.
The first step to improving was to better understand the problem in great detail. What exactly is happening both mentally and physically when I “Yip” a putt? After much study reading books and watching videos I came up with my own simple definition of “my putting yips” (this can vary from golfer to golfer). My definition; “an involuntary small muscle action in my trailing hand (right) just before impact and accentuated by doubt and fear.”
I was able to determine that my trail or right hand was the major problem by using “The Putting Stroke Teacher” training aid in a pressure situation to provide the feel I needed to isolate the negative motion in my right hand. The feel of stability in the wrists provided by the training aid reinforced the correct motion and clearly identified through feel any mistake or “Yip” action.
I continued practicing with “Tpsteacher” alternating with and without it as well as using different grip positions until I found that my best result under pressure was to completely take away any control my right hand may apply. I did this by using the “saw”, “pencil”, or “claw” method of gripping the putter with extremely light pressure in the fingers of the right hand.
Once I committed to this method it was surprisingly quick to see positive results in competition and over time (with lots of practice using “Tpsteacher”) my scores lowered greatly again and my putter is FUN AGAIN. At age 61 I can enjoy competitive golf again and accept the very occasional “yipped” putt.
Thank You “The Putting Stroke Teacher” training aid.