The Second Putt Mindset
All golfers have had the frustrating experience of having their momentum stalled in a round by an untimely 3-putt caused by rolling their first putt by the hole a bit too firmly, leaving them a come-back second putt an uncomfortable distance, usually between about 3 to 6 feet.
Often in this situation, players (of all skill levels) proceed to change their mindset on this second putt. The fear of three-putting can have a massive effect on the player’s mindset, often making them significantly more tentative and/or results-oriented.
Interesting is the common thread among players in this situation, when asked if that 3-6 foot putt was for their first putt, (for birdie, for example) is the reply that they would often experience very little, if no fear, and thus a stroke that is not tentative and more process-oriented; a mindset quite different from the second-putt scenario. Most also report that they feel their success rate on the first-putts in the 3-6 foot range is noticeably higher than on second-putts in the same range.
We see a lot of players on the busy practice green at Morgan Creek who practice the 3-6 foot putts diligently. I would contend that many are most often practicing their 3-6 foot “first-putts”, or at least with that “first-putt” scenario in mind.
Maybe adding a practice scenario into the mix where a challenging enough first-putt (longer or large-breaking putts), resulting in sufficient practice on the 3-6 foot “second-putts”, can help players improve their mindset on these putts to more closely resemble that of the “first-putts” from this range?