A question many golfers as themselves is, why is a six-foot par putt (say) easier to sink than a six-foot birdie putt?
There has even been some research done on the question.
This what I think, and it’s kind of an easy answer.
You probably have lots more six-foot putts for par than for birdie. You know if you miss this one, another opportunity will come later in the round and you’ll probably sink it.
A six-foot birdie put, on the other hand, comes around maybe once every three rounds or so for most of us. We don’t get a chance like this very often and we have to make advantage of it when it comes up. And that is the problem right there.
I remember a round I played on a course that has fiendish 17th hole. Par 4, somewhat longish, with a bunker on the left guarding the entrance to the green. Even hitting the green with your second is hard to do.
The pin was in the back left. I hit a hybrid which drew perfectly and ended up eight feet past the hole.
Getting a birdie here would be a feather in my cap and I knew I would never have another chance like this again.
Of course, I missed the putt.
The urgency to get an unexpected birdie putt into the hole takes us out of our usual process, our usual mental approach to the putt.
Instead of knowing what we are doing, and being as comfortable with it as if it were a par putt, we are really uncomfortable because there is so much at stake. We are mentally adrift.
We start hoping the ball into the hole instead of hitting it in. And that’s the difference.
Think this, regardless: If the ball goes in, it goes in. If it doesn’t go in, it doesn’t. There’s nothing more to it.
Now if it were an eagle putt…