I hate the yips. It seems that every two years or so, after missing a couple of short putts – my mind goes into “don’t miss it” mode, and I’m faced with another couple weeks of awful, yip-filled rounds of golf. Now I guess I really shouldn’t complain, I’ve heard the horror stories of players quitting the game because their yips got so bad, or even people whose yips have progressed to affect their chipping and full-swing shots. I’m glad I’m not suffering that bad.
With all this said, I’ve spent countless hours on the putting green working on different things to help cure myself of the yips. I’ve tried different putting strokes, different setup routines, different putters and various drills – you name it, I’ve tried it. Oddly enough, I’ve found that some of the simplest changes to my putting stroke have made all the difference. In this post, I’m going to share with you those simple changes – so that you too can benefit – enjoy.
Check Your Grip
Okay, hear me out on this one. When I was yipping the ball, I recall having a death grip on the club – just hoping I could hit the ball square enough to get it remotely on line. My grip position got strong, and I was tense. This is not conducive to a good putting stroke. After taking a little break from the game and heading out to the putting green I started testing out a looser grip – and my stroke started to feel better.
Currently, I try and focus on gripping the putter solidly with only the last two fingers on my top hand (pinky & ring finger), the rest of my grip is light and loose. That was the trick. By releasing the tension in my index fingers and thumbs, it quite literally took the wrists out of my stroke and allowed the putter to rock freely back and forth from my shoulders. No wrists in the putting stroke means no yips.
There’s a second part to this so read on…
Your Bottom Hand
Your bottom hand plays a larger role in putting than you need it to when you’re yipping the ball. I’m sure you’ve heard that the bottom hand just “goes along for the ride” – well… it should, unless you’re afraid of missing. I have found that when my putting starts to go south, my lower hand moves into a stronger position on the grip. The stronger it’s position, the more of a role it plays in directing the putting stroke. I’ll bet for those of you who suffer from the yips – that this hand may be a key factor in causing the yips.
If you move this hand to a neutral or even weak position on your putter – you’ll force this hand to simply “go along for the ride” again and direct the putter down whatever line you’ve setup for yourself. So in short, if your lower hand is sitting on-top of the grip versus beside or even under it – you’re grip is too strong!
Your Stroke Speed
When you’re suffering from the yips and you’re looking down at a cup from two feet away – it’s looking like a mighty small target. Or when faced with a 50-foot putt, you’re just hoping you can hit the ball yip-free in hopes of maybe getting it close. The “don’t yip it” thought-process will actually cause your stroke to speed up – even if you don’t mean to do it.
It’s logical when you think about it – the faster the stroke, the less time you have to screw it up with a yip. The problem with a quicker stroke is that it ruins your feel, and opens the door in the future for your yips to return. Yes, it may solve your yips problem temporarily, but the other two fixes described above are better solutions. Once you start working with the above solutions – work on slowing down your putting stroke again. The best putters in the world make smooth, controlled putting strokes – yippers and ex-yippers do not. Once you start putting a little better,take the time to slow down your stroke. Doing so will help get you into a solid rhythm again, and hopefully will allow you to never yip another putt again.
Got your own yip tips you think are worthy of sharing? Have you tried this tips and got some feedback? We’d love to hear – share your thoughts in the comments below!