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!
8 CommentsLeave a Reply
had the yips real bad and went to the belly putter. I ended up regripping my “short” stick with a midsize grip and putting lights out.
Four birds in one round for a 15 capper…. So try a larger grip, they do work!
Hey Paul – thanks for the comment, yep another great way to take the wrists out of your stroke is to try a larger grip. Glad you kicked this yips!
None of these work for people who really have the yips—and none of the posters and not even the author really have the yips. They all seem to suggest that just a spate of missing short putts is tantamount to the yips. That is not correct. The yips is a very noticeable twitch or series of twitches that occurs right before impact–and its effect begins (in putting) often at the takeaway where one cannot take the putter back along the intended line.
Please spare us true yippers the sanctimonious crap about just lightening your grip or a larger grip. That has nothing to do with it, absolutely nothing. It’s fear and anxiety. Nothing mechanical can fix it except perhaps putting the opposite side (LH if you’re RH).
Hi Joseph, thanks for the comment. I have suffered from the yips on and off for years. My point is that missing short putts is a trigger that helps develop the doubt and anxiety that will eventually lead to yips. I’m well aware of the twitches at impact.
I agree that yipping is caused by fear and anxiety of missing a putt, but this fear is sparked by something, and then usually worsened by poor mechanics. Short of suggesting a lobotomy, players with the yips have to try and learn putting from scratch again to re-gain the confidence they lost, and the fear they have for putts. The technique in this post, and on others on this site are meant as mechanical fixes for the poor habits that yips can develop in hopes that a yipper can start to get their confidence back on the greens. The same confidence that is needed for a yip-less stroke.
Hey Joseph Collingsworth – seems to me like you’ve convinced yourself that somehow your body has been invaded by the yips and there isntohing you can do about it. I have a suggestion – clear your mind of that thinking and work on your putting. If you are 100% convinced you have the yips and nothing can cure them then you are done as a putter my friend
Thanks for these tips. i’m a 7 handicap, and struggled to get any lower, due to my putting stroke of absolute sin. my grip has completely changed, and my yips have seemingly vanished! almost went to get putter #5.. now i can go back to putter #2, my fav 🙂
I am currently struggling with the yips. A lot of my problem is I tend to stand too far from the ball, allowing or even forcing my wrists into too much action. After 18 holes today, I played 9 more and “crowded the ball a little but I found my eye directly over the ball. It allowed a smoother stroke and better roll. A split grip has helped me in the past.
Joseph Collingsworth, I understand. Those who think that nerves over a putt have anything to do with the yips have really no idea. They don’t understand that killer twitch happens uncontrollably whether the putt is on the green or practising on the carpet at home. I guess from what you say you also yip your chips. Best of luck to you. My seven year journey with the yips has yielded no solution other than the claw grip but that has no finesse, no feel. 44 putts today, at least it provides my partners with some entertainment. Contributors to blogs or writers of articles that advise that it is either confidence or technique that is the problem need to look up focal dystonia and then they will really have an understanding of the genuine problem.