The Putting Yips-a Case Study

This is one article that I hoped never to write but unfortunately it looks I will have to. After having a difficult time on the green for a few years now, I think that I might be heading towards (or already in) that horrible place know as the golf putting yips:( As other sufferers of this dreaded afflication know, it is something that can both ruin any competitive golf aspiriations and also completely suck the joy out of the game. I have decided to turn the spotlight on myself and have a look at what exactly the putting yips (and its close cousin the chipping yips) is and also (and more importantly) what can be done about it.

putting yips
The Horror of the two foot putt

This article then will be, I hope, something of a case study for my own troubles on the greens and hopefully offer some solutions and maybe even a cure for fellow sufferers. It would literally become a novel if I put all the information in this one article so I will give a (relatively) brief overview of the yips here and then create separate articles for everything from what causes the yips to the various solutions that exist and just how they work out for me. Let’s see if we can find a way to eradicate the yips!

My Story with the Putting Yips

First, a bit of background. Along with the shanks, the yips are probably the worst thing that can happen to a golfer. Given that there are tens (maybe hundreds) of things that can do wrong with the golf swing, this seems like a pretty big statement. Let me tell you why I believe this to be true. Something like a slice, hitting it fat, or flipping are all a bit of a pain and cause some fairly horrific shots. However, they all have a cause and it is usually quite easy to find. For example, most fat shots will come from keeping the weight too far back on the back foot and never actually getting through the ball.

A few lessons from a decent coach, or even a look through some of the better youtube instruction can make all the difference fairly quickly. The shanks are more of a problem because there can be quite a few different reasons, sometimes complete opposites of each other! However, the real reason why the shanks are so unpleasant is the embarrassment/fear factor. For anyone who hasn’t experienced it, the feeling of standing behind the ball and wondering if you risk hitting the person standing off to the side is more than bad. As someone who spent a while breaking out in a cold sweat every time I had a wedge in my hand, it almost pushes you to quit.

From Shanks to Yips

The putting yips is like this, but multiplied by a about a hundred! In theory, rolling a ball a few yards over a (relatively) smooth surface of a putting green should be straightforward. Ok, you might not make the putt, but generally getting it close then tapping in should be easy, right? Not with the yips. If you don’t know what this feels like, imagine standing over a ten foot putt and not knowing if you will leave it five feet short or ten feet past. Or having a 2 foot tap in and there being quite a good chance that you won’t even touch the hole. Welcome to the yips!

Before thinking about what to do to cure them, what actually causes the yips? What happens to make a simple pendulum action with a putter become so difficult?   The answer so far is…..I don’t know! But I do intend to find out. Over the next few weeks I will be delving into all things yips and who knows, I might even find the holy grail….a cure!

So if you have ever struggled on the greens (or around the greens) with the yips, hopefully there will be something in this series of articles that might help. As I publish more, I will list them here and try to make this the best possible resource for the yips.

EDIT: here is the story so far!

Part 1: the science

Part 2: Method

And here is another article I have written about putting that might help

how to practice putting

Leave a Comment