I wanted to write about the final episode of “Mad Men”. How the main character – Don Draper – ended up finding bliss up at the Esalen retreat in Big Sur. Huh? Well, Esalen was founded by Michael Murphy, the author of “Golf in the Kingdom”. So, of course, Don’s bliss was connected to golf.
But instead of boring you with verbal gymnastics to try to prove that the search for bliss results in discovering the real meaning of golf … I’m going to talk about the search for how to make putts.
Last night I was on our putting green with two very capable golfers – each came close to first round US Open qualifying last week at Edina CC. What kept these two from qualifying? Mediocre putting.
Don’t get me wrong – both of these guys are very good putters. But they aren’t great putters. So what were we working on? Probably not what you think. We were not working on their putting stroke. In fact, we were trying to putt with every conceivable putting stroke: sometimes putt off of the toe, or the heel of the putter … or cross-handed, or right-handed only … or really wristy, or with the shoulders only. You get the picture.
The point was to be able to make the putt. Not to make a good putting stroke. They are very different cats. I know guys who have beautiful putting strokes who never make anything. I know old guys who stab it and make everything. Those old guys don’t care what it looks like – they just focus on making the putt. So – why not learn how to make it with any style? Then you can focus on making the putt – not your “perfect” stroke.
The perfect stroke obsessives always feel that if their stroke isn’t perfect they don’t deserve to make it. Talk about a self-defeating attitude. Good putters believe that they will always make it – no matter if they hit it solid or make a good stroke.
Do you think Don Draper learned how to putt at Esalen?
GM and Head Golf Professional