On a level area of the putting green, place a ball about twenty feet from the hole, with the flag removed. Set up for the putt, focusing on the hole, & get a feel for the distance from the ball to the hole. Instead of stroking the putt , stand up & face the hole. Now close your eyes, walk toward the hole, &, holding the putter by the head , try to put the grip end of the putter into the hole. (Don’t count your steps; just put the putter grip down when you think you’ve gotten to the hole.)
How did you do? Most people stop short of the hole. They may start taking smaller, tentative steps as they get near the point where they think the hole is, as if they’re not allowed to go past it. The hole is the assumed limit, the end of the “box” they can’t go outside of . Their mind is only as big as the space between the ball and the hole.
Now set up to the putt again, but this time look beyond the hole. Expand your view to the far edge of the green, then come back to the hole, seeing it within the larger space. Now walk again with the eyes closed and try to put the grip end of the putter in the hole.This time you were probably much closer to the hole , or even a little bit beyond it. That’s the impact of letting your mind be bigger.
When you focus tightly on the hole, your mind is smaller and your world is more constricted. The first time you did the exercise you probably slowed down as you thought you were getting near the hole. If the hole were at “the edge of the world” you would be careful not to go beyond it and fall off.
If we focus so tightly on the hole that there’s nothing in our mind past it, it becomes the edge of our world. We don’t want to send our ball over the edge, so we subconsciously try to barely get it to the hole.
There is an optical counterpart to this psychological effect. Visually focusing tightly on an object foreshortens the perceived distance to that object. In other words, it looks closer than it actually is. Combine that with being afraid to go past the hole, and the ball never gets there. That’s one reason why we leave our putts short so often.
When getting ready to putt, let your view include more of the green and see the distance to the hole within that bigger space.
Bigger space, bigger mind. Bigger mind , better results.