I thought I was going to put in some dedicated putting practice the week after the Portugese Open

by Chris Wood on July 10, 2010

I thought i was going to put in some dedicated putting practice the week after the Portugese Open but when i got home, a leaking water tank had flooded most of my flat.

I wonder if anyone else noticed my socks.

Three-quarters of my flat floor had to be ripped up. That was very stressful and bang went my putting practice that week, so I decided to take the following week off as well, the BMW International week.

I then got some useful putting practice in. I was still a little frustrated with my stroke in the French Open – 35 putts for level-par on the Saturday, for instance – but then I took only 28 putts in the first round of the Scottish Open. That was good for me.

That can be a bit misleading because you can hit 18 greens and have 33 putts and I didn’t play so well tee-to-green. But I did finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.

This week I’ve been working with a computer system that tells you the angle of your putter face at address. If you are aiming square or open or shut it will tell you. It also highlights the putter path and the way you are striking it out of the putter. It’s great information to have because most of that is hard to see with the naked eye.

To start with, I found out I was aiming two degrees shut. Then I found at impact I was point eight of a degree open. So I’m obviously manipulating the stroke somehow through the putt. That won’t produce much consistency.  I’m trying to put that right now.

The way I’ve hit the ball all this season, it will be a shame if the putting continues to let me down. But once you hole one or two putts the confidence will come back.  All this has happened because my putting expectation levels have gone up with playing so well otherwise.

I’m looking forward to playing St Andrews greens, although you can have some seriously long putts at the Old Course. The fifth green is nearly 100 yards across, for instance.  You can’t expect to be hitting close all the time unless it’s quite still, so patience is the key. If it blows you could be in for some horrendous putts. Lag-putting and the ability to hole four to six-footers for par are a must. And you need some accurate shots into the greens to avoid those long, undulating putts.

I read that Phil Mickelson is sharpening up his driving to take the bunkers out of play and I agree with him. You can’t even see half the bunkers, though.  Good driving will be important, too. Controlling your flight in a wind can be paramount. With the MP-630 FT I’ve got now I can adjust it. If I want a little bit less spin I can push the weights forward. I’ll definitely be testing that out before the first round. Half shots, keeping the ball under the wind... I’ve got it all worked out beforehand!

Well that’s the plan.

Now, being flippant, I wonder if anyone else has noticed my socks! I was asked about them the other day and whether they might cause me blisters. It’s true they only just cover my feet, they are a sort of gym sock. Generally we play in quite hot conditions and it’s quite nice to feel a bit of air around your feet and ankles. Most of my heel is bare but I don’t get blisters. I think that’s because I suffered badly with them as a youngster and my feet have toughened up.

Anyway, I’ll be pulling my socks up next week. Hopefully I can go two better than I did at Turnberry. I’ve never been to an Open at St Andrews. It will be pretty special.

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Author Chris Wood

After a top-5 finish as an amateur in the 2008 British Open, Chris Wood proved his future is bright by following up with a 3rd-place finish in 2009, putting him on his way to earning the Sir Henry Cotton award as the 2009 European Tour Rookie of the Year.