P is for Putting well. In my opinion, putting is the most important aspect of playing golf in Thailand. If you putt well at the new golf resorts you will be playing at, then I am sure you will get maximum enjoyment from your golf holiday. Even if it is the flattish greens like those found at the Royal Golf Club or the more challenging ones that are shaped like potato chips such as the greens at the Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed Green Valley Golf Club, putting well is critical to having a good time on a Thai golf package.
Most high handicappers on a Thailand golf vacation hardly ever make a birdie because they lack the technique and confidence to putt well, especially under pressure. However, if you remember the last time you were playing at a new golf course and you were able to convert a putt into a birdie, then I am sure that memory was a happy one or even the highlight of your golf trip.
The three keys to improved putting in Thailand are as follows:
1. Light grip pressure. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the tightest, hold the putter with a grip pressure about 6 at most.
2. Keep your wrists firm. Breaking your wrists makes it very difficult to hit the ball consistently and in the correct direction. Instead, keep your wrists firm, and putt with your shoulders, which encourages a pendulum like stroke. A good drill to ensure you are not breaking your wrists is to putt with your glove on, and stick a long (preferably sharp) tee or object down your glove so the sharp point is resting on the top of your left hand. If you break your left wrist, the tee will dig into you. No pain no gain!
3. Believe you are a good putter. This is probably the most important tip when putting on unfamiliar golf greens. ALL good putters have one thing in common, and that is they believe they are good putters, and when they are standing over the ball they think it’s going in. I see many examples of poor putters in Thailand. Bad putters know it, and they make sure everybody else knows it, and before they hit all putts they are convinced the ball isn’t going in. If you want to improve your putting, change your thinking and believe you are now the greatest putter ever to walk the planet. Or at least that your becoming the greatest putter ever to walk the planet. Once you have grooved your stroke, each time when you are over the ball about to putt, the only thoughts you want to have are “this ones going in”. Just look at the hole, believe it’s going to go in and stoke the ball.
Practice your putting at least as much as your full swing. Remember that all Thailand golf courses, including those in remote areas like Kanchanaburi or Khao Yai, are a Par 72 (except the par 74 St Andrews Golf Club in Pattaya) and are designed to be played with 50% of the shots being putts. Sure, putting isn’t as glamorous as hitting a 250 yard drive, but when you nail that 10 footer for a birdie, everything about your golf vacation will fall into place because of that putt!