[Part 6] The Path To Consistent Golf

Applying 80/20 Thinking to Golf

I’ve applied this mindset to the entire game of golf with incredible results. But for the interest of brevity, here’s just one way I’ve made golf learning more simple.

We all want to putt better. It can be a black art. And when Perry placed his version of the graph on the screen, I immediately thought, "I’ve seen this thing before". I realised that the golf scientist, Dave Pelz had used something similar to describe the putting game.

Here's Pelz's graph.

Here’s what it’s all about ...

You’re going to make almost all of your really short putts but the further you get from the hole, the less you’ll make. What’s surprising for many, is how quickly the numbers drop away.

And keep in mind, the numbers above represent the best players in the world. Amateur golfers are not going to be able to match these numbers. When I first saw this graph (in the early 2000’s) I had no idea about 80/20 thinking and about making my golf game simpler and easier.

To be honest, I ignored the numbers and thought I could out-putt the curve. I foolishly thought if I practised long enough and hit enough putts, I could make all sorts of putts consistently.

But I couldn’t. I was pushing things uphill and trying break the confines of human potential. And let me tell you, it was a maddening and frustrating process that never helped me putt better.

I wasn’t putting better because I was trying too hard and doing too much.

Making More Putts

My 80/20 thinking with putting is really simple.

Learn to make most of your short putts. You don’t need to worry about the tiny putts (because you don’t miss one footers), the key area is the 3-4 feet range. If you can make more of these you’ll be on your way. When you can do this, you’ll naturally make more 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 foot putts. You won’t make them all (you can’t) but you’ll hole your fair percentage.

What about the longer putts?

Great question. You should stop believing you can hole them. Not because they are impossible to make, it’s just that nobody can hole them consistently. Thinking this way frees up your system, helps you relax and you can focus on something way more important...

... two-putting.

If you can two putt the vast majority of the time (when you’re outside of say 10-15 feet from the hole) your putting game will never be the same again. Two-putting is key.

That extra putt, the dreaded three-putt is what kills your score. But learn to get your first putt close, so you can get the next one is, is a perfect approach and will result in improved putting performance.

I worked on this strategy with one of Australia’s best golfers (ranked in top 15 in 2015) and he was successful. Where once this guy was frustrated at missing a bunch of 20 to 30 foot putts, he accepted this as normal. His focus became aligned on becoming better at the shorter putts, and more on two-putting the rest.

The end result was a more relaxed and calm golfer. He didn’t need to spend hours each week on the practice putting green (there’s just no need) and the nice side effect is he started rolling in more of the long ones too.

And the comments from others really bumped his confidence.

"You’re putting really well mate"
"You don’t miss. You are holing everything"
"He’s an awesome putter. His long putting is phenomenal".

We laughed at all these comments because a few weeks earlier he was ready to quit. He thought his putting was horrendous and he had no chance of improving (because he had tried everything to fix it).

But learn to simplify and see what happens?

Not only can results come quickly, it happens without all the usual BS that is brainwashed into us.

long hours of practice
rebuild our technique
lots of thinking and analysis
getting worse before you get better

When you know how to simplify you can forget about all those other things you normally think about. You can live up to the KISS principle.

And surely this has got to be your mission?

To make golf more simple and fun so you give yourself a chance of playing your best and bringing something consistent to the golf course.

If you’re bringing lots of mental baggage, because you're focused on the wrong things, and you're overloading your system because you’re worried about every millimetre of your technique, then you have ZERO chance of playing decently.


Sure, you can fluke the odd shot or even have a good round every now and then. But as we saw in my first series of emails, this is not sustainable. You will invariably fall back into your wicked ways. You’ll be in a slump in no time.

I call this simplistic approach to learning/playing golf Automatic Golf. And I’m not sure any coach has spent more time attempting to simplify the game - to make it easier so we can get past all the instruction and the minefield of ideas available to us.

All this sounds too easy

This is the biggest objection I receive about Automatic Golf. It just sounds too easy.

Listen up. Golf is a skill like all others. It’s no different from driving a car, riding a bike or throwing a ball. And most of us can perform these skills well despite not needing to practice them much and we certainly don’t stress and worry about them.

These skills are automatic. We perform them without a lot of conscious thought. And once we’ve learned them, we can do them for the rest of our lives without complication.

I get that golf isn’t natural and we aren’t born with a golf club in our hand. But learning is natural. What I’ve presented so far helps you learn golf "naturally". I’m passionate (and a little crazy about sharing my thoughts) because most golfers and the entire industry seems hell-bent on making it as difficult as possible when there is a much simpler way.

I’m almost out of time for today. In my next email I’m going to give you a way to take this approach to your entire game and I'll cover more of the questions that I’ve received.

Until then. Good golfing,