If you’ve played golf for long or watched much golf, you’ve heard of the yips. But if you’re still asking yourself, “what ARE the yips” read on!

The yips are actually a general term for the loss of certain skills in ANY sport. So you can have batting yips, catching yips, putting yips, and as was the case recently with Brendon Todd, yips with your driver too!

short game tips

What are the yips

This quote from Ernie Els after his 6-putt from 3 feet explains it pretty well: ”

On Thursday, after Ernie Els tried to explain how he had six-putted from three feet on one hole and then missed a series of mind-boggling short putts on others, he described his condition as if there was some kind of “short” in his brain.
“I can go to that putting green now and make 20 straight 3‑footers,” Els said after the round. “And then you get on the course and you feel a little different and you can’t do what you normally do. So it’s pretty difficult.” Read more about that here.
So, what happens? Usually the yips, when related to golf, refer to someone who can’t make short putts anymore. Some say there is a physical component, like a twitch of the wrist or a dip of the head, too. It’s been debated by many as to whether or not anxiety plays a role in either causing the yips or just exacerbating them. Some believe the yips are actually a neurological condition while others think it’s merely a matter of “choking” under pressure.
No matter what causes the yips, they’re frustrating and even embarrassing to some.  When you consistently wish for someone to say “That’s good” so you don’t have to make a 3 ft putt, there’s a problem.

Solutions for the yips

Try a different putter. Sometimes, just getting a putter with a different style can help. Suddenly you might have more confidence with THAT putter. It’s probably psychosomatic, but if it works, then who cares?

Lots of short putting drills. Hit your long putts to within 3 ft from various positions on the green and then practice the short putts. Play a few rounds by yourself and practice, if it’s slow that day, on the greens you actually play on.

Put a line on your golf ball to help with aim and trust it.

Change your grip. It seems almost every tour player has a different grip, and you can tell which players are or have dealt with the yips. They have claw grips, lead hand low grips, etc.

Think about making a good stroke, not the result. Yes, of course you want the putt to go in, but if you’re soley focused on the result you may fear missing the putt. That in itself will cause you to make a wonky putt or move your head.

Finally, look at the ball and listen for it to drop!

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