I remember reading a exert from Harvey Pennick, books that to be honest every golfer should read at least once, which recounted a story about a junior golfer and their parents. The parents entered the pro shop proudly announcing that their child had made their first birdie. Pennick responded by asking “how long was the putt”, the parents conceded the putt, the distance I don´t recall, Pennick was apologetic but told the parents that their child still hadn´t made a birdie.

The moral of the story is simple: Hole everything, because if you don´t you haven`t actually made a score. I am a firm believer that if you are preparing to play after a break away from the game, or if you haven´t played competitive golf for a while you should be holing everything, yes even when you are sat on the edge of the hole. Every single putt counts the same, so you should give the same amount of attention to each of them.

There is however a more important reason, and that is; if you hole out everything you will have a true reflection of your game and the level that you are currently at. Many golfers will complain that they can´t take their range game onto the course, or that they have been unlucky with a few putts sliding past the edge of the hole, to then miss the return putt. But in reality, one of the main reasons players can´t take their “range game” or “friendly knock with mates game” into competitive rounds of golf is that they rarely play competitive golf and the pressure that comes with competitions is rarely, if ever replicated in day to day golf.

Ask yourself the following question, and please answer it honestly: Do you get nervous when faced with a two-foot putt for par, when playing a competition? If you answer yes, then a big reason for this would be the gimmies that you take during your friendly games. You have no experience of holing out from this distance, except when you are playing in a tournament, so it is no wonder that you feel nervous, doubt your ability to hole it and ultimately miss more than you should. It creates a vicious circle; you lose confidence in your putting stroke and you start to fear these putts and you do not perform the same way as you do when playing with friends, you choke and people keep reminding you, making the problem worse.