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Bruce Crampton's Putting Keys From 1973 Are Still Super Useful Now

August 18, 2016

Welcome to Golf Digest Instruction Throwback Thursday, where we take a trip into the Golf Digest archive, pull out a random issue, laugh at some of the outfits, and find the best, most relevant, instruction piece. Who knows -- a look into the past could be the key to fixing your game now.

This one comes to you from the August 1973 issue. Bruce Crampton was on the cover, and inside he had a four-page putting piece called How To Putt Confidently. Crampton finished second in the PGA Championship in ’73, and that was the year after he’d finished second in both the Masters and the U.S. Open. Though he never broke through to win a major, he won 14 times on the PGA Tour during his career. And this putting piece is pretty darn good. There are a lot of tips in it, but here are three of the best:

Rid yourself of tension.

Tension comes from insecurity, from the fear of missing. You never are completely free from tension under pressure. I know I’m not, even though I’ve made many putts for money in crucial situations. But if you’re concentrating on how to make a putt rather than on what will happen if you miss, you will be more relaxed.


Play picture golf.

Try to see the line and see the ball going into the hole. Try to keep this picture in your mind. It’s a form of self-hypnosis. You’re more than halfway to putting it in.

Don’t be too careful on short putts.

That sounds like strange advice, but those three-to-five footers are the toughest putts in golf because we know we should make them. We get too careful, then we try to guide or wish the ball in, instead of thinking, “All I’ve got to do is start it on this line with a solid stroke and it’s going to go in.”