If you suffer from the yips or are starting to develop them, you have my sympathy. You have even greater sympathy if you have been told a “cure” for the yips e.g. the claw grip or similar and that while you may have experienced temporary relief it is not a cure.

So after years of reading and researching I am not convinced that anyone can cure the yips. I am sure, however, that most people, almost all, can putt without yipping.

So what is the current thinking about the yips? I am in the Christian Marquardt camp that argues that the yips are really a context movement disorder, that is, it occurs in specific situations, not all the time. A golfer may yip his/her 4-5-6-7 putts but not their 30 footers nor their one-inch putts.

Marquardt proposes that the yips are an overlay on a golfer’s usual stroke that appears at certain times i.e. when confronted with a putt of a certain distance. Which means that the putting of most golfers is ok most of the time. It is just in some circumstances this overlay intrudes.

So what can a golfer do to rid themselves of the yips?

I’d suggest that visiting the Old Way New Way website would be the best starting point because it gives an insight into how sports people can overcome bad habits. It also explains why golfers often say:” I was doing this ok two weeks ago and now I am back to the start” (look up proactive inhibitors).

This will give you an insight into how learning takes place and how you can circumvent the “active forgetting” that the proactive inhibitors promote.

The next phase of reducing the yips is to develop a very clear understanding of the role of the hands in putting. This is absolutely vital.

The hands have three roles in putting. The firstfunction is to swing the putter away from the ball then swing it back so that the putterface returns to its original position. The second function is to transmit…yes transmit, not produce force … to propel the ball. The final function is to make sure the club doesn’t fall out of your hands. Yes, that’s it …nothing else.

Once you adopt that philosophy and understand its implications for the right hand you’ll be off to a good start to a yip reduced game.

But what do you do practically?

Practical ideas to reduce the yips: All references are for a right-handed golfer with a putter of 33-34-35 inches right hand low grip.

Before you start, test to find out which eye is dominant and use that eye and that eye only to line up the putter face. Both eyes fare used for distance control.

Firstly make sure that you have a putter grip that is not too thin. A reasonable size grip that feels comfortable and doesn’t have any air spaces between the fingers would be fine.

Secondly make sure that the grip has a flat top surface and that it is 90° to the putter face. You’ll need the grip on properly so that your stroke has less compensations.

Now place the thumb of your left hand straight down the top of the grip and hold it so that the top edge of the grip is in the lifeline of your left hand. This will help in bringing the putter face back to square at impact.

Now, holding the putter grip with the thumb and forefinger of the left hand place the sole of the putter flat on the ground. Move your head so that your eyes are directly over the ball. Move the putter face around so that it is at 90° to your intended target. Then move your body into position.

That fixes up the aiming part of putting. All that remains is working out how hard the ball must be struck to arrive at the hole with a good speed.

Go to the green or on the carpet and set up for a dead straight 3-4-5-6-7 foot putt. Grip as described for your left hand. Now turn the palm of your right hand so that it is facing the target and rest your hand against the rear of the putter grip. You’ll feel your left hand arm and shoulder doing all the work as the right hand goes for a ride.

This will encourage a smooth stroke and this what is desired.

Putt this way several times then putt your old way and describe the difference. Repeat this new style and old style until you can really distinguish between them. Once you can, then putt with your right hand in its usual position.

And when you go out on the course to play decide that for you your goal is to see how many putts you can have with this really smooth stroke as opposed to the yippy action. You’ll start sinking a lot more putts soon enough and have a lot less three putts.

Kevin O’Neill
Inventor of the DOT Putter