It is not uncommon for someone to show up for a lesson with the hope of learning enough not to embarrass themselves at a charity golf outing, or another business golf event that they are forced to participate in. The majority of charity events, fundraisers, or other business related golf tournaments tend to be played as a scramble. This format, which consists of everyone hitting from the same area, choosing the best result of the group, then having everyone hit again from the best spot and continuing on with the same process until the hole is completed is a great format for those who are not avid golfers.

If you are not a golfer, but hope to contribute and above all else, desire not to embarrass yourself, I would strongly urge you to spend most of your time around the putting green. If you are not athletic, or don’t have a good understanding of how to swing the golf club, chances are you are not going to be hitting 300+ yard drives, and even if you get lucky enough to make solid contact, there is a good chance that someone else in your group will hit a better shot than you.

However, if you work on your shots around the green, and more specifically your putting, this is an area where you can drastically help the team and make a positive impact. Making a 15 foot putt counts just as much as hitting a 300 yard drive, and once you make the putt, no one else has to hit a shot or can better your result. If you desire to make an impact and contribute to the team, a smooth putting stroke and knocking in a couple 20 foot putts will go a long way to improve team morale and make you have a positive impact on the team.

With all that being said, how do get a smooth putting stroke and learn your way around a green? If you aren’t a golfer, (and even if you are,) putting can be tricky. A great way to familiarize yourself with putting is to imagine you are going to gently toss a golf ball towards the hole. Gauge the speed and effort it will take to get the ball close or into the hole. Look at the slopes, distance and any other factors that may affect the path of the ball. It may take you several tries to get a ball close to the hole, but after a few attempts, you will begin to get a “feel” for how hard you have toss the golf ball.  Transfer that same force to the putter and practice hitting putts with different lengths and slopes – some long – some short, some uphill – some downhill.

As for the stroke itself, imagine you are rocking a baby to sleep in your arms. The motion of the shoulders rocking is a basic skill that controls how far you putt the ball. You would rock a baby to sleep with a gentle motion and a smooth change in direction, nothing drastic. That is the exact approach you want to have when putting. Use your shoulders to control the distance and keep a smooth, consistent pace to your putting motion.

Remember, when playing in a charity event or business outings, be sure to compose yourself with confidence and a smile – the way you carry yourself on the golf course speaks volumes about how you carry yourself away from the course as well. With a little luck and some good fortune, you will be able to contribute to the team and it an enjoyable experience for all!