Beating the Dreaded “Yips”

Bernard Langer became one of the world's best players and a two-time Masters champion by identifying his limiting factor and overcoming a problem few players in history have ever conquered. At a very early age he developed the putting “yips.” In a nutshell, that means he lost control of the muscles in his hands and arms when facing short putts. From three feet he might leave a putt short by 18 inches, then, on the very next green, be forced to watch in anguish as his unruly putter fired the ball 10 feet past the hole! Recognizing that this problem would prevent him permanently from reaching his goals, no matter how good his iron play, he spent hour upon hour, week after week, working to overcome his limitation. He took Gary Player as his model and, through determination and will power, he finally found a stroke that would work for him. For several years he was among the top players in European golf, then, without warning, the dreaded yips returned!

Once again he was compelled to go back to the practice putting green in search of a cure. Eventually he discovered a unique and creative grip that entails placing his left hand about ten inches down the shaft and letting the shaft rest against the inside of his left forearm. He then locks the grip of the club in place by gripping both the shaft and his left wrist with his right hand. While it may be one of the most unorthodox grips in history, it has enabled him to play competitive golf at the highest level once again.

Many other fine players have had to leave the game when they became afflicted with the identical problem. Langer, through personal honesty, courage, and dogged determination, overcame his limiting factor and showed himself for what he is, a true champion.