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To Win, One Must Make Putts

I have been playing and coaching golf my entire life. Golf has been my passion since age 12. I have sought to play and coach golf as well as it can possibly be done. This passion in my life and journey has taken me to the PGA Tour, winning on the tour, playing the Champions Tour and having the most major wins in the history of Pacific Northwest Golf. I say that to say this, “I am a better coach than I am a player!” Golf is not what I do but rather who I am.

I leave for the Hawaii State Open next week. To win, one must make putts. I’d better win to pay for this trip! Here are some principles, drills and mindsets I use and coach to help players putt better. (myself included)

1. Great speed on any putt is a non-negotiable.

I would say proper speed on a putt of 15-40 feet is a wonderful first step to more success on the greens. Golfers focus 80% of their mind on line and 20% on speed. I believe it should be reversed. 80% speed/20% read. If a player has great speed they will eliminate many 3 putt greens. Golfers leave putts short and long, that is why they 3 putt. If a player has great speed, they can believe and trust much more. Hit 40 foot putts and “just roll your golf ball” like throwing a horse shoe or a baseball.

Get target focused and aware. Get more “out of your head” and “into the target.” Think athletic more than technique. A good image, “long putt, longer backstroke.” Not necessarily a longer through stroke.

Begin your putting practice with speed drills from long distance. 30-40 foot putts.

2. coston-2016-putting2Get a good set up at address 

See photo at left:

  • Hands below your shoulders.
  • Most people would do better with a shorter putter. Come see me and get a proper fit. Choke down on your putter, will be helpful.
  • Bend forward with your spine.
  • Hands forward at address (also keep them forward through the stroke)

3. Make more putts 5 feet and under

coston-2016-putting1See photo at right:

Put a tee at 5 places on the green 3 feet around a hole. (3′, 5′, 7′) Call it the star drill. Take 5 golf balls and make 3 of 5 at each spot before you move on. Do the same drill at 5 feet and 7 feet at your 5 spots around the hole. You will improve.

4. Be mentally ”’TOUGH”

  • Commit to your read from 5 feet and in. Even if you are unsure of the break, get sure before you putt.
  • Develop a repetitive, reactive routine
    1. Line the blade
    2. Line the body
    3. Hit the putt on the sweet spot of the putter each time. The sweet spot is the line on your putter. If you hit all putts solid on the sweet spot your ball will roll better and your speed will be more consistent.

Jeff Coston is a 20-time Pacific Northwest PGA Player of the Year. Jeff can be reached for appointment year-round by calling Semiahmoo Resort at 360-201-4590. Jeff also has a warm, dry academy building for year-round instruction.

Coston Blog, November 2016

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL – NOVEMBER 18: Jeff Coston hits his shot on the 18th hole during the second round for the Senior PGA Professional Championship held at PGA Golf Club on November 18, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL – NOVEMBER 18: Jeff Coston hits his shot on the 18th hole during the second round for the Senior PGA Professional Championship held at PGA Golf Club on November 18, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)

As I write this, I’m on the flight back home from Orlando, Florida. I lived in Orlando while playing the PGA and Tours. It’s funny how Orlando does not seem like home although we lived there for over 15 years. Semiahmoo is home.

This week I played the National Senior Club Professional Championship in south Florida. I won 10 years ago! It doesn’t seem that long ago! Ouch! This year I shot 69-72-70-73 and finished T18. If you know me, you know I imagined better. Over 300 players from every state. With my finish, I qualified for The Senior PGA Championship next May in Washington D.C. This will be my 11th Senior PGA. I must be old!

I defend The Hawaii State Open for a week in December and celebrate 40 years of marriage with Diane! I know, she is amazing for putting up with me.
December through February if you bring a new client to my warm and dry academy building for a lesson, you will receive $50 off your next lesson and your friend will also!

The winter is a super time to improve our golf! I know I will be improving my skills along with you.

Coston out.

Jeff and Diane Coston

5 Questions with Brian Jung


Jeff Coston interviews Canadian PGA Pro Brian Jung.

Q1) You played division 1 college golf at Oregon State University, a very fine college career. Now you have turned professional. Have any aspects of your game improved since college? If so, what; how and why?

Brian: “Yes. The mental side of my game improved the most since I turned professional. It all started when I went to see Jeff Coston for the first time. Everytime I go see him, we would spend the first 10-15 minutes talking about the previous golf tournament.”

“I used to go to a golf tournament having high expectations and goals which made me anxious and nervous. But I learned that I cannot block these feelings or thoughts. The only way to overcome those interference was by telling the truth:

  • I have a great golf swing. I can start the ball somewhere and curve it. Depending on my game on that day, I can make that range bigger or smaller.
  • I have great speed on the green. I see and visualize the line and I simply react.
  • No hole, shot, or putt is more important than what I practice.”

“Knowing those truth, I am much freer on the course and golf is much simpler. I can just enjoy my time out there which translates to better mental game.”

Continue reading 5 Questions with Brian Jung

5 Questions with Tom Lehman

Jeff Coston and Tom Lehman (R) – the early years

Jeff Coston interviews PGA Tour Player Tom Lehman

Q1) Describe what happened in you to go from mini-tour player to British Open Champion and PGA Tour Player of the Year!

Tom: The only thing that changed from the mini tour days to the successful pgatour days was belief. Once I truly believed that I was capable and could do it, then the results became what I thought they could be.

Q2) What makes you an amazing ball striker?

Tom: I hit the center of the club face nearly every time that I swing a club, which I believe is the most important part of hitting good golf shots. Combine that with a shallow approach and very little club face rotation and you get the ability to control trajectory and distance. The repeatability of that combination of things, along with a few others, creates a situation where I can trust my swing under all circumstances.

Q3) Give us 3 qualities of a champion golfer.

Tom: There are more than three qualities that all champions golfers share in common, but I believe the three most significant are confidence, perseverance and commitment.

Tiger Woods, Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk

Q4) You have been a Ryder Cup Player, Captain (in my mind a super captain) and this year assisting Davis Love in this year’s Ryder Cup. What needs to take place for the U.S. Team to play to their potential?

Tom: The US Team will play to their potential if they simply commit to be themselves and play like they normally play. The more we worry about how a mistake affects others on the team, the more pressure we apply to ourselves. We simply need to do our job, which is to execute the way we normally execute. We don’t need to push to be more than we are.

Q5) Give us 3 things you would like people to know about you as a man.

Tom: I would like for people to know that I make more than my share of mistakes. I would like for them to know that I live and breath and function because of Gods grace and mercy on me. I would for them to know that I love them.

Q6) You have know Jeff Coston for over 35 years; give us a few Coston insights.

Tom: Jeff Coston is a natural leader. He is introspective as well as socially outgoing. He deeply loves his wife and kids. He cares about the world around him and has spent his life making a difference. He is gifted at what he does and in the things he pursues and constantly strives to become more excellent. He loves God with all of his heart, mind and soul and loves his neighbors as himself. When his time on earth is over, he will hear God say, “well done thy good and faithful servant.”


Burly Hildreth Wins Western Washington Open at Gold Mountain GC

Burly Hildreth (age 12) won the Western Washington Open, hosted by the Rocky Mountain Junior Golf Tour, for both the 11-12 and 13-14 age divisions. Hildreth played from the blue tees and outscored his competition by one stroke. Given his age, the tournament representatives originally questioned Burly’s desire to play from the much harder back tees. At the end of the first day, all doubts were put to rest as he led both age divisions in scoring. When asked about playing from the back tees, Hildreth commented that he had a lot of fun crushing the ball with his driver and fairway woods. Hildreth gave a shout out to his coach, Jeff Coston, for encouraging him to continually “smoke” the golf ball. Burly couldn’t wait to get back home and tell the gang at the Orcas Island Golf Course.