Some Yips Are Worse Than Others

The folks on Golf Channel were discussing Miguel Angel Jimenez’s new putting grip a few days ago, trying to figure out what to call it. It’s a left- hand-low saw grip, as illustrated in the photo of my hands below, but there’s no short way to describe it. In fact, when you look at the photo it’s hard to tell what direction I’m putting–I’m putting toward the right side of the screen, toward the cuff of my shirt. Jimenez was doing well with the grip and the discussion turned to why he adopted it and if he had been fighting the yips.

The left-hand-low saw grip

The technical name for the yips is focal dystonia, a neurological phenomenon that causes those little jabs, twitches, and shakes we’re all-too- sadly familiar with. Gary Williams, one of the Morning Drive crew that day, mentioned that he had spoken to a neurological researcher who studied the yips. Rotating your hand around on the shaft like Jimenez is doing causes your brain to use different pathways than it would use with your yip-prone grip so you presumably have a better chance of a smooth stroke.

Williams asked the researcher who paid for this research because it seemed unlikely the cash to finance the study would come from yippy golfers. It turns out his research wasn’t a putting study. It was done to help surgeons deal with the yips.

Now there’s a frightening thought for you. Maybe the next time you’re going under the knife you might want to play a round of golf with a few prospective surgeons and see how they putt. I know I’d like to learn about a yip problem on the green rather than on the table. How about you?

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