Classic Swing Golf School – So, just what are the yips anyway?

Hello from Classic Swing Golf School in beautiful Myrtle Beach South Carolina.

Here’s another interesting blog from Dan DeFreest!

Many great golfers stopped winning at the top of their game because of an affliction known as “the yips”. So, just what are the yips anyway?

The “yips” was a term supposedly coined by the great Scottish golfer Tommy Armour after he developed the problem. In the 1927 Shawnee Open in Pennsylvania, Armour carded a 23 on the par 5 17th hole. He may have been the first to identify the problem, but he certainly wasn’t the last to suffer from it.

Many other great golfers saw their careers interrupted because of the yips. Tom Watson was on his way to perhaps being the greatest golfer in history when he stopped winning in the mid-1980s. Watson had won 33 times on the PGA tour going into 1984, that year he would win 3 more tournaments, but would only win 3 times over the next 15 years because of putting woes.


Towards the end of his career, the great Ben Hogan was known for standing over a putt for long periods of time before summoning the courage to pull the club back to stroke it.

Sam Snead developed the yips in the 1950s and over the next 20 years putted croquet style, and side saddle in order to overcome his affliction.

sam snead putt

Johnny Miller burst onto the PGA tour in 1971 winning 18 tournaments from 1971 through 1976 when he abruptly stopped winning due to the yips.

Basically, the yips refers to nerves, or the lack of. Players simply become too nervous when standing over putts. All of these players arguably became better from tee to green, but on the green is like being alone on stage in front of a packed house.

Each of these players dealt with their problem differently, some changed equipment, and others changed their minds. If you are struggling with your game, why not come and see the professionals at Classic Swing Golf School, they can identify your yips and set you straight!


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