Putting confessions

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legitimatebeef
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Putting confessions

Post by legitimatebeef » Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:23 pm

For most of my golf playing life I lined up putts using a sharpie line on the ball. I stopped doing it two and half rounds ago and the effect has been astonishing. For all that time, I refused to trust my instinctive sense of alignment while standing over the ball. I thought pre-aiming the ball was the only way to ensure accuracy. Now I suspect that to be wrong. At least for me. At least for right now.

I have also done away with the entire practice of pre-putt practice strokes, also to great effect especially on the long distance putts.

Within this new paradigm, I feel less tense and more optimistic when I stand over the ball now. Short and medium putts are going in at a noticeably higher rate, and they are going in with better pace, and more often near the middle of the hole if that can be believed. I am used to trickling in, lipping in a lot of my shorties. :puke

I consider Inbee Park one of the best putters ever, and thus I am now trying to take a cue from her overall putting style, which is surprisingly plain and simple. I think she does practice strokes but she doesn't align the ball nor does she mess around with any Aimpoint type of voodoo.

Just to be cool and different, I am also copying the KLPGA's Jeong Eun Lee 6 and the way she reads putts. Instead of straddling the line and reading it, she crouches from aside the putting line, and turns her head to the left to look toward the hole, just like you do when you're over the ball. It's the next big thing, I think.
Build a bridge and get over it.

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sjduffers
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Re: Putting confessions

Post by sjduffers » Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:53 pm

I agree.

Same here. I used to putt with the line on the ball, but after remarking to my swing coach at GolfTEC that I was lipping out a lot of putts, he took one look and told me: you are lining up the line wrong, i.e. just outside the hole (for longish putts)! So, I had an aiming bias due to misaligning the line on the ball. I told me: just put up the white part of the ball up (no logo, no line, no mark) and let your body/mind do the alignment. Bingo! Much better results and it's been 2 years or so. I haven't looked back. I now average just under 30 putts per round.

As for practice strokes, I take them, 2 of them to be precise, on every putt, whether 1 foot or 100 feet. But I make them while looking at the hole (or rather, at the target if it's off from the hole), at the precise pace (length of backswing and forward swing) and tempo as the real thing that is about to follow. I then step in a few inches, move the putter head a bit up from me (i.e. from inside the ball to behind in the ball, not from outside the ball down towards me), have another look at the hole/target and trace the putting line that I am visualizing back to the ball with my eyes. When the eyes reach the ball, I pull the trigger, just as an extension of the eye movement. It's all one smooth stroke in my mind, from the target to the backswing and through.
I'm gonna go low this time...

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GBOGEY
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Re: Putting confessions

Post by GBOGEY » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:27 pm

When I was fitted for my putter, there were really only two parameters - putter length and how I aimed. It turned out that I aim much better with a plumber's neck putter than with other types, so that's what I have used ever since.

BTW - one thing I could never do is a putter with an Odyssey two ball - complete disaster for me but obviously works for lots of people. I need a line on my putter, but not on the ball.

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bryan k
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Re: Putting confessions

Post by bryan k » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:18 pm

GBOGEY wrote:When I was fitted for my putter, there were really only two parameters - putter length and how I aimed. It turned out that I aim much better with a plumber's neck putter than with other types, so that's what I have used ever since.

BTW - one thing I could never do is a putter with an Odyssey two ball - complete disaster for me but obviously works for lots of people. I need a line on my putter, but not on the ball.
I used an Odyssey two-ball putter for several years. The reason I gave it up was because the head was too heavy. I went to a shorter and lighter putter with excellent results.

When I tried to go back to the two-ball putter, I couldn't hit it straight anymore. It kept cheating to the right of the cup. Looking back, I had that same problem when I first started using it as well.

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Re: Putting confessions

Post by MattF » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:05 am

I just can't get past the look of a mallet putter. I like the blade, the same as my Yes! Tracey.

I'm seriously looking at an Evnroll ER1.
Throw me another ball will ya!

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jattruia
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Re: Putting confessions

Post by jattruia » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:00 pm

I swore i'd never replace my Yes! Tracy II until i messed around with a Seemore center shafted putter. I haven't looked back since. I never wanted to give a center shafted putter a chance, but it was a total game changer for me.

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Re: Putting confessions

Post by legitimatebeef » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:53 am

I find myself wavering between methods these days. Between using the line on the ball to aim, and a more intuitive approach.

I used to use the line exclusively, but now seem to use it mostly for the long putts, especially with a lot of break, the ones where you can't just read it with your feet, so to speak.

On the shorter range putts, I seem to be making more of them without the line. I never intended for it to happen, just kind of discovered by accident. Nor am I that comfortable with it. I am only sticking with it because the results seem better. :nope
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Re: Putting confessions

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:13 am

So after a quick debate with Doug I really started thinking about putting. Here are some thoughts from years of being trash at putting and improving it to passable.

Putting is the most personal aspect of the game. I feel like this post should really end there, but I'll elaborate because why the hell not. In reality putting takes very little physical talents, due to it's relatively slow and minimal movement. The variables that go into hitting a put are so minimal when compared to any other part of the golf game. Outside of the physical movement, you are typically on the best lie the course has to offer, you typically don't have any hazards to worry about (unless they just aerated and sanded the greens) and you rarely need to worry about other outside factors (wind, temperature, or "air density" if you are BAD).

All of these facts result in putting being the simplest part of the game. There is lots of data out there to back up this fact but the most prominent is Mark Brodie's strokes gained method, where he determines that the difference between 2 golfers on average is only 14% related to a difference in putting skill. Where as the other 3 parts of the game (driving, approach, and short game) on average account for 28% 39% and 19% respectfully (Table 6.7 page 122 in "Every Shot Counts"). What this says is just validation that there is less skill variance in putting than any other aspect of the game.

What does that mean for you? Good news is since the skill difference is so minimal putting can be done successfully in many different ways. It just becomes a personal preference as to what works best for YOU. I had a spell of around 5 years where I was TERRIBLE at putting, I had some horrible yipp issues. Like any person in recovery I don't think I'll ever feel fully "cured," but I'm in remission. I'm still not a great putter, but my putting doesn't turn rounds that should be mid to low 80s into mid 90s anymore. The best example is in the middle of my putting issues I won a flighted tournament in TN and I shot 80. I took 40 putts that day, so clearly I was striking the ball lights out. So why take my advice? I don't have a good answer other than if you are looking for putting advice you likely aren't putting well, and I've had plenty of experience with that.

So my advice. Putting is personal and only you can solve your putting issues. Putting is almost entirely tied to confidence, and any change you make that increases your confidence will improve your putting. Some of those confidence boosts will last holes, and some might last your entire life. Here is a list of things that had confidence in enough to try and I truly believed each one of these helped my putting for some period of time.
Grip Changes:
10 finger, overlap, double overlap, left hand low, 1 handed, claw, pencil, saw. Hell I even tried putting on the practice green w/o my fingers on the club, I just pinched the club between my palms and rocked my shoulders to see what the outcome would be.
Putter changes:
face balanced, toe hang, belly putter, high MOI putter
Technique changes:
stand closer, stand further, straight back straight through, putt on an arch, look at hole, look at ball, close eyes

As you can see I've tried damn near everything, some of them worked for as little as 1 or 2 holes (left hand low looking at you) before I lost confidence in it, and some are currently still working for me.

The thing to take away from this is to me every single one of these changes worked. All of them increased my confidence for some period of time and in turn helped my putting.

So my advice for anyone struggling with putting. Find what works for you. Maybe that is getting a putting coach and following what they tell you to do, maybe it's just trying things to see what gives you the most confidence. What ever you do don't be a sheep and just follow the herd, that is sometimes ok for things that require a ton of skill but putting isn't one of those things. Putting can be done effectively in so many different fashions, so break out figure out what works for YOU and move forward until that quits working.

Note that from my experience every change you have enough conviction to take to the course will likely improve your putting for some period of time. Simply because you have confidence (even if it's misplaced confidence) that it is better than your current putting, which is why you are willing to take it to the course in the first place.
Keep it short stupid.

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GBOGEY
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Re: Putting confessions

Post by GBOGEY » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:54 pm

jasonfish11 wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:13 am
Putting is the most personal aspect of the game. I feel like this post should really end there, but I'll elaborate because why the hell not. In reality putting takes very little physical talents, due to it's relatively slow and minimal movement. The variables that go into hitting a put are so minimal when compared to any other part of the golf game. Outside of the physical movement, you are typically on the best lie the course has to offer, you typically don't have any hazards to worry about (unless they just aerated and sanded the greens) and you rarely need to worry about other outside factors (wind, temperature, or "air density" if you are BAD).

So my advice. Putting is personal and only you can solve your putting issues. Putting is almost entirely tied to confidence, and any change you make that increases your confidence will improve your putting. Some of those confidence boosts will last holes, and some might last your entire life. Here is a list of things that had confidence in enough to try and I truly believed each one of these helped my putting for some period of time.
Grip Changes:
10 finger, overlap, double overlap, left hand low, 1 handed, claw, pencil, saw. Hell I even tried putting on the practice green w/o my fingers on the club, I just pinched the club between my palms and rocked my shoulders to see what the outcome would be.
Putter changes:
face balanced, toe hang, belly putter, high MOI putter
Technique changes:
stand closer, stand further, straight back straight through, putt on an arch, look at hole, look at ball, close eyes

The thing to take away from this is to me every single one of these changes worked. All of them increased my confidence for some period of time and in turn helped my putting.
So next to putting is the only thing that I likely do better than chipping. Agree putting is personal. And I think that putting is feel based, and that's why IMO all those changes work - when you change something you focus on feel again. I occasionally switch out putters to just make me refocus on feel.

I do think that there are a few constants in putting. I'd have to pull out a book to list them all, but two that come to mind are getting your eyes over the ball and having a putter that fits you and that you aim correctly. Once the constants are met, a big part of putting is feel and green reading and I don't know how those are taught. On the other hand, I am always amazed that some golfers don't know even the basic concepts of green reading (like an uphill putt breaks less).

Rambling on, I'm always shocked by tour pros who don't putt well consistently. How can they be so accurate with a wedge from 50 yards and struggle with putting. One of my theories is that most of the worse putters are bad green readers - could be why Adam Scott did so well with Steve Williams as caddie (know to be a great green reader). Just thinking.

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