Sunday, March 15, 2009

Difference In Putting - Pros vs. Amateurs

A few days ago I made a post reviewing David Orr's 'Seeing the Line with the Speed Rope' video. I had mentioned that I had yet to really get a chance to implement it, but Thursday I did and I really started to feel it. Here's how well it worked for me:

#1 - (one putt), Made a slick, downhill 4 footer
#2 - (two putt), lipped out a double breaker from 20 feet.
#3 - (one putt), made a 5 footer that broke left to right.
#4 - (one putt), made a 20 footer that broke left to right.
#5 - (two putt), misread a 40 footer over a tier, but made a 12 footer on the comeback.
#6 - (one putt), made a 10 footer.
#7 - (one putt), made a 20 footer
#8 - (one putt), made a 4 footer with a big right to left break.
#9 - (two putt), lipped out a 20 footer with a big right to left break.
#10 - (one putt), made a 7 footer uphill with a slight right to left break.

Wound up birding 4 of the first 10 holes and shoot a 69 (-2) for the day, and it was pretty much all due to my putting since my ballstriking was off. The rest of the round I putted okay and started to lose a bit of what I learned from David's video, but on the day I had a great day rolling the rock. In the end, I pretty much spent LESS time focusing on the stroke and MORE time focusing on reading the green, 'seeing' the line and feeling the speed.

I've also become CONSUMED with the overwhelming feeling that the main reason why golfers struggle with putting is that they are way too focused on their putting stroke. That Thursday round has convinced me even more.

Recently a poster on the boards was talking about how he was an excellent ballstriker but an absolutely lousy putter. In fact, he contemplated quitting the game because his putting was so bad. This poster also lived in North Carolina, so he was recommended to see David Orr. Obviously, his putting stroke HAD TO suck because he's an awful putter. Well, let's take a look (

That's a pretty good putting stroke for a golfer who stated that he was averaging OVER 36 putts a round. In fact, that's just a good putting stroke, period.

Today's golfer that probably gets the biggest raves for his putting is Loren Roberts. In fact, he earned the nickname 'The Boss of the Moss.' So, let's take a look at Loren's SAM Puttlab report. (

Well, there's some big differences here. The biggest advantages Loren has from a putting stroke perspective is that he was able to keep the putter face perfectly square to the target at impact. But, he actually starts with the putterface closed at address and then utilizes a 'cut across' putting stroke.

In fact, here's how the two reports compared to one another:

Metric............Loren..........Orr's Student........Diff




Overall Rating.....81.4%...................81.4%..................0.0%

So in reality, or at least according to SAM Puttlab, Orr's Student was an equal putting stroke wise to Loren Roberts, The Boss of The Moss. But, the big difference was in consistency, but even that could be canceled out by the student's superior timing.

So why do I think Loren is the 'Boss of the Moss' while Orr's student struggled so badly with his putting?

Well, I think consistency is a big factor in putting, even more so than the quality of the stroke. If you're consistent, you can negate the impact your putting flaws have because you will consistently know how your ball will react off the putter face. While Orr's student is not necessarily 'wild' with his consistency, there's a better chance that a putt of his may not roll like he thought it would be compared to Loren Roberts.

However, I think the bigger issues are with green reading and touch/speed. I have yet to see a putting stroke without *some* flaws to a degree. Even the student's technique is actually quite superb and better than Loren's technique, but there's still some flaws to a slight degree involved with his stroke.

Right now, I *believe* that what happens is that the tour pros have far superior green reading and speed/touch skills than the amateurs do. And the lesser your green reading and touch/speed skills are, I believe that amplifies the impact the flaws in your putting stroke will have. Loren is a great green reader with great speed/touch skills and thus the flaws in his stroke...and he has some glaring not have much of an impact on his results.

Lastly, I think that because Loren is so good at getting the putter head aimed at 0.0 degrees at impact, that...combined with his green reading, speed/touch skill, and consistency is why he's one of the all time greats on the green.

All of that being said, I've seen quite a few reports like Orr's student where they are poor putting amateurs with a good stroke and I've seen good putters, even pros like Loren Roberts, whose reports are not as great as many would think.


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