Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Reality of Putting Video Review

Geoff Mangum along with Steve Elkington and the ‘Secret In The Dirt’ crew recently produced an .mp4 file called ‘The Reality of Putting’ which goes into Mangum’s putting philosophy and practices. Mangum, a former attorney, decided years ago to go full bore into understanding putting and becoming the foremost expert in the subject. If you ever get the chance to read his forum (, he is always willing to answer any question as extensive and as detailed as one could imagine. What else would you expect from a former attorney?

Geoff’s research goes well beyond the typical ‘putting guru’ philosophy of the mechanics of a style of putting stroke. It deals with what Mangum calls ‘The Four Skills of Putting’

  • Read
  • Aim
  • Stroke
  • Touch
And probably most particular about Geoff’s research is his extensive knowledge of neuroscience (the scientific study of the nervous system) and how the brain needs to be used in order to produce better putting results. One of the main things that has interested me in Geoff’s work is his understanding of the brain because unlike the full golf swing, the putting stroke does not have a lot of complex and detailed biomechanical motions to it. Thus, when other instructors are constantly theorizing and waxing poetically about the putting stroke, I never quite believed that focusing on the stroke was the key to good putting.

In fact, like the golf swing there has certainly been many different ways to effectively putt well. Nicklaus had his feet close together, was hunched over, open stance and looked like he pushed it down the line. Crenshaw had his feet close together and had a large forward press and a very arced stroke. Don January stood very upright and had a very little arc in his stroke. According to SAM Puttlab, Loren Roberts actually cuts across the ball with his stroke. And a friend of mine that I played some mini-tour events with was easily the greatest putter I ever saw, whose stance rivaled Moe Normans with a driver (ultra wide stance, closed), a large Crenshaw-esque forward press, and a very noticeable swivel of the cranium right after impact. And he drained putts all day long.

While Mangum has been vastly improving golfers’ putting for awhile, he seems to have risen to fame recently after working with Steve Elkington.

Elkington has been known as having one of the best swings and being one of the best ballstrikers in the world over the last 20 years. He’s also known as one of the more vibrant personalities on the PGA Tour, mainly thru his visits on the Jim Rome show. However, his one ‘Waterloo’ has always been his putting.

Check out the video that Geoff Mangum put up on delivery speed.....I found Geoff on the internet, got him to come to Houston in the off season and help me with my putting......1st time I've ever been in the top 10 in putting on tour in 25 years."—Steve Elkington

Elkington started working with Mangum before the 2010 season and here’s some putting stats comparison between Elkington in 2009 (pre-Mangum) and 2010 (post-Mangum)

3-5 feet putt…….….2…….....…87
5-10 feet putt……..92….....…135
3 Putt Avoidance….7……....…77
Total Putting..…..100…….....146

The video can be purchased for $35 at After it is purchased, an e-mail is sent with a link to a Web page where you can download the e-book and the video. The e-book is a very nice feature of the video as it gives the viewer something to read while they are watching the video to better illustrate the points being made and something you can use to read in your spare time as well. The video is available in .mp4 and .wmv file format.

The production is very good. They do a great job of making illustrations to further explain Mangum’s instruction. The audio is clear. On a grand scale, the audio is the only thing that makes this video from being top of the line from a production standpoint. Like I said, you can hear both Elkington and Mangum clearly, but it is not on par from an audio standpoint as something that Dave Pelz or Golf Digest would produce. However, they have a lot more money to put in production values and it’s really nitpicky and I don’t think most viewers would care about that.

The video starts off with basic green reading principles, in particular how to find the fall line. Geoff has many tricks on how to find the fall line. And there were plenty of them that were easy that I never heard of. In fact, that was probably the overriding theme that I got from the entire video, it’s a much easier way to do things. It reminds me a lot of the MORAD instruction in the golf swing where they teach some similar principles that your typical pop golf instructor will teach, but they have found a much easier way to execute those principles. The same with ‘The Reality of Putting’, something like where to aim your putter is now much simpler. Furthermore, Mangum gives the golfer several options on how to execute certain principles, all of which are an easier way to do things that most of us have been taught in the past.

Elkington is particularly valuable in the video because he has a keen sense of what questions to ask and when to ‘slow things down’ a bit and get it so the viewer can understand the principles. Mangum is undoubtedly brilliant, but often times brilliant minds have gone over such complex ideas in their mind so many times that they fail to recognize that others, even if they are also very intelligent, do not quite understand that multifarious concept. A good example is the interaction between Elkington and Mangum on the subject of ‘touch’ and that everybody has ‘good touch’ because they use it everyday. They go into how everybody uses ‘good touch’ in everyday motions like grabbing a doorhandle to open a door, but how with putting they just need to understand space and visualize space so they can use their good touch on the green.

Complex subject, broken down with focus so the golfer can fully understand the subject and then apply it. That’s really what I hope my blog is about.

One thing I will say that you will really enjoy about this video is that there is little in the way of ‘teacher speak’ and it’s about getting to the truth of the matter (or getting to the reality of putting), demonstrating it being applied to a golfer and seeing the results. And it has about a 1 hour run time, so it is short enough to keep one’s attention.

Probably my only gripe against the video is it probably could have set forth a curriculum of some sorts for the golfer to use on the putting green. Perhaps learn this matter first, then move to this matter, then move to this subject, etc. I think the general outline of the video is probably a good sequence to follow, but one is not really sure because the video never discusses it.

But even with that, I highly recommend the video and think it’s a must for the golfing off season. Not only do I think it will help golfers with their putting, but it will get them out of buying their next $400 Scotty Cameron as well.



Anonymous said...

I think that's Mike Maves singing/performing on the intro song and the during the transitions.

Rich H. said...

It is Mike. That's pretty much how the music in the video goes. It's just bits and pieces.


Anonymous said...

Great review 3Jack!

Mangum is the man.

Just saw the video and it is excellent. Made me think of things I normally would not have. He lives an hour north of me in NC. I am tempted to set up a 3 hour lesson with him at Tot Hill. This guy knows his stuff. I learned tons on his site Puttingzone in the "Tips" section. Many great articles there. I also recently read his e-book "Optimal Putting". The hard copy printed and sold out in 2008 and is over $200 now if you find it. Anyone wanting to improve their putting will benefit from Geoff Mangum.



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