Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Current Putting Thoughts

Before heading into the Memorial Day weekend, I decided to give some of my current thoughts on putting (thoughts are subject to change)

1. Avoid mallet and High MOI putters

Karlsen and Nilssen study on putting found that when they surveyed golfers, they *believed* that they could aim mallets and high MOI putters better. But when they measured their aim, it actually came out worse. It's really a coup for OEM's, much like using Game Improvement shovels to 'improve' your ballstriking. The perception is that they will help, but they are more counterproductive than anything. So you wind up buying a new putter after a few months, rinse and repeat. And yes, I think the great putters who use(d) mallet/high MOI putters could putt as well or better with a 'normal' style of putter.

2. Set your priorities straight.

My #1 priority with putting is with the speed/touch. Now, there are some factors that go into that like green reading, aim and mechanics.

However, most golfers prioritize stroke mechanics (SBST or symmetrical arc stroke) and basically trying to develop a nice looking 'roll.'

Here's a good video as to why I think speed is much more important than 'roll.'

I do believe a golfer can hit two putts with the same stroke, but hit one on the sweetspot and miss the other putt and the speed/touch will not change substantially. I think striking a putt on the sweetspot is somewhat important, but it's not a killer.

Instead, I'd rather have excellent speed/touch so I can maximize the capture width. I think that will increase the likelihood of me holing more putts than striking putts perfectly.

3. Kids have Great Putting Priorities

Started thinking about this the other day as I was playing with a young junior golfer who made a few bombs on the course. It seems like kids tend to make bombs, but adults don't.

I also remember when I was in college, I was a great putter. But, my 'putting priorities' were:

1. Tempo and rhythm of the putting stroke
2. Speed/Touch of the putt
3. Keep the putterhead low to the ground.

I think kids basically think of #1 and #2. I think when we get older we start to add things like #3, which really don't matter. Then we add things like 'symmetrical arc stroke' and 'rock the shoulders', etc. and forget about #1 and #2 and start putting worse.

4. AimPoint and Mangum

I know both don't see eye-to-eye when it comes to green reading, but I like the combination of learning Mangum's theories and philosophies towards touch and speed along with accuracy and precision and then taking the AimPoint green reading stuff. Again, I highly recommend Mangum's 'Reality of Putting' video at www.realityofputting.com.

5. General Opinions of What Golfers Putt Like

I think in general golfers get fooled by the 'lure' of the mallet/high MOI putter. The putter doesn't fit them very well and they have a difficult time aiming the thing becasue of all fo the lines and other wacky shapes. And they usually aim it left of the target and then their mind compensates for the leftward aim bias by pushing the ball back towards their target.

But, they concern themselves with whatever stroke they employ (SBST or Arc) and hitting the sweetspot right on the button. They also grip the putter too light because they've been told to do that so they won't have the 'yips.'

Then they typically play too little break and hit the ball roughly 2-3 times too hard to compensate for the too little break that they play.


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