Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Search for Flatstick Nirvana - Part IX (11.12.15)

Part I -
Part II -
Part III -
Part IV -
Part V -
Part VI -
Part VII -
Part VIII -

My putting has more or less ‘progressed’ rather than improved. I am much more adept and now more confident on putts inside 6 feet. I have created a solid practice routine that I think allows me to get the practice I need to get in and figure out what to work on. Since the time change, there’s not much daylight for me to get on the practice greens with, so I do the following.

1. I grab 10 Titleist Pro V1x balls (my gamer golf balls).

2. I will start off simply by putting 10 balls toward the fringe of the green. I will then putt the 10 balls against towards the other fringe of the green. The purpose is to simply get ‘warmed up’ and get a feel for the stroke, the green and get my eyes adjusted to putting again instead of looking at a computer screen. I also want to work on some key pieces to my putting stroke.

3. I will then do the clock drill with the 10 golf balls

I usually do it from about 5 feet. Some days I will do it from 8 feet or 10 feet. I never really go beyond 10-feet. This is also part of the warmup because now I get the feel of trying to make a putt which also goes into reading the putt and working on your pre-shot routine. If I have time, I will do the clock drill, twice.

4. From there I will grab 5 balls and hit 5 putts from the same spot on usually a sidehill putt from 10-15 feet. I will hit each putt doing my AimPoint Express read, then my pre-shot routine and stroke the putt. I will do 5 putts on a right-to-left breaking putt and then 5 putts on a left-to-right breaking putt. Then I will do the same process, again. The idea here is to not only get practice in on leftward and rightward breaking putts, but to become equally adept at both types of putts and if not, determine what type of breaking putt is giving me more problems and where the common miss is.

5. If I have time, I will then grab the 10 golf balls and put them in pairs and place them in different locations. So, I may have 2 balls that are 30 feet away with an uphill, left-to-right putt and 2 balls that are 7-feet away with a downhill straight putt and 2 balls at 15 feet away at a sidehill left-to-right putt, etc. This is randomizing the practice which actually helps stimulate the creativity in your brain which is needed to start incorporating the mechanics I want with the putter. However, it will give me 2 attempts at the shot so I can self-correct a poor putt. I will use the AimPoint Express read and my pre-shot routine on each putt.

6. If I have time (usually only for the weekend), I will use the string drill using yarn and threading needles:

This is helpful for starting to better see the line. I have also found that this is helpful if I start to push (or pull) putts. One of the things David Orr talked about in a video on his Web site (FlatstickAcademy) is that depending on how the putter head moves in the stroke, it will make the ball’s initial launch angle *look* differently and creates an illusion.

For me, the illusion is that the ball is launching to the right of where I want it to launch. So a ball perfectly launched appears almost like a push for me due to my stroke pattern. This really cleared things up for me because I could see how I was adjusting my putting stroke, especially on breaking putts. Below is a SAM Puttlab report that I did with John Graham back in January. The first pictures is my aim at address (Aiming Report) and my face angle at impact (direction). This is on STRAIGHT PUTT.

The second picture shows the same thing (address versus impact), but this time on a LEFT-TO-RIGHT putt.

I think it’s pretty simple to see that my misperception of ball launching to the right was causing me to aim well left on the left-to-right putts. I think my stroke back in January just closed the putter face anyway from address to impact. But, on the straight away putt my face was closing 2.1 degrees and on the left to right putt it was closing 3 degrees. Again, the misperception of pushing my putts when I was actually launching them correctly was likely the cause for this and the string drill really helps with this (although it helps to understand where your misperception is likely to be).

Here’s more evidence of the ball launch misperception. Take a look at my putter path on the straight putts (2.1* left) versus left to right putts (7.5* left)

You can see these differences and the struggle with the launch direction misperception throughout both SAM Puttlab reports.

I plan on getting on the SAM Puttlab again, perhaps in December. I would be interested in seeing what the results look like, particularly my acceleration profiles. One of the things I have been doing is measuring my face impact spot and I’m still too much towards the heel. I simply use Dr. Scholl’s foot power spray and then hit a few putts. I then get some warm water and use a toothbrush to remove the spray from the face. I tend to think that with my putting stroke style, I really should try and avoid heel strikes, even if they are slight. I don’t think it’s quite compatible with my putting stroke and I wonder if I have a putting stroke issue or a putter fitting issue or both. I still feel like I’m on the right track with the Edel Torque Balanced putter, but the little things like lie, loft, length and grip need to be tweaked.



Bruce Rearick said...


Did you re calibrate the system for the left to right putt? If not the numbers are as they should be.

Bruce Rearick

Unknown said...

I bought a 8813 based on your glowing review in one of the first posts in this series. It was $12 and a cheap experiment. So far in my testing, I'm getting a lot more putts on line. I plan to put in a ton of practice this winter and see how it goes on the course.

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