Monday, December 7, 2015

The Search for Flatstick Nirvana – Part X (12.7.15)

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

In the last segment, I discussed my basic practice regimen. But, with the time change it is getting dark too early and I don’t have time to practice on the practice green as much. Instead, I have resorted to the following indoor practice:

Early Morning Practice – warm up hitting 20 putts. Then hit 20 putts with the Pelz Putting Tutor

Lunch – Get out the Dr. Scholl’s foot power spray and measure the impact location. If I’m hitting putts more towards the toe or towards the heel, I generally know what the issue is.

Night Time – More Pelz Putting Tutor practice filled with some Mi Putting Template practice and using my pre-putt routine and hitting to dimes or pennies on the floor as well as corners of the wall.

I am also excited to try out David Orr’s Mushroom Drill which he described on his Web site, (again, $10 a month with no commitment).

I think it’s a great drill to do once a week and the day before an event and I love how it is done so it combines mass practice with interleaving practice along with adding some pressure into the putting.

I made a couple of changes to my Edel E-3 Torque Balanced Putter.

1. Added a ½ inch extension to the putter shaft

This was done in order to improve the face contact which would often get out towards the heel. The putter was also a little too flat for me, so by adding ½’ inch, the effective lie changed to 1* more upright.

I believe that heel strikes were largely due to the putter being a bit too short for me and causing me to thrust the upper body in order to ‘reach the ball’ which will shift the putter head out and away from me and thus cause the ball to be hit off the heel.

Conversely, toe strikes are likely about having my stance too narrow as that causes me to lift the left shoulder too much upward and inward on the thru-stroke so the head shifts inward more and the ball is struck off the toe.

I started to putted badly once I started to go to 34” and 33” putters based on the craze started by Dave Pelz where Pelz wanted ‘straight arms’ at address because he felt it reduced the tension in your arms. But as David Orr describes in the Flatstick Academy, that’s not always the case. And based on my experience, I completely agree with him!

2. Removed the PURE Grips Big Dog grip and replaced it with a GripMaster USA Midsize Stitchback Grip

This was done to help reduce the pushes I hit as the PURE Grips Big Dog grip was a bit too large for me. I don’t hit a lot of pushes, but just enough to make me re-think it and I rarely hit a pull. Unfortunately, I’m not happy with the stichback grip as it is a bit too slick for my tastes. The size if fine, but the slickness makes it uncomfortable for me to hold.

Here’s a look at the current putter:


I had been putting pretty well, but inconsistently. Then on the weekend I putted extremely well, but did it 2 days in a row and shot 71 (-1) at Rio Pinar with 28 putts and 69 (-3) at Deltona Club with 25 putts.

I think the 1/2" shaft extension has made the bigger difference as now the impact location is more consistent and more towards the center of the head. But, I have yet to feel comfortable with the stichback grip. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm going to try the GripMaster USA Clubmaker putter grip in midsize and see if that provides the feel I'm looking for.

Meanwhile, I look to get on the SAM Puttlab next week and we'll see what the report says and it will be interesting to see what changes show up on the machine.  I'm still having problems with missing right-to-left putts low, but overall I'm very happy with the progress that has been made.


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