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First round for 5 years...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
So, I played my first round for 5 years earlier today. Now, I can cope with having a bit of a hook from the tee, but... any tips on how to improve my putting? I 3-putted almost every green!
post #2 of 29
Get your ball closer to the hole with your approach shot! Or better yet, just chip it in!

JF
post #3 of 29
I like to try to lag to whatever my 'good as in' length is that particular day. If I am successful I end up with less 3 putts and a few more one putt greens!
post #4 of 29
Putting and the short game in general is the first skill to leave and the last to return for those who don't play often.

It requires the most touch and finesse and is THE finer part of the game. All I can say is practice.
post #5 of 29
Yu think 3-putts are bad... 4 putts are worse.
post #6 of 29
Putting is a combination of two skills. Distance and direction. Most can aim with some degree of accuracy but distance control where you leave the ball within 18 inches of the holes is key.

Two of my favorite drills:

The ladder drill. Start with 3 balls about 18-24 inches from the fringe of the practice green. When you can stop all three on the fringe (in about a 12 inch range on the fringe-not going over into the longer grass) back up 18 more inches-as soon as you miss you must start all over. Make those three back up 18 more inches-on and on. My personal best is almost 20 feet.

Place 4 balls 12 inches from the hole at 12, 3, 6 and 9 O'Clock positions. Go through the same drill as above sinking each ball then back up 18 inches-miss and you start all over.

Also try putting a few with just your left hand, then the right hand then combine the two hands.

Good Luck.
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys.
Within 100 yards of the green, I was getting on the green at almost every hole with my trusty 7 iron. (from my links days, I rarely use a wedge), but then once there, anything over 3 feet and it wouldn't drop.
Normally length, rarely line. If I hit one too long, the next was too short...
post #8 of 29
The beginner tip my pro gave me, which works fairly well is,

Make your target(cup) bigger.
Imagine a 2 meter circle around the cup, and use that as your target.
If you can get it in that 2 meter circle, then you can get it in the cup.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Yu think 3-putts are bad... 4 putts are worse.
Then there's the dreaded 5-jack, the blood vessel popping 6-jack and we won't even get into the 7 putt.
post #10 of 29
Sam-Torrence. Was a useful method taught to me about rhythm..

Say in your head as you go on the back stroke- "Sam" and the forwards stroke "Torrence". Keeps things simple and it truly does work.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by spanisharmada View Post
Sam-Torrence. Was a useful method taught to me about rhythm..

Say in your head as you go on the back stroke- "Sam" and the forwards stroke "Torrence". Keeps things simple and it truly does work.
I think I'll try that approach.
I've been using Jose Maria on the back stroke and Olazabel on the forward stroke but I havn't been making anything....
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylormatt View Post
Then there's the dreaded 5-jack, the blood vessel popping 6-jack and we won't even get into the 7 putt.
Once, when I was playing with 2 balls off the tee (to kill time since I was playing by myself behind a course full of foursomes), I encountered a hole where it took 10 putts to sink one ball and thirteen to sink the other. When I made the turn the pro asked me how my round was going. When I did not answer him, he told me "We fixed that already".
post #13 of 29
Fox,

If you are only going to play one round every 5 years, playing for double bogey as your par for every hole is ok. This gives you an extra shot to reach the green and a 3 putt on the green.

Otherwise learning to putt involves a lot more work than people are usually willing to bother with. Now the rest of this advice is merely me spitting out BS... (MikeW - how bad is it?). All of it in total should be scary. If you can use any of this to help a little - feel free to pick and choose.

If you really want to learn how to putt, you should start with equipment. A long putter is far easier to learn to putt than a traditional putter. Next to consider is your dominant eye. If your right eye is dominant, this will effect your stance and aiming differently than if you are left eye dominant. The standard advice for left eye dominant is to stand with your left eye directly over the ball. Right eye guys are going to line up with their body angles pointed to the right of the hole to compensate for their aiming eye being behind the ball. Next is the swing type. A traditional swing is called a "screen door" swing because the putter head travels on an arc. I use a pendulum (straight back and straight through) swing. Next is the grip. There are dozens of different grips (hand positions) to choose from, but the main objective is to get a swing that does not let the wrists break. I use a claw grip (right hold the shaft with thumb and forefinger). Some folks use left hand low instead of right. Next is the swing. For a pendulum swing, think of rocking your shoulders. For a screen door swing, think of rotating your upper body as a 1 piece unit. Feel putters tend to control length of putt via swing speed, but learning to control putt length via length of the back swing is a statistically superior method. Whatever swing type you use, keeping your head down looking at where the ball was after contact instead of watching go in the hole will help keep the ball on the line you want. Understand that inability to control the consistency of the point of contact on the putter head will produce inconsistent putt distance. Putters have sweet spots. A center hit will roll farther than a toe or heel hit. Reading the greens is important. It's not just reading the pitch and the break left or right. For some grass types, the grain (direction the grass points) can make a significant difference. Check the hole to see which side has grass growing over the edge. Putts going against that direction will roll slower than putts going with the grain. For breaking putts, the tendency is to underestimate the break because you think you can hit it straight to a high spot and then it curves down to the hole. Instead, visualize the arc path of the putt and then think of hitting a straight putt along the starting tangent to that arc. Greens with different types of grasses (e.g. different colors) may be bumpier instead of smooth. If you see your putts hopping a lot, these will generally roll a bit slower than smooth rolling putts. The final aspect to consider is strategy. Putts from below the hole are easier to make than putts from above. So if you are going to miss, it's better to miss on the low side. But if you want to make the putt, a high putt has a better chance to go in than a low putt. The optimal speed of a putt approaching the hole is such that it would go 12-18 inches past if it missed the hole. A faster putt has less chance of being effected by the break, but risks leaving a longer come back if you miss. When you putt you should be only choosing speed and starting direction. Realize that there are often multiple solutions that can result in success. Your choice should factor in the risk/reward for your situation. You should think that making 8 out of 10 putts within 3 foot is good and making 2 out of 10 putts outside of 10 feet is great. This kind of thinking will help you determine risk/reward versus your objective of how many putts per green. O yeah - one more "final" thing. A lot of putting success is mental. The more you believe you will make the putt, the more success you will have. Make sure your putting practice involves sinking a lot of putts even if they have to be shorties. You want your brain to "expect" that clunk clunk clunk sound after every stroke.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
Fox,

If you are only going to play one round every 5 years, playing for double bogey as your par for every hole is ok. This gives you an extra shot to reach the green and a 3 putt on the green.

Otherwise learning to putt involves a lot more work than people are usually willing to bother with. Now the rest of this advice is merely me spitting out BS... (MikeW - how bad is it?). All of it in total should be scary. If you can use any of this to help a little - feel free to pick and choose.

If you really want to learn how to putt, you should start with equipment. A long putter is far easier to learn to putt than a traditional putter. Next to consider is your dominant eye. If your right eye is dominant, this will effect your stance and aiming differently than if you are left eye dominant. The standard advice for left eye dominant is to stand with your left eye directly over the ball. Right eye guys are going to line up with their body angles pointed to the right of the hole to compensate for their aiming eye being behind the ball. Next is the swing type. A traditional swing is called a "screen door" swing because the putter head travels on an arc. I use a pendulum (straight back and straight through) swing. Next is the grip. There are dozens of different grips (hand positions) to choose from, but the main objective is to get a swing that does not let the wrists break. I use a claw grip (right hold the shaft with thumb and forefinger). Some folks use left hand low instead of right. Next is the swing. For a pendulum swing, think of rocking your shoulders. For a screen door swing, think of rotating your upper body as a 1 piece unit. Feel putters tend to control length of putt via swing speed, but learning to control putt length via length of the back swing is a statistically superior method. Whatever swing type you use, keeping your head down looking at where the ball was after contact instead of watching go in the hole will help keep the ball on the line you want. Understand that inability to control the consistency of the point of contact on the putter head will produce inconsistent putt distance. Putters have sweet spots. A center hit will roll farther than a toe or heel hit. Reading the greens is important. It's not just reading the pitch and the break left or right. For some grass types, the grain (direction the grass points) can make a significant difference. Check the hole to see which side has grass growing over the edge. Putts going against that direction will roll slower than putts going with the grain. For breaking putts, the tendency is to underestimate the break because you think you can hit it straight to a high spot and then it curves down to the hole. Instead, visualize the arc path of the putt and then think of hitting a straight putt along the starting tangent to that arc. Greens with different types of grasses (e.g. different colors) may be bumpier instead of smooth. If you see your putts hopping a lot, these will generally roll a bit slower than smooth rolling putts. The final aspect to consider is strategy. Putts from below the hole are easier to make than putts from above. So if you are going to miss, it's better to miss on the low side. But if you want to make the putt, a high putt has a better chance to go in than a low putt. The optimal speed of a putt approaching the hole is such that it would go 12-18 inches past if it missed the hole. A faster putt has less chance of being effected by the break, but risks leaving a longer come back if you miss. When you putt you should be only choosing speed and starting direction. Realize that there are often multiple solutions that can result in success. Your choice should factor in the risk/reward for your situation. You should think that making 8 out of 10 putts within 3 foot is good and making 2 out of 10 putts outside of 10 feet is great. This kind of thinking will help you determine risk/reward versus your objective of how many putts per green. O yeah - one more "final" thing. A lot of putting success is mental. The more you believe you will make the putt, the more success you will have. Make sure your putting practice involves sinking a lot of putts even if they have to be shorties. You want your brain to "expect" that clunk clunk clunk sound after every stroke.
Or, just...Be the ball...(go to 1:22):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo0baknLDdU
or, for a putting lesson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U264A...eature=related
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
Once, when I was playing with 2 balls off the tee (to kill time since I was playing by myself behind a course full of foursomes), I encountered a hole where it took 10 putts to sink one ball and thirteen to sink the other. When I made the turn the pro asked me how my round was going. When I did not answer him, he told me "We fixed that already".
Yeah, those rare, but nasty pin placements can ruin your whole week.
post #16 of 29
After the first three attempts missed the hole by no more than 6 inches and rolled 20 feet right back to the middle of the green putt putt style, it was just a joke. The pro ended up giving me a card to come back for free so the week was not totally ruined. I've since come to appreciate severely difficult pin placements, just not on my first visit to a course.
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
rusty, everyone, thanks for the tips. Yes, it was the first round in 5 years, at the end of it the guys said to me that they should really have given me a shot a hole, and that they might do it the next time. I've refused, cause I can be stubborn like that.
Next round will be next Tuesday night (looks like I'll be playing every Tuesday until it gets too dark to play)
I might try to get down to the driving range on Monday night to loosen up a bit more, and try to get a bit more consistency in my tee shots.
post #18 of 29
Fox,

After ten rounds, you can calculate a thing called a handicap (see sticky above). You could be eligible for TWO strokes a hole! But it really does not matter unless you are betting. If you're betting in this situation, you should be playing for stakes that don't matter. So it sounds like you're fine with not taking the strokes. If you do pick this up as a regular activity, you'll have enough rounds to calculate a handicap and be able to make the betting competition more interesting by using it. And you'll be more able to win your money back because it will be easier to improve your skill and beat your handicap (over the short term).

If you want to get better quicker, you'll find that you'll get a bigger payoff by working on your short game (chipping and putting). It's counter intuitive to work on the short game, but you can improve your tee shot "consistency" very easily by simply swinging easier and atttempting shorter distances. It's ok to go to the range and work on your full swing. It's more fun. All the "normal" golfers do this. But it's not the most effective way to practice. If you've got the "bug", you'll appreciate this advice if you can take advantage of it. I never could, but at least I've managed to get a decent mix into my practice schedule.

If you are going to the range to work on "tee shots", at your level I'd recommend you focus on:

grip - where the "v"s between your thumb and forefinger point to your shoulders. Pointing too far behind or in front of your shoulders will effect your shots. This is not necessarily bad, but you at least want consistency.

alignment - getting the line between the feet, hips and shoulders to all line up parallel to the target line (use clubs along the ground parallel to the toes and directly behind the ball to help check your ability to address the ball correctly and consistently).

tempo - one look at Charles Barkley's swing will highlight the benefit of a smooth swing that accelerates through the contact zone instead of before it. Smooth tempo can be a huge mental crutch out on the course.

helpful swing thoughts - eye focus on the ball position until well after it's left (this is really hard to do as a beginner because you lose so many balls), maintain your spine angle, club contact with the ground after ball contact (swing the club at a point in front of the ball) (except for driver).
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
rusty, thanks for the reminders. About 20 years ago I was playing off 12.

The only betting that goes on with the guys I was playing with is based on par 3s. If anyone is on the green, then the furthest from the hole has to buy them a pint.
post #20 of 29
I'm a terrible putter. A couple of weeks ago, I had one of the oversized putter grips installed . Best $10 bucks I ever spent . I 'm not sure why I'm putting better, I think the thick grip removes some of the "wristiness" I have in my putting stroke.
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Update...
I decided to take my driver, and 4,6,8 irons out of the bag.
Knocked 3 shots off last week's round, even though it was raining for about 14 holes.
Managed a couple of pars, and even a 1 putt!
Lost 1 ball (compared to 4 last week), and I'm sure I would have found it if I'd had another couple of minutes (but in fading light we decided to play on quickly)
My last few holes were bad getting to the green, I think that was tiredness.
I also seemed to suffer when I hit a good drive, then my second shot was a waste.


but I am getting better!
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post
Update...
even though it was raining for about 14 holes.
It never rains on a golf course!!!
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Was out again the last 3 weeks.
Last week we went to a different course, which was very tight. I was the only one not to lose a ball during the round.

On Tuesday of this week, there was only 2 of us out. Myself and the best of the other guys. We went back to our usual course. The new pro shop was open, and they had drivers for sale. On a bit of a whim, I spent £49 on a new driver (nothing wrong with my old one, it was back at the flat). New one is 460cc, so quite a bit bigger. I played really well with it (apart from two times when I sliced the ball slightly, and the wind took it deep into the rough). By the 17th I actually out-drove the big hitter, and it was dead straight! Ended up gross losing by a couple of holes, but only just. Net draw - I won 5, he won 5 we drew the rest
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
It never rains on a golf course!!!
Yeah - it's called Vertical Casual Water.

Way to go Fox - buying gear - you're hooked again!
post #25 of 29
It's all downhill from here, Fox. Don't forget I'm a member of a club in London so if you're down this way on a Sunday ...
post #26 of 29
If you not playing that often. Play a best ball with your mates, you will be hitting from a better spot and will not be as fustrating.
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandgroper61 View Post
It's all downhill from here, Fox. Don't forget I'm a member of a club in London so if you're down this way on a Sunday ...

South west London?
post #28 of 29
WTFH,

You're having a great run and I predict you're hooked - again.
As a USGA 9 handicap who shot 103 in a recent tounament (Two OB left, two OB right plus lost balls and shanks) I can't offer you much sympathy on your problems resuing your golf after 5 years. All I can say is the advice here is on target.

Maybe I'll buy a long putter. Think it will cure the shanks?

Sounds like you're having fun being out with your friends so it's a success.

Enjoy.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post
South west London?
Indeed. Wimbledon Park, over the road from the All England Club - features in every year's Wimbledon coverage as a car park!
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