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 #1 of 29
7/29/08 at 2:58pm
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.
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.
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".