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Aim line or rifle putting?


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Hello and greetings from Bergen, Norway.

I really want to know how many of you guys use the aim line on the ball for putting or if you use another method. My opinion is that the practise of lining your ball up with your intended line takes alot of time, but it gives very little added value. I never line up the putt with the aim line on the ball and I am quite a good putter and have no problem hitting my intended putt line every time. (That may be in part due to the fact that I use a side saddle putter, so the putter is not opening or closing at all in the swing. It just swings like a pendulum so the club face is on my intended line the entire time.)

For the exact method, see this youtube video:

But my main point is that I dont think it makes any sense to use the aim line because the uncertainty in how accurately you can place you ball on the green is way beyond what you need it to be to make sure that you will find your intended line every time.

My method has always been to look behind the ball and find som grain of sand or blade of grass within a foot from the ball on the intended line and then I just focus on that point and roll the center of my ball right over it. This is very easy (for me at least), and just by rolling the ball over a point that far away is going to decrease the uncertainty in the angle to keep your putt closer to the intended line.

I see very many guys using this line on the ball and it usually takes time because they almost always have to check and adjust the line a few times before they are happy with their alignment, and then I need no time at all and my putts are usually closer to the cup (again, the side saddle putter is almost unfair to the traditional putters because push and pull in totally eliminated.)

But I think this makes sense because it is like comparing the accuacy of a pistol to a rifle. Everyone will hit more targets with a rifle simply because it is longer and that is the exactly what I do with my putting, I have a long barrel to get my putts online and therefore I am sinking more putts than most of the guys I play with.

What do you guys think, am I assuming something wrong, or do you think my side saddle putter is the only reason I always hit my intended line?

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As I mention in the other thread, I use the a line, but I use it to line up the ball to my intended line and my putter to the ball.  After that I look at the hole (on straight putts), and basically use your "rifle" approach and focus on speed only.  My putting stats are pretty good.  To me it's like throwing a ball, darts, horseshoes.  If I didn't use a line, I would be guessing on whether my putter face was aligned with where I wanted the ball to go.

I've tried long putters; not for me.

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I don't use the line. I find that it doesn't look lined up once I stand over the ball. I know it is lined up from behind, but standing over the ball it doesn't. Leads to a lack of confidence. I much prefer to look down at nothing but white on the ball..no line, no logo, no number...just ball. 

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I don't use a line on the ball.  I did the math once, if your 1.68" long line is off by 1/16" from dead on line, you're 6" off at 10 feet.  

But looking at the putter, I wonder if its truly legal.  I know the website makes the claim, but the equipment rules require the shaft to be at least 10* off vertical.  The specifically stated intention of the rule is to eliminate putters that are made to be used with the shaft vertical, i.e. croquet-style.  The details get a little complex, but you can read for yourself here:

http://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/Equipment/Equipment Rules Final.pdf

This section starts on page 21.

I don't see a way of checking for conforming putters on the USGA website.

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Wasn't there another thread similar to this recently? Hmm? Maybe not. But..

No. I don't draw a line on the ball. I do however use what's provided by the mfg. The guy in the video is certainly good with that putter he has. Not my style but if it's legal as the video says it is - go for it.

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21 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

I don't use a line on the ball.  I did the math once, if your 1.68" long line is off by 1/16" from dead on line, you're 6" off at 10 feet.  

But looking at the putter, I wonder if its truly legal.  I know the website makes the claim, but the equipment rules require the shaft to be at least 10* off vertical.  The specifically stated intention of the rule is to eliminate putters that are made to be used with the shaft vertical, i.e. croquet-style.  The details get a little complex, but you can read for yourself here:

http://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/Equipment/Equipment Rules Final.pdf

This section starts on page 21.

I don't see a way of checking for conforming putters on the USGA website.

I wondered myself when I noticed that the approval was back in 2006. The putter conforms because the shaft is 10º off vertical. However, take a look at the video at the 6:20 mark on how the putter is used.  The putt is made with the shaft vertical which means the toe is down and heel is up.  It is an interesting design, and possible a good way for people that need a long putter.  Personally, it doesn't work for me.

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Just now, Kenny B said:

I wondered myself when I noticed that the approval was back in 2006. The putter conforms because the shaft is 10º off vertical. However, take a look at the video at the 6:20 mark on how the putter is used.  The putt is made with the shaft vertical which means the toe is down and heel is up.  It is an interesting design, and possible a good way for people that need a long putter.  Personally, it doesn't work for me.

There's a bit in the rules that could apply to this putter:

Quote

(i) the projection of the straight part of the shaft on to the vertical plane through the toe and heel must diverge from the vertical by at least 10 degrees (see Fig. 5). If the overall design of the club is such that the player can effectively use the club in a vertical or close-to-vertical position, the shaft may be required to diverge from the vertical in this plane by as much as 25 degrees;

Based on the website, that's exactly how this club is intended to be used, with the shaft vertical.  There's a rather long discussion about the judgement involved in making a determination about the legality of a club.  Here's a bit of that:

Quote

If the overall design of a putter is such that a player can putt effectively with the shaft in a vertical or near-vertical position, it would be ruled contrary to Part 2, Section 1d, even if the shaft angle does satisfy the 10 degree Rule when the putter is in its “normal address position”.

I guess I wonder if the rule has been revised since the putter received its initial approval in 2006.

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I subscribe to the Chuck Connors school of aiming methodology.

the_rifleman.jpg.bf967690c5a875aa4789875f41dbcfa4.jpg

And it's my preference to not see any lines/labels standing over a putt.

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59 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

There's a bit in the rules that could apply to this putter:

Based on the website, that's exactly how this club is intended to be used, with the shaft vertical.  There's a rather long discussion about the judgement involved in making a determination about the legality of a club.  Here's a bit of that:

I guess I wonder if the rule has been revised since the putter received its initial approval in 2006.

If a club is approved, can it later be rescinded if nothing has changed

Apparently BDC sent in several putters in 2016-17, and one was non-conforming, but no one is talking about why.  I wonder if the rule was revised then?

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56 minutes ago, Kenny B said:

If a club is approved, can it later be rescinded if nothing has changed

Apparently BDC sent in several putters in 2016-17, and one was non-conforming, but no one is talking about why.  I wonder if the rule was revised then?

I tried to look that up, one was disallowed in January 2017, but apparently the policy of the USGA is not to discuss the reasons for defining individual clubs as nonconforming.  But it was my memory of the Bryson stuff that prompted me to look at the Equipment Rules, that putter and method of putting looked pretty close to what he was trying to do back then.

I do know that some older clubs are now not allowed, based on the 2010 changes  to the groove regulations, but were conforming when they were new.  That isn't effective for everyone until 2024, I think, but at the top levels those clubs aren't allowed to be used.  So yes, a club that was conforming in 2006 could become non-conforming if the rules have changed.  I just don't know if the putter rules have changed, and I can't imagine that the USGA or R&A would rescind an initial approval unless the rules DID change.

 

 

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On 3/15/2019 at 12:26 PM, DaveP043 said:

I tried to look that up, one was disallowed in January 2017, but apparently the policy of the USGA is not to discuss the reasons for defining individual clubs as nonconforming.  But it was my memory of the Bryson stuff that prompted me to look at the Equipment Rules, that putter and method of putting looked pretty close to what he was trying to do back then.

I do know that some older clubs are now not allowed, based on the 2010 changes  to the groove regulations, but were conforming when they were new.  That isn't effective for everyone until 2024, I think, but at the top levels those clubs aren't allowed to be used.  So yes, a club that was conforming in 2006 could become non-conforming if the rules have changed.  I just don't know if the putter rules have changed, and I can't imagine that the USGA or R&A would rescind an initial approval unless the rules DID change.

 

 

It’s interesting how close to the vest USGA plays conformity decisions. I got some firsthand experience on the subject going through the process of verifying a prototype Adams driver last year. Ended up on the phone with them and through our conversation was able to suss out the particularly problematic design element on that head. When I singled it out, my USGA rep confirmed the issue but “couldn’t go into specifics" and I got the feeling he would have preferred if I hadn’t pried even that modicum of decision info out of him. At that point the conversation  closed quickly with him explaining that Adams agreed to knock it off and that I should do the same where gaming the club in competition was concerned.

I’d like to preface this by stating that I’m not a conspiracy theorist. However, expanding a bit on the subject of proprietary intelligence - as it relates to the BAD putter decisions, the USGA doesn’t seem to have an audit system in place to guarantee their equipment conformity decisions are always based on consistent rationale. It could very well be that the cusp of modern golf equipment engineering is so nuanced that no other organization is in a position to check their work. But private organizations operating without external oversight historically do not maintain the steadiest of moral compasses.

Back to the topic of face-on putter models BAD submitted, I think the combination of hosel placement (heel/center/toe/back) and sole camber are things the USGA puts under the microscope. Going a little deeper, 10* minimum lie angle (as the putter is naturally soled) by itself would not be sufficiently conforming if the physics suggest a perfectly upright setup plus toe strike to be advantageous conditions. Basically, my understanding is that you could take a conforming face-on setup, stand it straight up and stay within the rules. Taking the effective lie angle to 0* moves the sweet spot off the ground, requiring an intentional toe strike that causes the putter face to crank open. Nobody’s going to win anything of consequence with that garbage system, so the USGA  subsequently doesn’t really give a damn if you want to putt that way.

I think BAD was starting to make things look a little too easy with his face-on setup. And I imagine the strike physics mentioned above played into his ruling in the negative. _But_ (and it’s a BIG BUT for me) based on what I’ve seen of BAD’s preferred face-on setup, it absolutely satisfied the published conformity requirements. With no one auditing the decision and the USGA tight lipped as policy, we will likely never be privvy to their precise reasoning. And _that_ is truly unfortunate because I expect more out of them as an organization and believe their current policy on information dissemination is at best, somewhat stifling innovation in the putter space, and at worst, potentially allows human nature to creep into the equipment conformity decision making process.

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10 minutes ago, downlowkey said:

It’s interesting how close to the vest USGA plays conformity decisions. I got some firsthand experience on the subject going through the process of verifying a prototype Adams driver last year. Ended up on the phone with them and through our conversation was able to suss out the particularly problematic design element on that head. When I singled it out, my USGA rep confirmed the issue but “couldn’t” go into specifics and I got the feeling he would have preferred if I hadn’t pried even that modicum of decision info out of him. At that point the conversation  closed quickly with him explaining that Adams agreed to knock it off and that I should do the same where gaming the club in competition was concerned.

I’d like to preface this by stating that I’m not a conspiracy theorist. However, expanding a bit on the subject of proprietary intelligence - as it relates to the BAD putter decisions, the USGA doesn’t seem to have an audit system in place to guarantee their equipment conformity decisions are always based on consistent rationale. It could very well be that the cusp of modern golf equipment engineering is so nuanced that no other organization is in a position to check their work. But private organizations operating without external oversight historically do not maintain the steadiest of moral compasses.

Back to the topic of face-on putter models BAD submitted, I think the combination of hosel placement (heel/center/toe/back) and sole camber are things the USGA puts under the microscope. Going a little deeper, 10* minimum lie angle (as the putter is naturally soled) by itself would not be sufficiently conforming if the physics suggest a perfectly upright setup plus toe strike to be advantageous conditions. Basically, my understanding is that you could take a conforming face-on setup, stand it straight up and stay within the rules. Taking the effective lie angle to 0* moves the sweet spot off the ground, requiring an intentional toe strike that causes the putter face to crank open. Nobody’s going to win anything of consequence with that garbage system, so the USGA  subsequently doesn’t really give a damn if you want to putt that way.

I think BAD was starting to make things look a little too easy with his face-on setup. And I imagine the strike physics mentioned above played into his ruling in the negative. _But_ (and it’s a BIG BUT for me) based on what I’ve seen of BAD’s preferred face-on setup, it absolutely satisfied the published conformity requirements. With no one auditing the decision and the USGA tight lipped as policy, we will likely never be privvy to their precise reasoning. And _that_ is truly unfortunate because I expect more out of them as an organization and believe their current policy on information dissemination is at best, somewhat stifling innovation in the putter space, and at worst, potentially allows human nature to creep into the equipment conformity decision making process.

What's interesting with the putter in the OP is that the head is only 3 1/16" wide, so the putter can be set vertical with the heel slightly up, and the putter can strike the ball in the center of the club face without being too high on the ball... no toe strike.  The video specifically states that is why the club face isn't wider.

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On 3/15/2019 at 1:59 PM, Kenny B said:

What's interesting with the putter in the OP is that the head is only 3 1/16" wide, so the putter can be set vertical with the heel slightly up, and the putter can strike the ball in the center of the club face without being too high on the ball... no toe strike.  The video specifically states that is why the club face isn't wider.

You’re right, it is interesting. However, the USGA tested GP’s original submission in early 2007 and they have likely forgotten all about it as it would seem to have already been their 94th equipment related decision by early March of that year.

https://face-on-putting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/USGA-letter-for-the-GP-putter.pdf

If you look closely at hosel placement, the shaft enters top center. Coupled with the lie angle, that creates a technical toe bias where the center of the shaft is located as it relates to the sweet spot. And I’d bet the farm if a professional decided to game it tomorrow at The Player’s, we’d have an ambiguous USGA press release before the final round saying something to effect of “hell nah”. Essentially, I think that viewed against recent decisions, this particular putter has yet to be deemed non-conforming simply because it hasn’t been gamed successfully on the world stage. 

 

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I game a two ball blade putter atm, but I still use lines on my balls. For me, I read greens visualizing lines so the lines on the ball help me with intended start line and then squaring the face up at address.

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I used to use a line on my ball for a few years, but gave it up several years ago and here's why.

1. My stroke is not a straight back and straight through

2. I was never quite sure that I had the line pointed in the exact spot I needed to hit so that hurt my confidence

3. Since I wasn't confident the line was correctly pointed, I would step back at times and realign it which took too much time

I gave up the line and place the ball so there are no markings at all on top. I have become a pretty darn good putter since then.

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DaveP043 and subsequent discussion on the face-on putting.

My putter is set to this maximum angle and is face balanced but there is definitely a risk for scraping the toe and opening up the face during putting. And it takes me a few rounds every season to get used to how I actually stand over the putt but when I am calibrated my execution gets solid enough with regard to direction, so I never hit the marbles on my knock-off Dave Pelz putting aid. So that takes one of the variables off the putt, i.e. I only need to pick the right line, the right speed and then I know I will hit my intended line since I can't push or pull the putt. So that kind of eliminates the risk of getting the yips ever, and that is the reason I changed to this because my putting totally broke down on a course where the greens were fast and undulating and I felt my confidence in executing the putts vanished.

So as you hear, I am all for continuing with this putting style. For very long putts, I just putt like Kuchar or DeChambeau with the shaft and I need that since the biggest challenge with face on putting is that you throw away all your years of speed control that you have built into your muscle memory with the traditional swing and putting stroke. But with time, speed control will get better.

I realize this is a hot topic since face-on putting is just doing what the letter says but definitely not what R&A or USGA wants people to do. And I have heard a lot of claims that say my putting style is illegal. But since face on putting is basically just putting with an extremely open stance, and it would be very difficult for them to ban this entirely without just stating clearly that this vertical style putting is banned and then GP putters will just have to focus on the ridiculous face on chipping method. But until then I will keep this up.

But I totally agree that if some pros started putting like this, USGA would totally block that just like they did with Bryson but I am just an amateur playing off 4 hcp, trying to use all the tricks in the book to get down to scratch and my ShotScope V2 is telling me my putting can definitely be improved. I play my tournaments with this putter and I only get ridiculed, but not disqualified, so I think until I start.

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