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Ball Position for Putting Start Line

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I've started my annual off-season tradition of pitting my putters against each other in a competition to determine which one starts next spring in the bag. Each year, I've tweaked the format of the testing a bit. This is the first year that I've incorporated the PuttOut putting gate. And it's been eye-opening.

I've only gone through three of the six putters in my testing, but the gate is showing me that I have a pronounced tendency to pull the ball. Out of 30 straight putts, I've hit the left base of the gate 12 times. I've yet to hit a single one right.

Somehow, this tendency escaped my notice on the course, likely because when I'm putting, I'm mostly thinking low side/high side of the hole rather than left side/right side. I've never charted my misses on course, but at this point, it would be surprising to me if it's anything but left.

I'm thinking that one fix would be to move my ball position back a bit. Here's a video that gives a good idea of my current position, which is just barely inside my left heel:

I'm thinking that if I moved that back an inch, it might calm down that pull tendency.

Anyone else done something similar, where you've changed your ball position for the purpose of altering your start line consistency?

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Lots of opinions on ball position in putting. Moving the back in your stance should move the ball more right since the face will be pointed more to the right at that point in the stroke. That assumes you don’t chance anything else to compensate for the change of ball position.

Impact is that it may work,
may work for a while, or not work at all. The question will be answered as your natural tendencies start to creep back into your stroke.

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SAMM putt lab showed I pull EVERY SINGLE SHOT- even when I knew it and tried not to I still pulled left (no wonder I missed so many 2 footers)

Ball now just left of centre and putting drill with 2 tees has stopped that...............thank goodness.

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In the video I notice that your left foot is a bit open, and that your putter path follows your left foot’s alignment. Your foot is open so you slightly cut across it.

Try bringing your left foot back to square. That might correct your pull.

I myself pull it because I get my right foot too far forward, which also creates an open stance. I have to setup and then pull my right foot back an inch or two or I’ll pull putts (especially the short ones!)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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First let me start by saying that I am not a good putter. I found this interesting because I am looking to improve this over the winter up here in the midwest. I have a number of issues with my putting and some of the guys I play with a lot say I just hammer (one of the reasons for the handle) or swat at the ball on the green. I miss left a lot but also have  speed issues. I have been looking for drills but also the last round I played while warming up I looked down and asked myself, where should the ball be in my stance? Right now I have it about at my big toe on my left foot. After seeing this post and some of the responses I am going to test out a new position tomorrow when I am out there. Fingers crossed this might help cut a stroke or 2 off the score. 

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... First thing to find out is are you are left eye dominant. If you are, I would not change ball positions unless it becomes a last resort. You are addressing the ball in the video with an open putter face, so you have to change the face angle coming into every putt. Our brains are much smarter than we give them credit and the internal conversation goes something like this:

"Are you honestly trying to hit the ball straight but aiming right of the hole again?

"I didn't notice because I am focusing on a million things at once! Now SHUT UP!"

"You know I am gonna close the face for you or you are gonna miss right, right?"

"I am ignoring you. Please let me focus! I have to worry about my stance, ball position, stroke length, if I have the right putter or need to buy a new one, my speed control and of course making the putt!"

"Well dam dude, I can take care of almost all of that. Why don't you just concentrate on speed after you give me a good look at the line? I'll keep it on track. Now, you could make it a lot easier on me if you have your putter face aimed at the line I'll use to use to make the putt, but I know that's probably asking too much when you, what was it?...  you have all those things to think about? LMAO!!!" 

 

Edited by chisag
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I've tried twice to post a comment here but ditched them before posting. And this is not going to be uplifting...

If you're not a very good putter and have tried and tried to become better it's probably not going to happen. You'll probably always be mediocre at best. It all has to do with the eyes-mind-arms/hands working in unison. The mind controls all of it. These three items have to work together and in sync. Sure, you can improve your ball striking and become a better driver of the ball. I've done it and seen many others do the same. But putting? Sorry. Different animal. Have you ever known someone who could see an object and then sketch it out on paper in a most accurate realistic rendering? I have and I'm always amazed at people who can do that. Their eyes-mind-hands do this in an almost magical way. I have zero artistic ability. Zero-zip-notta! I can't draw a stick picture. But, I can putt. Am I great ball striker? Not particularly. Driver of the ball? Pretty good most days. See what I mean? To be a truly good or great putter you either have it or you don't. If you don't; stop agonizing over it and improve other aspects of your game that you can actually control. Ball striking, chipping/pitching, driver. Improve those aspects and you might at least start feeling like you're putting better. Maybe.

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What happens to the ball when you square the face to the target line? It looks like you are manipulating the face slightly with your hands throughout the stroke. That could be the cause of the pull to the left. 

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Lots of interesting comments here.

In another thread, I wrote up some of my observations from trying to move ball position. Short version: it's really hard to move the ball an inch or two. And as it wasn't producing any obvious immediate benefit, I abandoned that project quickly.

As @chisag noted, I do set up with my face open. Using a SwingByte, I've found that I aim about 2° open and then compensate by closing at impact. I generally do this quite consistently. Obviously, the pull problem is a matter of overdoing the compensation.

Why do I set up with an open face? Why not just aim the putter down the correct line? I do not see the line correctly. I've tested this extensively. I'll use a laser to establish the perfect line. Then I've placed a 4' metal ruler on the line and turned off the laser. When I address an 8' putt on that ruler, the ruler always looks to me to be pointing a ball or two to the left of the hole. I have experimented with all kinds of positions to try to get my head in a position in which the correct line looks correct. The only one that worked was addressing the putt left-handed; when I switched sides of the putt, the correct line looks right.

But after a bit of experimenting, I found that I'm really poor at putting left-handed.

On the course, Game Golf thinks I put roughly on the level of a 10 handicap. A couple seasons ago, I was closer to the level of a 5-cap. I'm typically averaging around 31 putts per nine [EDIT: should say "per eighteen."]. So I wouldn't consider myself a poor putter at all; like the rest of my game, I'm pretty ordinary, with some potential to sharpen things up a bit.

In my putter testing (the same link above), I changed my focus from my left hand to the palm of my right, with the image of rolling the ball down my intended line with my right hand. That slowed down the rate of closer and has made a statistically noticeable difference in the putter testing that I'm doing.

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1 hour ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

On the course, Game Golf thinks I put roughly on the level of a 10 handicap. A couple seasons ago, I was closer to the level of a 5-cap. I'm typically averaging around 31 putts per nine. So I wouldn't consider myself a poor putter at all; like the rest of my game, I'm pretty ordinary, with some potential to sharpen things up a bit.

I mean, there's your problem right there! 😉

Seriously though, I wonder if your closing face rate is equal to how open you set up at address. Based on the continued left miss I'm guessing it isn't and using a putter that wants to close down quicker isn't going to help the problem. 

I know you're a tinkerer MPR, so here's my suggestion as a fix and doesn't change much. I'm guessing you've got some lead tape, add it to the heel side of your putter to see if that weight difference helps you slow the rotation a touch. 

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I'm typically averaging around 31 putts per nine.


This is a miss print.. correct? Otherwise thats 3 putts a hole + some.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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20 minutes ago, bullldog said:


 

 


This is a miss print.. correct? Otherwise thats 3 putts a hole + some.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

 

Yes. Should be per 18, as @Berg RymanRyman noted.

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... In this crazy game so many of us compensate for one thing or another. After 2 back surgeries I address the ball with a slightly open stance because it helps get my hips out of the way taking pressure of my back. Of course I have to compensate for an open stance but feel it is the lessor of 2 evils. I do think however, that putting happens so much slower than a full swing so if possible, keeping things simple without compensation is always best. If you open your putter 2* it is almost impossible to return it 2* closed with 100% consistency because the brain wants to mirror what we do at address. I would highly recommend working on learning to read the line with a square face because it is so much easier to repeat. 

... That said, sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do. 🤙

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I play once a week in a league, and it's astounding how many different putting styles there are, and the range of results. The ones that really get me are the ones who deliberately line up their putter face left or right, and compensate in putting. And the ones that use gobs of wrist action. Both would unnerve me, but I would never question anyone else's choices on the golf course, whatever we think works probably does more often than not - until we decide it doesn't anymore.

Edited by Middler
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On 10/26/2019 at 5:22 PM, PlaidJacket said:

It all has to do with the eyes-mind-arms/hands working in unison. The mind controls all of it.

I agree.  Not that the rest of the bag also requires this coordination, but I think putting is significantly more influenced by feel - the "artist" aspect you refer to. Several folks I play with in Yuma are mid 20 handicappers, poor ball strikers, but putt like Steve Stricker.  One has the craziest alignment and putting stroke you'll like ever see (think Wolff on the putting green 🙂) but the results are great.

My stance is pretty centered and square to the line.  My most recent change that has improved makes is less grip pressure in left hand and adopting the BK right index finger down the shaft.  Also making a conscious effort to be long more than short.

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On 10/26/2019 at 3:52 PM, chisag said:

... First thing to find out is are you are left eye dominant. If you are, I would not change ball positions unless it becomes a last resort. You are addressing the ball in the video with an open putter face, so you have to change the face angle coming into every putt. Our brains are much smarter than we give them credit and the internal conversation goes something like this:

"Are you honestly trying to hit the ball straight but aiming right of the hole again?

"I didn't notice because I am focusing on a million things at once! Now SHUT UP!"

"You know I am gonna close the face for you or you are gonna miss right, right?"

"I am ignoring you. Please let me focus! I have to worry about my stance, ball position, stroke length, if I have the right putter or need to buy a new one, my speed control and of course making the putt!"

"Well dam dude, I can take care of almost all of that. Why don't you just concentrate on speed after you give me a good look at the line? I'll keep it on track. Now, you could make it a lot easier on me if you have your putter face aimed at the line I'll use to use to make the putt, but I know that's probably asking too much when you, what was it?...  you have all those things to think about? LMAO!!!" 

 

LOL that is a classic example of someone's brain getting involved. Lots of times our eyes tell our hands and body what to do without getting the brain involved. I was always a instinct putter and player. And I absolutely think that has been the root of my putting problems lately getting my brain involved in the process 

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22 hours ago, Middler said:

I play once a week in a league, and it's astounding how many different putting styles there are, and the range of results. The ones that really get me are the ones who deliberately line up their putter face left or right, and compensate in putting. And the ones that use gobs of wrist action. Both would unnerve me, but I would never question anyone else's choices on the golf course, whatever we think works probably does more often than not - until we decide it doesn't anymore.

Older guys like me that grew up on Bermuda greens tend to be wristy with sorta a pop stroke. I think I had gotten away from that. I recently kinda got back on track with my feel from putting with an old Bulls Eye Putter. That is a bare balls no holds barred putter. either you hit it good or you don't. Trust me if you do not find that dime sized sweet spot it will let you know fast. If you hit the sweet spot you will know from the feel and see the roll on the ball. 

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3 hours ago, BIG STU said:

LOL that is a classic example of someone's brain getting involved. Lots of times our eyes tell our hands and body what to do without getting the brain involved. I was always a instinct putter and player. And I absolutely think that has been the root of my putting problems lately getting my brain involved in the process 

Funny thing, but I agree. If I relax, keep my wrists still and just let my instincts judge distance I putt better. If I think too much, bad things happen too often.

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I have a tendency to have the face pointing left of my target. It looks square to me. When someone moves my putter so it is square to the line, it looks like the face is very open.  Appreciate any feedback on this.

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On 10/26/2019 at 4:22 PM, PlaidJacket said:

I've tried twice to post a comment here but ditched them before posting. And this is not going to be uplifting...

If you're not a very good putter and have tried and tried to become better it's probably not going to happen. You'll probably always be mediocre at best. It all has to do with the eyes-mind-arms/hands working in unison. The mind controls all of it. These three items have to work together and in sync. Sure, you can improve your ball striking and become a better driver of the ball. I've done it and seen many others do the same. But putting? Sorry. Different animal. Have you ever known someone who could see an object and then sketch it out on paper in a most accurate realistic rendering? I have and I'm always amazed at people who can do that. Their eyes-mind-hands do this in an almost magical way. I have zero artistic ability. Zero-zip-notta! I can't draw a stick picture. But, I can putt. Am I great ball striker? Not particularly. Driver of the ball? Pretty good most days. See what I mean? To be a truly good or great putter you either have it or you don't. If you don't; stop agonizing over it and improve other aspects of your game that you can actually control. Ball striking, chipping/pitching, driver. Improve those aspects and you might at least start feeling like you're putting better. Maybe.

I disagree.  While some people seem to be born with better feel and can control the putter head better than the average player, I believe that anyone can learn to be a good putter.  While not true with ball striking, putting is something that most anyone can do as well as pros...with lots of practice!!  I started playing golf and for 15 years my pro said I had hands of stone; no touch.  So I practiced, a lot!  I even changed techniques and found a putter that fit me better.  It's true... the more you practice, the better you get.  How many golfer actually practice putting as much as they should to improve??  Not many.  It takes discipline.  We would all rather go play.

As I have said many times, I don't look at the ball when I putt.  I look at the hole.  So, I line up the ball to the line I read on the green, then square my putter to that line when standing over the ball.  At that point I only focus on speed.  I never question my line because I'm not looking at it over the ball.  That method helped me immensely because I had a tendency to move my eyes/head during the stroke.

For the past month I hadn't been putting as well as normal.  I thought it was the change in weather.  This past week I noticed that my stance had gotten narrower; I was standing taller, and that makes it easier to rotate a little, causing a pull.  When I widened my stance to where I remembered I used to stand, my putting came back to normal.

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