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What’s the best way to evaluate and improve putting?

Lessons? Fitting? Practice aids/greens?


What’s worked for those of you who have turned putting from a weakness to a strength?

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I agree with CNOSIL.  Start line was the key for me.  I spent the winter on a 10,000 putt challenge and my AH HA moment was when I found that being able to roll a ball down a 48 inch long 1 inch wide

It depends on the person.  For me I wanted to understand the putting stroke and how putter designs influence the strokes.  Basically all the nitty gritty stuff.  I found a good putting specific coach

There are a couple of online Strokes Gained Putting calculators.  All you need to enter is the first putt distance and the number of putts for each hole.  The baseline is the PGA Tour averages from Br

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It depends on the person.  For me I wanted to understand the putting stroke and how putter designs influence the strokes.  Basically all the nitty gritty stuff.  I found a good putting specific coach that taught me a lot about putting.   We also covered fitting to identify what putters would work best for me.   From there I spent lots of time on practicing hitting my start line.   Once you can do that you start working on distance control and then green reading.   

I would start with working on your start line.   Can you consistently roll the ball down a ruler or through gates?    Work on distance control and being able to roll the ball specific distances.   

Once you start getting start line and distance control you can work on green reading.  Unless you have the first two items down,  it is almost impossible to get good at reading greens.  

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18 hours ago, Grit Golf said:

What’s the best way to evaluate and improve putting?

Lessons? Fitting? Practice aids/greens?


What’s worked for those of you who have turned putting from a weakness to a strength?

🤔 IF I could go back in time and bring a little technology with me : 

I would have first identified an instructor for mechanics/lessons. That instructor would also use SAM Putter fitting to measure all the variables that a putting stroke yields.

Second, I would sign up for AIM POINT greens reading workshops.

Both my sons got the instruction, fitting/SAM and AIM POINT from same instructor. 

Many alternatives to SAM fitting and AIM POINT. Those are the ones I chose and have had very good success with.

I know there are others so just find a system if you will and commit to it. Good luck

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Distance control. 100%. My son is 9 and I’m teaching him about speed first. If you get your speed right 80% of the time, and your line only 40%, you’ll still make a LOT of putts, even accidentally. Sometimes the hole gets in the way. Lol


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I agree with CNOSIL.  Start line was the key for me.  I spent the winter on a 10,000 putt challenge and my AH HA moment was when I found that being able to roll a ball down a 48 inch long 1 inch wide ruler meant that I could hit my line every time..and I began to make those 5-8 footers that had been killing my game.  I also agree that getting fitted for a putter that suits your stroke is a great idea.  Now, green reading..I just finished a refresher on Aim Point express and I highly recommend finding a local pro that teaches it.  Three Putt no more!!!

THIS!!! The ruler is Such a good yet underrated tool IMO I would start here...I’m going to get mine back out.


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My response is simple, it has worked for me that past 35 years since it was thought to me by while in USAF, made putting  the easiest part of my game.

1) Learn to read the green : Read the break from 6 inches behind the cup, back to where the ball sits. Easiest way, look at the green and imagine how water would roll down. Aim for the spot 6 inches behind the cup. 

2) ROLL the ball:  Do not "hit" or "strike" the ball. Get the feel like your rolling the ball with your putter using only your shoulders.

3) Pick a spot to aim:  Usually about the middle of the putt, 3 feet putt, aim point about foot and half and so on.

4) "See" the green speed:  Grass follows the sun, a putt towards sun will be a little faster than away from it.

 

 

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SO - the ruler "test" is pretty revealing... It now makes complete sense why I miss almost all of my birdie putts.

I have a 2" wide x 48" club fitting ruler, and it's a real challenge to get from one end to the other without spilling off the side. This seems like a very sound place to start.

I'm guessing the ExPutt sim will smack you in the face with the same reality, just delivered in a prettier, more high tech way :). It'll be interesting to follow along w the forum reviewers on that one.

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“He’s a Cinderella story. A former assistant groundskeeper about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” — Carl Spackler

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SO - the ruler "test" is pretty revealing... It now makes complete sense why I miss almost all of my birdie putts.
I have a 2" wide x 48" club fitting ruler, and it's a real challenge to get from one end to the other without spilling off the side. This seems like a very sound place to start.
I'm guessing the ExPutt sim will smack you in the face with the same reality, just delivered in a prettier, more high tech way :). It'll be interesting to follow along w the forum reviewers on that one.

Yep, and 2” is a pretty wide ruler.
To give you a baseline, the information below is from Visio putting to explain how far away to put the various gates to get a specific degree of error.

50mm @ 17 inches requires less than 0.5 degree of error
50mm @ 11 inches requires less than 0.75 degree of error

55mm @ 14 inches requires less than 1 degree of error
55mm @ 19 inches requires less than 0.75 degree of error

60mm @ 40 inches requires less than 0.5 degrees of error

60mm @ 20 inches requires less than 1 degree of error

Practicing with the gates on your chosen line is an interesting challenge of your ability to start the ball on a specific line when you consider at 10 ft 1 degree of error would be lined up to the edge of the hole, while at 20ft 0.5 degree of error would also be lined up to the edge of the hole.

Therefore on a straight 10 foot putt you will need to develop accuracy of less than 1 degree of error in your starting line to be successful, or at 20ft less than 0.5 degree
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Based on the Visio numbers, if I can  consistently get 4 out of 5 putts rolling off the back of a 48" x 2" ruler, that should mean I'm figuring it out?

EDIT: I just did the math, NOT leaving the edge of a 2" ruler is the same as keeping the ball between a 93.5mm gate. A 93.5mm gate at 48" requires less than 1.19 degrees degrees of error to either side. That's probably sufficient for a not perfectly level surface?

The first go-round with this exercise was a bit eye-opening.

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General incorrectness
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The best approach for improving putting is hitting it closer to the hole. 

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I had to look up what Visio was !!

Here is my two pesos AGAIN, your not going to be consistent if you don't  hit the sweet spot on the putter ( or same spot) , if your strike zone is all over the putter face, you wont be consistant.

So go "old school" tape two toothpicks on both sides of the sweet spot, gap should be about as wide as a dime.

Now practice putting, when you can putt without hitting the toothpicks say 7 of 10, NOW you can move on to practicing distance control

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2 hours ago, MadMex said:

I had to look up what Visio was !!

Here is my two pesos AGAIN, your not going to be consistent if you don't  hit the sweet spot on the putter ( or same spot) , if your strike zone is all over the putter face, you wont be consistant.

So go "old school" tape two toothpicks on both sides of the sweet spot, gap should be about as wide as a dime.

Now practice putting, when you can putt without hitting the toothpicks say 7 of 10, NOW you can move on to practicing distance control

With that approach you still have to worry about face angle;  you can hit the middle but still have an open or closed putter face.  

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4 hours ago, Grit Golf said:

1.19 degrees degrees of error to either side. That's probably sufficient for a not perfectly level surface?

I would really work to get it lower;  I practice .5* of error.  

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While playing with some fellow spies at the PNW Meetup, it was suggested I try the "reverse grip/left hand low" method.  I tried it during Sunday's round three times and drained all three mid length putts dead center.  It felt really odd, but I couldn't argue the results.  I plan to trial it for a bit and see if the magic continues. I also plan to get a PING fitting this next winter while in AZ.

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This may sound corny, but confidence.  I started practicing my putting more which definitely helped, but the real jump happened when I believed in my putting ability.  I still see it in my rounds today, the rounds where I have no 3 putts and I make a fair amount of 1 putts, its because I'm not stroking the ball tentatively.  This doesn't always mean blasting the ball, but I have a plan for line and speed control and I execute.  Every time I find myself a little unsure (mostly at newer courses), I always end up putting like crap. 

 

So my advice is pick a practice drill you like.  My 2 drills of choice where just using alignment sticks after seeing Spieth use it one time in a warm up for a Major (I think i found a youtube video with something like Jordan Spieth alignment stick putting)  and the second drill is hitting 5 downhill putts one after the other at varying lengths (5, 10, 15, 20, 30), then do the same for uphill putts. If you're limited to home, just get a putting mat and try to use it twice a week, just use it to gain confidence in your stroke and try to transfer it to the putting green pre-round. 

I practiced those drills until I was very confident in my stroke, then I worked on trusting my stroke on the course and over time I improved drastically.

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5 hours ago, MadMex said:

I had to look up what Visio was !!

Here is my two pesos AGAIN, your not going to be consistent if you don't  hit the sweet spot on the putter ( or same spot) , if your strike zone is all over the putter face, you wont be consistant.

So go "old school" tape two toothpicks on both sides of the sweet spot, gap should be about as wide as a dime.

Now practice putting, when you can putt without hitting the toothpicks say 7 of 10, NOW you can move on to practicing distance control

Interesting... not heard of this technique before.

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2 hours ago, cnosil said:

I would really work to get it lower;  I practice .5* of error.  

Thanks for the tip off on the Visio gates, I think I can cobble a 50mm gate together to start working with.

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It works.  Even if all you get is the PuttOUT trainer itself and a decent bit of carpet.  The mirror and gates are nice, but you can do almost as well with things you can buy at Home Depot.  The key is to buy something you're going to use.  It's made my daughters better putters as well.  If you become a better putter from 4 feet, you'll be a better putter from 40 feet as well.

If you're pressed for practice time, I'll suggest this - figure out the distance at which you start missing short putts, and the distance at which you start 3 putting.  Focus all your practice effort on moving those two distances out, even just a little.  When I see people practicing 15 footers, I just shake my head.  You don't make many of them (I think it's around 25%) and you don't three putt much (it's more than zero, but maybe a percent or two).  Meanwhile, if you could become markedly better from 4 feet and lag better from 40 feet (or wherever your problem points are), that will actually show up on your card.  

Also, give yourself a break.  Pros miss shorties and three-putt once in a while as well.  I've seen stats that they three-putt 10% of the time from 40 feet.  Don't beat yourself up.  Say this to yourself over and over:

"I hit a good putt, it just didn't go in"

 

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