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Approach to Improving Putting?

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13 minutes ago, BMart519 said:

Fair enough and we are in agreement with that point on the value of putts per round. When you used 40 putts as the example I was a bit confused. As you could hit 18 GIR and still be giving up 5 strokes at 40 putts/round. That is why I mentioned a rough number unless you hit 10+ GIR, then 35/36 is reasonable. So shooting for 32 putts/round is an easy number instead of something like: Target putts/round = (GIR x 2) + (18 - GIR) x 1.5

You could use that as a target, however unless you know the first putt distance the target doesn't mean much. Theoretically you could have a decent day putting and have 40 putts, in reality it won't happen of course. I used 40 just as an example as someone who would need to practice putting.  If I have 5 hours every week to practice 30 mins may be spent on putting the majority of all the other practice time is going to be spent hitting different type of shots. When you start looking at SG and make rates of the best in the world, putting is very difficult and improvement doesn't hold a candle to improving other areas of the game. 

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You could use that as a target, however unless you know the first putt distance the target doesn't mean much. Theoretically you could have a decent day putting and have 40 putts, in reality it won't happen of course. I used 40 just as an example as someone who would need to practice putting.  If I have 5 hours every week to practice 30 mins may be spent on putting the majority of all the other practice time is going to be spent hitting different type of shots. When you start looking at SG and make rates of the best in the world, putting is very difficult and improvement doesn't hold a candle to improving other areas of the game. 

I agree with you on most of this, but if a player has > 1 three putt per 18 or is missing putts inside of 3 feet their putting could definitely use some improvement.

So if a player knew those numbers you could start making some recommendations.

There really isn’t a blank and white answer to say capture this and we can assess your putting skills.
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6 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

You could use that as a target, however unless you know the first putt distance the target doesn't mean much. Theoretically you could have a decent day putting and have 40 putts, in reality it won't happen of course. I used 40 just as an example as someone who would need to practice putting.  If I have 5 hours every week to practice 30 mins may be spent on putting the majority of all the other practice time is going to be spent hitting different type of shots. When you start looking at SG and make rates of the best in the world, putting is very difficult and improvement doesn't hold a candle to improving other areas of the game. 

Applying SG (from pro data) to your game as scratch or better makes sense, it bakes in some assumptions - namely that you already are a strong putter, ball striker, and short game player. On the flip side, if you only have 1 hour/week to practice or your "practice" is playing on the course you are going to be hard pressed to have a dynamite approach game. You can "save" more shots around the green than someone hitting 10+ greens simply because you have more opportunities to get up and down if you hit 4 greens than the guy who hits 15 greens. This is getting a bit off topic from improving putting, I was hesitant to mention better chipping so you have shorter putts as the same applies to irons and wedges from 100+ out, you always want to hit the ball closer. I agree with you on Strokes Gained, where my view differs is handicap golfers (OP is a 16) often have room to improve putting and short game which can be learnt and maintained easier and in less time than the skills required to consistently hit 10+ GIR per round. 

The average weekend player could probably increase their make rates by 10% or more from most distances if they average over 32 putts per round or 3-putt more than twice, a PGA (or scratch) player doesn't have that room to improve, so getting your drives up to 350 like Bryson is where your biggest gains are 😉. Improving putting can be done at any time of year at home with minimal equipment. You can't reduce your approach proximity with a 7 iron at home unless you have a hitting bay and monitor or maybe one of those TourStriker Planemates everyone is raving about. Keeping your full swing sharp requires a lot more time and equipment than your putting and chipping stroke because it is a more difficult movement and skill.

Adding 10 mph club head speed will probably net you more strokes gained than any amount of putting practice and technically you would never have to touch a club or go to the course. If you don't have some kind of target for putts/GIR, putts/round, 3-putt %, or make rates; you can't track whether your putting has room for improvement or not. Putts/round is flawed just like fairways hit, but it's better than nothing. I think we can also agree if you hit 0 fairways or had 40 putts, you have room to improve no matter how many GIR you hit. 

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30 minutes ago, BMart519 said:

Applying SG (from pro data) to your game as scratch or better makes sense, it bakes in some assumptions - namely that you already are a strong putter, ball striker, and short game player. On the flip side, if you only have 1 hour/week to practice or your "practice" is playing on the course you are going to be hard pressed to have a dynamite approach game. You can "save" more shots around the green than someone hitting 10+ greens simply because you have more opportunities to get up and down if you hit 4 greens than the guy who hits 15 greens. This is getting a bit off topic from improving putting, I was hesitant to mention better chipping so you have shorter putts as the same applies to irons and wedges from 100+ out, you always want to hit the ball closer. I agree with you on Strokes Gained, where my view differs is handicap golfers (OP is a 16) often have room to improve putting and short game which can be learnt and maintained easier and in less time than the skills required to consistently hit 10+ GIR per round. 

The average weekend player could probably increase their make rates by 10% or more from most distances if they average over 32 putts per round or 3-putt more than twice, a PGA (or scratch) player doesn't have that room to improve, so getting your drives up to 350 like Bryson is where your biggest gains are 😉. Improving putting can be done at any time of year at home with minimal equipment. You can't reduce your approach proximity with a 7 iron at home unless you have a hitting bay and monitor or maybe one of those TourStriker Planemates everyone is raving about. Keeping your full swing sharp requires a lot more time and equipment than your putting and chipping stroke because it is a more difficult movement and skill.

Adding 10 mph club head speed will probably net you more strokes gained than any amount of putting practice and technically you would never have to touch a club or go to the course. If you don't have some kind of target for putts/GIR, putts/round, 3-putt %, or make rates; you can't track whether your putting has room for improvement or not. Putts/round is flawed just like fairways hit, but it's better than nothing. I think we can also agree if you hit 0 fairways or had 40 putts, you have room to improve no matter how many GIR you hit. 

SG is for everyone, it is a baseline there are no assumptions built in, which is why it works.

You cannot know where you are going unless you know where you are. 

If you want to improve your putting know what you are looking to improve. Track putt distances, especially first putt. Without that information you are chasing something that may or may not need to be improved. 

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7 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

SG is for everyone, it is a baseline there are no assumptions built in, which is why it works.

You cannot know where you are going unless you know where you are. 

If you want to improve your putting know what you are looking to improve. Track putt distances, especially first putt. Without that information you are chasing something that may or may not need to be improved. 

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 Broadie's book.  In general, Strokes Gained (really Lost) putting are typically something like 25% of the strokes lost overall.  Since an average pro might be a +6 handicap, take your own handicap, add 6, and take 25% of that total.  That's where you would expect to be if you're an average putter for your handicap level.  I'm about a 6 handicap now, so if I take my handicap, add 6, and take 25%, the result is 3.  So when my Strokes Gained (actually Lost) Putting is 3 or less, I've had a good day.  If you keep track over time, you can tell whether your putting is good or bad as compared to the rest of your game.  Then you can decide whether to work on it, or on something else.  Most people love to work on their strengths, and hate working on their weaknesses, but its a lot more productive to do just the opposite.

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My putting has improved quite a bit over the past year.  My method was to break putting down to it's most basic skills and improve those one by one and then in combination.  

 

The skills:  roll the ball, on line, at appropriate speed.  

 

I started working on my base stroke to get a better roll on the ball.  I found a comfortable stroke and set up which I could repeat to put a good roll on the ball.  

 

I then went on to hitting the putt on line.  I putted down a metal ruler at home and concentrated on straight 3 to 5 foot putts on the practice green. (I found that when I moved from indoors to the practice green, my perception would get off.  I tend to line up to the right of the target over time.  I went to using three lines on the ball similar to the triple track ball, aligned to the target.  I got very good at putting down the yardstick, but once the visual cue of the ruler was gone, I would gradually drift my aim to the right.) 

 

I then worked on distance control by doing a lot of different distance drills.  A favorite is to put a club or alignment rod down on the green and putt (flat, uphill and downhill putts) to a tee 17 or so inches in front of the rod.  Putt from different distances and try to get the ball to stop between the tee and the rod (if you don''t hit the tee). 

 

My three putt numbers are way down, in part because I am getting the ball closer on long putts and I am much more confident of my ability to make the four footer if I don't get it close.  

 

One game I used to measure improvement was to play nine holes on the practice green.  Three holes with putts from around 6 feet, three from 10 to 20 feet and three from 20 plus.  Each putt was to a different hole and the distances were randomized--6 foot putt followed by 25 footer, followed by 15 footer, etc.  I kept score and compared results over time.  On a score card I would record overall score, length of first putt, leave distance and direction from the hole.  For example:   total score 2, 20 foot putt uphill R to L, leave 2 feet short right.  Total score 3, 35 foot putt downhill R to L, leave 5 foot long left, leave 2 inches short.  It doesn't take too many "rounds" to figure out tendencies.    

 

Note that I did not include green reading in the mix.  I think it is easier to improve green reading once the mechanical skills improve--I know it's my green reading that was on or off, not my stroke or distance mechanics.  

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I’m going to blindly rely on the arccos handicap (right or wrong) to highlight my own strengths or weaknesses for the time being. I’m a database admin in my day job, and making a data project out of my slap *** putting sounds horrible, to each their own though! 😀

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My golf instructor gave me a really good tip a month or so ago when I was really putting poorly - download a (free) metronome app, set it to 72-77 depending on green speeds and just find your tempo.  Its not exact or scientific which is probably why it resonated with me.  He also told me before each round try the following:  hit 10 putts from 6 feet, 10 from 15 feet, then 10 from 25 and finally 35-40 feet.  For this, I putt to a tee instead of putting to a hole to really narrow my focus.  

Best wishes!

 

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@cnosil @alfriday101 @deauxrite @BMart519 @aerospace_ray

Can I bug those of you who have worked on path?

When I first started working on path, I couldn't get a single ball to roll cleanly through the gate set at 0.5 degrees of error. On day 1, I changed my grip and went back to an older putter, and since then have slowly started to find something. Here's where I ended up today after a few hours of conference calls:

< 1 degree of error: 10/10

< 0.75 degree of error: 7/10

< 0.5 degree of error: 5/10

There is no pattern to the misses, they are 50/50 missing left and right. At 0.5 degrees of error there are no "gross" misses, ie, I'm grazing or just bouncing off the inside of the gate, not slamming into the front of the gate. I have some arc in my stroke, and it feels like the misses are caused by finding the ball just a hair outside of the middle of my putting stroke (where the face is square) but I can't back that with any data. Also, to eliminate variables, there's no "break" in the ruler where I have it set up for practice, ie, if I put the ball in the middle of the gate at 17", it runs off the middle of the ruler at 48". The old putter is a Ping Anser TR 5 (face balanced/straight stroke blade type putter).

Would SAM Putt Lab (or something similar) be worthwhile at this point, or should I just keep running drills and figuring it out to get the most out of that session?

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Grit Golf said:

@cnosil @alfriday101 @deauxrite @BMart519 @aerospace_ray

Can I bug those of you who have worked on path?

When I first started working on path, I couldn't get a single ball to roll cleanly through the gate set at 0.5 degrees of error. On day 1, I changed my grip and went back to an older putter, and since then have slowly started to find something. Here's where I ended up today after a few hours of conference calls:

< 1 degree of error: 10/10

< 0.75 degree of error: 7/10

< 0.5 degree of error: 5/10

 

SAM Puttlab would give you  recommendations faster, but it's not necessary. I average between 70-80% @ 0.5 deg error, you won't consistently be hitting 10/10. 0.5 deg of face control is associated with the skill level of professional players based on averages I read online. Throughout COVID isolation and up to this point I have only successfully got 10 in a row about 40 times (high score 25 in a row) and I try this multiple times on a lot of days. 

A big thing I found was my backstroke was too long, leading to deceleration, a slower stroke, and more time to manipulate the putter. I use a count "1, 2" or key words (similar to the metronome comments above) to help maintain consistent timing. This noticeably increased my success rate, as well as some grip tweaks - I had a predominate pull miss caused by too much right hand rotation. 

Experiment with ball position, move the ball to the big toe on front foot and then center of your stance. See if this gives you a one-sided miss and work from those extremes toward ideal ball position. Tempo and stroke length is more likely the issue with what you describe. 

Edited by BMart519
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40 minutes ago, Grit Golf said:

@cnosil @alfriday101 @deauxrite @BMart519 @aerospace_ray

Can I bug those of you who have worked on path?

When I first started working on path, I couldn't get a single ball to roll cleanly through the gate set at 0.5 degrees of error. On day 1, I changed my grip and went back to an older putter, and since then have slowly started to find something. Here's where I ended up today after a few hours of conference calls:

< 1 degree of error: 10/10

< 0.75 degree of error: 7/10

< 0.5 degree of error: 5/10

There is no pattern to the misses, they are 50/50 missing left and right. At 0.5 degrees of error there are no "gross" misses, ie, I'm grazing or just bouncing off the inside of the gate, not slamming into the front of the gate. I have some arc in my stroke, and it feels like the misses are caused by finding the ball just a hair outside of the middle of my putting stroke (where the face is square) but I can't back that with any data. Also, to eliminate variables, there's no "break" in the ruler where I have it set up for practice, ie, if I put the ball in the middle of the gate at 17", it runs off the middle of the ruler at 48". The old putter is a Ping Anser TR 5 (face balanced/straight stroke blade type putter).

Would SAM Putt Lab (or something similar) be worthwhile at this point, or should I just keep running drills and figuring it out to get the most out of that session?

So that is good information and I can relate. I tried initially to self diagnose and experimented with different putters, bent the lie flatter, loft stronger, etc. Finally, I had SAM putter fitting (several) combined with instruction. My experience below.

So my instructor was adamant I focus on "rocking shoulders" a little more due to being overactive with hands due to very strong strong arc motion. I worked with 36" ruler and putting mirror. I experimented with larger grip/heavier weight to quiet my hands and improve the feel I wanted.

After about 6 months of focusing on putting stroke motion and using larger/back weighted grip my path at impact (measured by SAM) and club face closure numbers improved.

What did I see from that? I gained better consistency on 5, 10 foot putts. Anything longer and I tell people while the improved putting stroke did help, the AIM POINT greens reading was also as much to contribute to long putt successes. The putting gates I used were along my intended putt line before my AIM POINT (location I expect the ball to break from).

I did not use my putting gates with my ruler drill. That was where I wanted to improve club face path going down the line better (idea for me was if I did it correctly I was not overly closing face or opening face at impact since the ball stayed on the ruler till the end. Was not concerned with my arc with this drill as again if I got to impact square then the arc was fine.

My instructor could articulate all of this much better but hopefully it makes a little sense. Bottom line, I got professional instruction, learned to read greens better and only changed grip/weight on my putter and have been happy since.

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1 hour ago, Grit Golf said:

@cnosil @alfriday101 @deauxrite @BMart519 @aerospace_ray

Can I bug those of you who have worked on path?

When I first started working on path, I couldn't get a single ball to roll cleanly through the gate set at 0.5 degrees of error. On day 1, I changed my grip and went back to an older putter, and since then have slowly started to find something. Here's where I ended up today after a few hours of conference calls:

< 1 degree of error: 10/10

< 0.75 degree of error: 7/10

< 0.5 degree of error: 5/10

There is no pattern to the misses, they are 50/50 missing left and right. At 0.5 degrees of error there are no "gross" misses, ie, I'm grazing or just bouncing off the inside of the gate, not slamming into the front of the gate. I have some arc in my stroke, and it feels like the misses are caused by finding the ball just a hair outside of the middle of my putting stroke (where the face is square) but I can't back that with any data. Also, to eliminate variables, there's no "break" in the ruler where I have it set up for practice, ie, if I put the ball in the middle of the gate at 17", it runs off the middle of the ruler at 48". The old putter is a Ping Anser TR 5 (face balanced/straight stroke blade type putter).

Would SAM Putt Lab (or something similar) be worthwhile at this point, or should I just keep running drills and figuring it out to get the most out of that session?

Here are my thoughts:

1.  You have just started,  don't beat yourself up.  Work through choices that help you putt better.  

2. When you are saying no pattern to the misses,  that to me means you are compensating for misses and maybe trying to steer the ball through the gates.  I wouldn't expect gross misses;  we are looking at less than a degree between the various gates.    This is why an 8' putt is the 50% mark for those that play for money on TV.  

3. You asked about path,  but I would say focus on face angle.  In putting, the putters face angle is responsible for about 85% of the balls direction; path is responsible for the other.  Based on the percentages that you posted,   you probably have face angle issues and not path.   You may want to build a putting station to ensure your setup is correct.   Use 2 sleeves of balls that are slightly wider apart that the width of your putter.   You can make them as close or as far apart as you want to control margin of error.  Put the ball in the middle and putt the ball down the ruler or through the gates.  If the putter doesn't hit the sleeves,  your path is ok.  Put some marks to show foot and ball position to ensure consistent setup.   

4.  You can do some experimentation on what works best for you.  Try a shoulder driven stroke,  a right arm powered stroke,  left arm powered stroke,   or arms with little shoulders.   Maybe try left hand low, claw, etc.  

5.  SAM is a great tool to understand what is going on but working on putting through the gates will probably be just as effective. 

Keep practicing and your numbers will get better.   Once you become more consistent with the gates,  you green reading should start to improve since you will be more consistent in starting your ball on your intended line.  

 

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1 hour ago, cnosil said:

3. You asked about path,  but I would say focus on face angle.  In putting, the putters face angle is responsible for about 85% of the balls direction; path is responsible for the other.  Based on the percentages that you posted,   you probably have face angle issues and not path.   

⬆️ This!

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I said path but meant face angle. Thanks for the tips!

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On 7/8/2020 at 7:23 PM, Grit Golf said:

I’m going to blindly rely on the arccos handicap (right or wrong) to highlight my own strengths or weaknesses for the time being. I’m a database admin in my day job, and making a data project out of my slap *** putting sounds horrible, to each their own though! 😀

The Arccos facet handicaps are great for telling you what to work on. People tend to get hung up on the accuracy of the numbers, but directionally, they're good. I was a dev for a long time and still hobby code, and I tried a couple DIY methods to collect stats. 

I do wish Arccos would give us an SG breakdown by distance. I'd love to know if I'm consistent, or if I'm demonstrably worse at a point. 

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Driver - :cobra-small: F8 - Aldila NV Blue 60 ( S )
3 Wood (16*) - :cobra-small: F8 - Aldila NV Blue 60 ( S )
2 Iron - :mizuno-small: FliHi (18*) - Recoil 760 ( S )
4i - GW - :wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged - Recoil 760 ( S )
SW - LW - :cobra-small: F8 - N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour105 ( S )
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The Arccos facet handicaps are great for telling you what to work on. People tend to get hung up on the accuracy of the numbers, but directionally, they're good. I was a dev for a long time and still hobby code, and I tried a couple DIY methods to collect stats. 
I do wish Arccos would give us an SG breakdown by distance. I'd love to know if I'm consistent, or if I'm demonstrably worse at a point. 

Good points. I would assume that it takes putt distance into consideration but for long term improvement it is beneficial to see actual numbers. For example if you may struggle from. 20-30 feet but if you only have putts shorter or longer and you get a good SG number you wouldn’t know that you need to work on that range of putts.
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Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* with UST Proforce V2
Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15* set  to 16.5* w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 816H1 19* set at 18* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  21*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
               :titelist-small: 915H 24*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
Irons:      :srixon-small: 765 6-AW with KBS Tour shafts
Wedge:  :cleveland-small: 588 54-14, 58-12
Putter:  :odyssey-small: Ten S      Backups:  :bobby-grace-1: 6330,   :EVNROLL: ER2.2,  

 

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Have any of y'all used the Smartline ball marker? I struggle putting with a line on the ball, unless I align it perfectly, it worsens my miss, but something like this interests me. 

Typically, I'm a big visualizer, I find where the apex of the putt is and choose my start line to get it to roll through the apex. I'm not saying my start line is aimed at the apex but I choose my start line to get my ball to roll through the apex of the curve. Like I said, I don't use the line on ball but I pick a spot in front of the ball as my aim point.

Screen Shot 2020-07-10 at 9.19.08 AM.png

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 :taylormade-small: M6 12* Oban Kiyoshi Purple 65g stiff

:titelist-small: TS2 16.5* HL Oban Kiyoshi Purple 75g stiff

:ping-small:  G410 Hybrid 19* Tour stiff 

:ping-small: G20 CFS stiff 4-GW

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31 minutes ago, TBS said:

Have any of y'all used the Smartline ball marker?

 

I am very curious about this, and might have missed it.  Are the white lines based on a certain degree of slope? 

If it does, this seems like an interesting product that could be used alongside the aimpoint method.

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Have any of y'all used the Smartline ball marker? I struggle putting with a line on the ball, unless I align it perfectly, it worsens my miss, but something like this interests me. 
Typically, I'm a big visualizer, I find where the apex of the putt is and choose my start line to get it to roll through the apex. I'm not saying my start line is aimed at the apex but I choose my start line to get my ball to roll through the apex of the curve. Like I said, I don't use the line on ball but I pick a spot in front of the ball as my aim point.
711323943_ScreenShot2020-07-10at9_19_08AM.png.8f9fc14df0664855d5584fa0f2677b20.png

I am very curious about this, and might have missed it.  Are the white lines based on a certain degree of slope? 
If it does, this seems like an interesting product that could be used alongside the aimpoint method.

I have one and use it occasionally. I like it and as you are setup properly to elimate parallax error then it is great

Yes, the lines are based on slope.
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Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* with UST Proforce V2
Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15* set  to 16.5* w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 816H1 19* set at 18* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  21*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
               :titelist-small: 915H 24*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
Irons:      :srixon-small: 765 6-AW with KBS Tour shafts
Wedge:  :cleveland-small: 588 54-14, 58-12
Putter:  :odyssey-small: Ten S      Backups:  :bobby-grace-1: 6330,   :EVNROLL: ER2.2,  

 

Member:  MGS Hitsquad since 2017697979773_DSCN2368(Custom).JPG.a1a25f5e430d9eebae93c5d652cbd4b9.JPG

 

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On a practice green, I like to setup the gate drill with my putter to hit 5-10 foot putts to gain some confidence.  At home I use a boomerang putting aid along with an eyeline mirror to ensure proper alignment of the putter head.  With putting its all about just getting time in to practice, so just make sure you are hitting putts. 

Most of my friends always run straight to the range to hit hundreds of balls and couldn't find the practice green if you asked.  Find any type of training aid / method of practice that keeps you engaged and looking forward to practicing your putts.  

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