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Approach to Improving Putting?

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13 hours ago, cnosil said:


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.

It definitely takes putt distance into consideration for SG/Putting handicap.  I'd love to see SG/handicap by distance so I could see if I'm objectively worse at some point.

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On 7/9/2020 at 1:20 PM, cnosil said:

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.  

 

This is great advice.  When I was in the middle of my 10,000 putts last winter I was having similar issues.  I found that trying to reduce the number of variables (work on one change at a time) was very helpful.  In particular the shortening of the back stroke was instrumental in getting face angle under better control.  As cnosil said..you have just started and not beating yourself up is very important.  If you keep at it you will see improvement..it is slower than you expect, but it will happen.

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Does anyone use one putter strictly for practice / working on these fundamental techniques, and another more premium putter for your game?

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For anyone following along, I used arccos to determine my putting sucked. A few sages in the community schooled me on the value of face control and starting the ball on the right line as one skill to work on.

Before starting, my arccos putting handicap was 25.7.

After working on it for about a week (with some pro help along the way) this is what I posted:

96EE11C2-F3D5-4F30-BCFC-8CE29710FB19.jpeg.7711eca7c9a912d12562a71c598b8da0.jpeg
 

That’s pretty encouraging! I got more than my fair share to drop today, and need to keep working on it, but to be perfectly clear, starting the ball on the line is a specific skill and if you’ve never actually focused on that specific skill, you are almost certainly leaving strokes on the table. I DEFINITELY was. This is the best round of my life and this is the easiest way I’ve ever hacked strokes off my game by a very large margin!

Now, where’s that coupon code for ExPutt?!

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On 7/12/2020 at 8:13 AM, wesmith4 said:

Does anyone use one putter strictly for practice / working on these fundamental techniques, and another more premium putter for your game?

I do but simply because I'm lazy! 😄 I leave my gamer putter in my bag, which is usually in my car, and have two others (which are, say, backup gamers and not inferior putters) in the basement where I have the practice mat.


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At the end of last year I set as a goal to improve my golf game and lower my handicap from an 8 to a 5. 

Even though I was a good putter I started there because it represents about 40% or more of my strokes per round.

I got a copy of Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible, I set up an indoor practice area complete with putting mat, putting mirror and gates, Putt Out trainer and started going through the drills in the book.  It has made a difference.

I got my GHIN briefly to 5.5. Now at 6.6

I’ve also started on Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible.  Making changes to my bag set up, dropping some clubs, adding a wedge.  Will focus on the under 100 yard shots for the next few months.

Also tweaking my driver with a heavier, shorter and slightly stiffer shaft to gain some accuracy and better center contact.

These three areas comprise the bulk of my shots on the course and that is why I’m focusing on them for the quickest gains.

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The 2 ft long 2 in wide ruler has helped me immensely: start line has always been my issue. I forgot who mentioned it 1st in this thread but I went straight to Home Depot after work that day and picked one up, put it on my skilz mat and started practicing. It was much harder than I anticipated, and that was my 1st indication that I wasn’t as solid of a putter as I like to think I am! Great training aid!

 

 

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On 7/17/2020 at 10:57 PM, Hoyoymac said:

At the end of last year I set as a goal to improve my golf game and lower my handicap from an 8 to a 5. 

Even though I was a good putter I started there because it represents about 40% or more of my strokes per round.

I'll never suggest that putting isn't an important part of the game, but this statistic overestimates its importance.  As a 6 handicap, you probably average about 80, and 32 putts (40%) is a pretty realistic number.  But in 18 holes, how many of those putts are 3 feet or less, maybe 12 or so?  If you're a good putter, you make just about all of those, so you can't improve them.  So that leaves 20 putts, or 25% of your total score.  How many of those are between 15 and 25 feet, in the range where you will almost never 3-putt, but almost never will sink it?  Your percentages won't change appreciably there either.  The places you can improve putting substantially are those where 3-putt avoidance can happen (25 or 30 feet and out), and 1-putt performance can improve, usually 3 to 12 feet or so, and that may be only 5 to 10 opportunities per round.  Again, I'm not saying don't work on putting, I'm saying that there's a very finite limit to how many strokes you can save by improving your putting.  And I'm talking about the  "generic you", not about @Hoyoymac specifically.

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I'll never suggest that putting isn't an important part of the game, but this statistic overestimates its importance.  As a 6 handicap, you probably average about 80, and 32 putts (40%) is a pretty realistic number.  But in 18 holes, how many of those putts are 3 feet or less, maybe 12 or so?  If you're a good putter, you make just about all of those, so you can't improve them.  So that leaves 20 putts, or 25% of your total score.  How many of those are between 15 and 25 feet, in the range where you will almost never 3-putt, but almost never will sink it?  Your percentages won't change appreciably there either.  The places you can improve putting substantially are those where 3-putt avoidance can happen (25 or 30 feet and out), and 1-putt performance can improve, usually 3 to 12 feet or so, and that may be only 5 to 10 opportunities per round.  Again, I'm not saying don't work on putting, I'm saying that there's a very finite limit to how many strokes you can save by improving your putting.  And I'm talking about the  "generic you", not about [mention=81740]Hoyoymac[/mention] specifically.

Agreed: it’s amazing how hitting more greens and hitting closer to the flag makes you a better putter.


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Biggest help for me.....Unconscious Putting by Dave Stockton.  Really helped my "paralysis by analysis" problem when it comes to putting.

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Speaking of paralysis by analysis, here is one thing that helped me to find a more natural, comfortable stroke.  I got the idea from Fred Shoemaker's "Extraordinary Putting."

 

I have the Puttout mat and Pressure Putt Trainer.  I put the fold down part on the pressure trainer up so it fills the hole in the trainer.  Any putt that hits the trainer rolls back down the mat.  Starting about two feet from the trainer, I would roll putts into the trainer.  When they would roll back, I would putt them before they stopped rolling.  I made it a game to see how many I times I could repeat before missing the hole.  I didn't have time to think at all, just react to the ball coming toward me down the mat.  It didn't take long to find a freer flowing motion and a more comfortable stance.  

 

 

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On 7/4/2020 at 7:13 PM, 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?

2x11 Pro Putt practice mat.  60" ruler, 2" wide.  It's a $15 face angle monitor which provides instant feedback.

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On 7/21/2020 at 1:05 PM, DaveP043 said:

The places you can improve putting substantially are those where 3-putt avoidance can happen (25 or 30 feet and out), and 1-putt performance can improve, usually 3 to 12 feet or so, and that may be only 5 to 10 opportunities per round.

Totally agree! I've been working a lot on the second part - ie. try to increase my % of makes in that 3-12 range; for the long lag putts I'm hoping the ExPutt can help me with that.

(..shameless plug...) Follow the ExPutt testers as they each explore the product's features and try to answer the big question: Will it really help improve my putting?

https://forum.mygolfspy.com/topic/39526-2020-official-member-review-exputt-putting-simulator/page/1/#comments

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..Callaway Big Bertha 4H (Recoil ZTR) and/or Callaway XR 4H (Project X SD)
..PXG 0211 6i-GW (Mitsubishi MMT) 
..Cleveland CBX2 54 (Rotex graphite) and Callaway X-Jaws 60 (TT-DG S300)
..Evnroll ER5 (33", 385g)
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On 7/8/2020 at 1:20 PM, BMart519 said:

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

I was just thinking about this.  I recently decided to keep my SG putting stats because it's the primary place where I can compare myself to tour pros on an apples to apples basis.  Tee to green, the comparison is apples to go carts.

I record my start distance on the green -- length of first putt -- and number of putts it takes me to get down.

After a half dozen rounds, I'm losing 0.15 strokes per round to tour pros on the green.  Virtually the entire difference between me and the tour pro is tee to green.  Distance (i.e. clubhead speed) and chipping/sand play are the main culprits.

So while I work on putting, I am not stressed about it.  Even if I started putting poorly, I can't imagine it costing me more than 2-3 shots a round vs. the pros.  

That said, I've played with some terrible putters who are easily dumping 6-7 shots a round on the green.  These players should definitely invest in putting better (lessons, analysis, practice, equipment upgrade).

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Just now, CougarRed said:

I was just thinking about this.  I recently decided to keep my SG putting stats because it's the primary place where I can compare myself to tour pros on an apples to apples basis.  Tee to green, the comparison is apples to go carts.

I record my start distance on the green -- length of first putt -- and number of putts it takes me to get down.

After a half dozen rounds, I'm losing 0.15 strokes per round to tour pros on the green.  Virtually the entire difference between me and the tour pro is tee to green.  Distance (i.e. clubhead speed) and chipping/sand play are the main culprits.

So while I work on putting, I am not stressed about it.  Even if I started putting poorly, I can't imagine it costing me more than 2-3 shots a round vs. the pros.  

That said, I've played with some terrible putters who are easily dumping 6-7 shots a round on the green.  These players should definitely invest in putting better (lessons, analysis, practice, equipment upgrade).

This makes great sense to me.  I've read that the "typical" difference between handicap levels attributable to putting is about 20% of the total.  If you look at a pro as being a +6, and you're a 7, there is about a 13 stroke difference, so putting would be about 2 or 3 strokes.  As you say, you're close to pro level only losing 0.15 per round, you're well better than the norm for your handicap level, so the place you can improve the most is something other than putting.

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Putting is one area of the game that amateurs can equal a pros performance. We should strive to never miss inside if 3 feet, maximize opportunities between 3 and 15 feet, and never be outside a 6 foot diameter circle for anything outside of that. If you can accomplish those things you WILL gain strokes

I’ve seen this video a couple of times but shows that being short of the hole isn’t bad, even pros don’t really state facts, and they gain and lose stroke putting.

When comparing SG numbers, the farther you are from the hole the “easier” it is to gain strokes. From 1” no one will likely ever gain anything. From 10’ you might gain a small amount. If
You are 450 yards away and can out drive you opponent by 100 yards the SG potential is huge.

Basically, you can’t neglect any area of you game, but you can easily lose strokes on the green with poor putting. I would suggest forgetting about SG for putting and working on speed control and startline to ensure you do no worse than 2 putt on any green.

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19 minutes ago, cnosil said:

Basically, you can’t neglect any area of you game, but you can easily lose strokes on the green with poor putting. I would suggest forgetting about SG for putting and working on speed control and startline to ensure you do no worse than 2 putt on any green.

To me, looking at Strokes Gained, in general, is valuable in determining where the weakest parts of your game are.  The difficulty is that keeping enough data to get good SG numbers from tee to green is pretty onerous, without something like Arcos or other shot-tracking system.  SG putting is relatively easy to get, all you need is to pace off the distance to the hole for your first putt, and record the number of putts.  Average SG (Strokes Lost for most of us) putting over a moderate number of rounds, and compare it to (Handicap +6) x 0.2.  If you're losing a lot more than that number, putting is a relative weakness.  If you're under that number, your putting is good for your relative skill level, you should spend most of your time working on something else..

So I wouldn't tell someone to forget SG putting, just that SG putting doesn't tell the entire story.  As you say, to improve putting a player should work on the physical aspects, speed control and startline.  Once that is moderately controlled, a player can refine green reading skills.

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To me, looking at Strokes Gained, in general, is valuable in determining where the weakest parts of your game are.  The difficulty is that keeping enough data to get good SG numbers from tee to green is pretty onerous, without something like Arcos or other shot-tracking system.  SG putting is relatively easy to get, all you need is to pace off the distance to the hole for your first putt, and record the number of putts.  Average SG (Strokes Lost for most of us) putting over a moderate number of rounds, and compare it to (Handicap +6) x 0.2.  If you're losing a lot more than that number, putting is a relative weakness.  If you're under that number, your putting is good for your relative skill level, you should spend most of your time working on something else..

So I wouldn't tell someone to forget SG putting, just that SG putting doesn't tell the entire story.  As you say, to improve putting a player should work on the physical aspects, speed control and startline.  Once that is moderately controlled, a player can refine green reading skills.

You are correct, calculating it for putting Isn’t that difficult and my saying to forget about it was probably too extreme. What it does provide is realism to the data. To many people think they should make all their 10’ putts and claim they are terrible putters.

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On 7/4/2020 at 7:13 PM, 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?

Aids and practice worked for me. The most important thing to practice IMO is distance control. If you're constantly 3-jacking then it's probably because your first putt (from whatever distance it was) simply was not close enough - you either run it by with too much pace or leave it 5' short. For some, that might require a focus on technique and perhaps a change in putter, but pretty much anyone can improve distance control regardless of equipment or current skill set.

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4 hours ago, cksurfdude said:

Totally agree! I've been working a lot on the second part - ie. try to increase my % of makes in that 3-12 range; for the long lag putts I'm hoping the ExPutt can help me with that.

(..shameless plug...) Follow the ExPutt testers as they each explore the product's features and try to answer the big question: Will it really help improve my putting?

https://forum.mygolfspy.com/topic/39526-2020-official-member-review-exputt-putting-simulator/page/1/#comments

Admittedly, I do not know all of the features of the ExPutt. But, I don't think indoor practice will help much with lag putting other than face angle control and working on a consistent contact point on the putter face. I putt 25' down the hallway carpet (probably plays around 40'+ due to the speed) to various targets and practice the ladder drill, but the golf ball launches different on carpet versus grass. 

The impact of grain, uphill/downhill, and break on long putts requires practice and calibration on the green. Not to mention visually seeing the putt versus rolling the ball straight towards a monitor a few feet in front of you. A virtual ladder drill should help distance control, but again, limited application to the real world. 

Best use of indoor time at home is start line - both face angle and aim. 

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