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“Heads Up” Putting?


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23 minutes ago, RoverRick said:

Why not focus on the flagstick itself?

Because I like to focus on a very specific and very small target (much smaller than the flagstick itself). If not something within the cup, then a blade of grass on the back edge of the cup usually works. Unless the flagstick is marked up with some sort of dirt, scratches, grass clippings, etc. there typically is nothing specific enough for me to aim at. Believe me, I've tried. The flagstick itself is simply not a small enough target for me to feel confident over the putt every time.

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Some interesting takes on the whole process in here. For me it's still just a practice only thing - feel it really helps me train for distance control - but otoh I feel like I've grounded the putter head a few times, so not .. yet? .. having the confidence with it to take it to the course. Maybe after some more practice time...

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7 minutes ago, cksurfdude said:

Some interesting takes on the whole process in here. For me it's still just a practice only thing - feel it really helps me train for distance control - but otoh I feel like I've grounded the putter head a few times, so not .. yet? .. having the confidence with it to take it to the course. Maybe after some more practice time...

I can't remember the last time I hit the ground with my putter when making a stroke.  Maybe because I'm old, I just forgot.

You have to make a consistent stroke with a putter that fits you.  If you don't grip the putter in the same place or your elbows have too much bend, then variability creeps in when trying to deliver the putter head on the ball.  It's nearly impossible IMO to be consistent when the amount of elbow bend can vary depending on how you feel that day, that hole, or that stroke; as well as how much you bend at the waist during setup.

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20 minutes ago, Kenny B said:

You have to make a consistent stroke with a putter that fits you.  If you don't grip the putter in the same place or your elbows have too much bend, then variability creeps in when trying to deliver the putter head on the ball.  It's nearly impossible IMO to be consistent when the amount of elbow bend can vary depending on how you feel that day, that hole, or that stroke; as well as how much you bend at the waist during setup.

The counter to this is that all lies on the putting green aren’t level so there has to be some variation.  I change where I grip the putter to keep the body setup the same.  I find that if I hit behind the ball it is on longer putts when I try to put a little more effort into the stroke and don’t rely on the normal tempo. 

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44 minutes ago, cksurfdude said:

Some interesting takes on the whole process in here. For me it's still just a practice only thing - feel it really helps me train for distance control - but otoh I feel like I've grounded the putter head a few times, so not .. yet? .. having the confidence with it to take it to the course. Maybe after some more practice time...

Everyone is different.  I just went to the course and did it after rolling some practice putts before the round.   From all the reading, it helps with distance control because you see the distance as you are making the stroke; when you put you head back down, you begin to lose the vision of that distance.  

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1 hour ago, cnosil said:

From all the reading, it helps with distance control because you see the distance as you are making the stroke; when you put you head back down, you begin to lose the vision of that distance.

In that Sasho Mackenzie paper he terms it "decay of the distance cue" (eg. you lose the "picture" of your target).

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Put my older, much lighter putter into play last night and fully committed to aligning and focusing on an aim point roughly 6" in front of the ball. First hole, drain 35 footer for birdie off the fringe. Made another 10 footer for birdie and don't recall missing anything inside 6' (of which there were many to convert 2 putts). 2x 3 putts that were caused by not adjusting enough due to upslope and downslope. Finished 4-5 putts better than my average from the past month with similar number of greens hit and proximity. 

The EVNROLL earned itself a timeout, maybe some time on the bench will get it acting right. In the meantime I booked an Edel fitting 🤪 as I see they go down to the 340-345g range and I am starting to buy into their thoery on aiming the putter. 

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8 hours ago, cnosil said:

Everyone is different.  I just went to the course and did it after rolling some practice putts before the round.   From all the reading, it helps with distance control because you see the distance as you are making the stroke; when you put you head back down, you begin to lose the vision of that distance.  

THAT is exactly why I couldn't putt before I started putting Heads Up!  Apparently my brain can't retain that information when I look at the ball.  When I looked at the ball and made the stroke, I nearly always left the putt short; sometimes waaay short.

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8 hours ago, cnosil said:

The counter to this is that all lies on the putting green aren’t level so there has to be some variation.  I change where I grip the putter to keep the body setup the same.  I find that if I hit behind the ball it is on longer putts when I try to put a little more effort into the stroke and don’t rely on the normal tempo. 

True, but I don't find the variation significant enough to affect my putting setup; but maybe the greens I play on don't have the severe slopes of others.

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I decided to try this tonight.  First hole about 15' uphill and a little left to right break....made sure the putter was lined up....looked a the hole.....DRAINO...birdie on the first try!   I didn't make any more in the 6 holes I got to play but the distance control I had on all the other putts felt great!  I think the first experiment was successful enough to keep at it.

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Went through the Decade putting combine on the practice green this weekend using my EVNROLL and old putter. The ER2.2 won by 2 strokes so it came off timeout and helped me shoot a 40 with 17 putts for 9 holes with no 3 putts. 

Along with my Edel fitting, I continue to use a modified version of "Heads Up" by looking 4-12" ahead of the ball at an intermediate target while I putt. Which is more aligned with the advice from Dave Stockton's books of putting over a spot on your line 2" in front of the ball. 

I would only consider looking around the hole within 20' in the future but further testing may have to wait until next year as we just had 2 consecutive days of snow here. I'll be lucky to get back out on the course. 

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I have been heads up putting for the last few months and this past week was the first real hiccups I have had with it. I am now missing 4-6 footers frequently and I think it has to do with me starting to setup open due to looking at the hole. I have only had a couple of bad rounds putting but this last round I must have had 9 putts from 4-10 ft and I didn't make a single one of them. VERY CONCERNING. So concerning that I went to a local golf shop and messed around with an armlock putter for about 45 minutes. Thankfully the armlock putter did not blow me away.

I think what is happening is that I have gradually gotten more handsy with my stroke and need to start working with a chalk line again to make sure I am starting the ball on line with a square face. I think feeling the stroke more in my shoulders should help. I still believe in heads up mainly due to how helpful it is for speed. 

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I had a few bad days with shorter putts a little while ago as well. I eventually found that my set up was getting a bit inconsistent—mainly my eye line was getting off for some reason which caused me to miss shorter puts to the right. I have spent some time putting along the top of a meter stick and it really helped iron out my issue. I think grooving a good setup is really key. 
 

Stick with it!

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So, on this topic, I determined that I was leaving the face open through impact, aka not releasing the putter head (thanks to my blast golf). So, I have been working on releasing the putter head quite a bit the last few nights and now I am starting to stare at my stroke again. The issue is when I go back to heads up I can't really feel the release of the putter head like I want to so I have a crutch now where I have to stare at the putter head going through the ball. 

I guess I am trying to figure out if I should keep practicing with the heads up method and try to feel the putter head releasing or if I go back to looking at the ball to make sure I keep my stroke fairly square at impact. I am not sure if this just crept into my putting stroke organically (leaving the face open) or if this is a result of the heads up putting. As I typically have a lot of 20-30 footers during my rounds, speed control still feels very important so maybe I am going to a hybrid approach where I am heads up from 15+ feet and looking at the ball for 15 feet and in? I'm a bit lost here, I have to admit. 

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8 minutes ago, vandyland said:

So, on this topic, I determined that I was leaving the face open through impact, aka not releasing the putter head (thanks to my blast golf). So, I have been working on releasing the putter head quite a bit the last few nights and now I am starting to stare at my stroke again. The issue is when I go back to heads up I can't really feel the release of the putter head like I want to so I have a crutch now where I have to stare at the putter head going through the ball. 

I guess I am trying to figure out if I should keep practicing with the heads up method and try to feel the putter head releasing or if I go back to looking at the ball to make sure I keep my stroke fairly square at impact. I am not sure if this just crept into my putting stroke organically (leaving the face open) or if this is a result of the heads up putting. As I typically have a lot of 20-30 footers during my rounds, speed control still feels very important so maybe I am going to a hybrid approach where I am heads up from 15+ feet and looking at the ball for 15 feet and in? I'm a bit lost here, I have to admit. 

Why do you want to do heads up putting?   Based on what you are saying it may not be the best strategy for you.  

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My experience with this is over, it was short, it was ugly and now it's over. I don't make a lot of putts but I very rarely 3 jack. Conventional putting I am right around -1.5 vs Tour pro. The last round of heads up putting I was -5.67. Just couldn't get the feel or commitment down with heads up. I think in 3 rounds I only 3 putted once so speed control was there but I am not sure I made any putts!

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17 hours ago, cnosil said:

Why do you want to do heads up putting?   Based on what you are saying it may not be the best strategy for you.

I started doing heads up putting a few months ago because my distance control was horrible. I was getting set over the ball after rehearsing and looking at the hole and once I looked at the ball it was like I had no idea where the hole was. Like my mind instantly erased all the data it had been gathering beforehand. Heads up seemed to help with that for a month or two. Amazing results the first few rounds and then gradually falling off and now we are back where I started...sucking. 

Putting, on a round by round basis, historically, is a roll of the dice for me. I hit a decent number of greens (median GIR over the last 10 rounds is 13) but that typically means I have a lot of 20-40 foot putts. My putting does not TRAVEL like the rest of my game. I have to say that when I watch tour players 2 putt from 70 feet fairly regularly, it is the most impressive thing to me. It is like witchcraft. 

I am rambling here but putting is really just the thing in golf I cannot get close to figuring out. I have an instructor that I take from and he has done wonders (WONDERS I SAY) for my swing but my putting is still all over the place a year later. I'm searching, @cnosil , and whenever I think I have something it's gone in a few weeks. I know some of that is just how golf is but putting seems, on the surface, like it should be so easy. I have been grinding on the putting mat for like the last four nights with my blast motion sensor trying all different types of grips, setups, etc and I can't find anything that gives me a consistent stroke. 

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6 minutes ago, vandyland said:

I started doing heads up putting a few months ago because my distance control was horrible. I was getting set over the ball after rehearsing and looking at the hole and once I looked at the ball it was like I had no idea where the hole was. Like my mind instantly erased all the data it had been gathering beforehand. Heads up seemed to help with that for a month or two. Amazing results the first few rounds and then gradually falling off and now we are back where I started...sucking. 

Putting, on a round by round basis, historically, is a roll of the dice for me. I hit a decent number of greens (median GIR over the last 10 rounds is 13) but that typically means I have a lot of 20-40 foot putts. My putting does not TRAVEL like the rest of my game. I have to say that when I watch tour players 2 putt from 70 feet fairly regularly, it is the most impressive thing to me. It is like witchcraft. 

I am rambling here but putting is really just the thing in golf I cannot get close to figuring out. I have an instructor that I take from and he has done wonders (WONDERS I SAY) for my swing but my putting is still all over the place a year later. I'm searching, @cnosil , and whenever I think I have something it's gone in a few weeks. I know some of that is just how golf is but putting seems, on the surface, like it should be so easy. I have been grinding on the putting mat for like the last four nights with my blast motion sensor trying all different types of grips, setups, etc and I can't find anything that gives me a consistent stroke. 

So averaging 13 greens in regulation is an amazing stat.  I do think you need to manage you expectations on putting. PGA pros 3 putt 29% of the time from 70 feet. What you see on TV isn’t a good indication of overall performance.  
https://golf.com/instruction/putting/fascinating-chart-shows-how-likely-3-putt/

In your post, you have indicated that you have a distance problem and then said you have a stroke problem.  Don’t know how far your approaches are from but 20-40’ first putts isn’t a bad number.  Questions:

  • how do you control distance?  Stroke length, putter speed with same stroke,  or just feel?  
  • How do you practice distance control?  
  • when you are working on your stroke with the blast motion, what numbers are you chasing? It seems like you are chasing some “consistent” values based on your comment. 
  • How are you evaluating your putting performance?  What makes you say it is bad?  What is your make percentage inside 3’?  Where does your make percentage fall to 50/50?  What is your putt dispersion from 20 feet?  How far left and right do you miss a straight 20 foot putt?  

 

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46 minutes ago, cnosil said:

In your post, you have indicated that you have a distance problem and then said you have a stroke problem.  Don’t know how far your approaches are from but 20-40’ first putts isn’t a bad number.  Questions:

  • how do you control distance?  Stroke length, putter speed with same stroke,  or just feel?  
  • How do you practice distance control?  
  • when you are working on your stroke with the blast motion, what numbers are you chasing? It seems like you are chasing some “consistent” values based on your comment. 
  • How are you evaluating your putting performance?  What makes you say it is bad?  What is your make percentage inside 3’?  Where does your make percentage fall to 50/50?  What is your putt dispersion from 20 feet?  How far left and right do you miss a straight 20 foot putt?  

As always, thank you for your questions and interest! I know it is hard to care/empathize with someone's game so thank you!

- Try to control distance based on feel. Putter speed is the same but longer back stroke for longer putts. That said, I will take suggestions as I have no real control there.

- I practice putting from 40 ft at the end of putting practice and try to get down in 2 on 4 out of 5 balls or I have to do it again (and again) and I putt to different holes for each ball. Of course, the rub there is that I have been putting for 30 minutes at that point so I know the speed of the green. Does not transfer on to the golf course sadly.

- I am chasing the ratio of back stroke speed to thru stroke speed (should be 2:1) and face angle at impact (shooting for a range of -0.3 to 0.3 but I am currently ranging from -0.9 - 1.4. Ideally I am really chasing face angle because that is going to be the difference in making a straight 8 footer or not. 

- I do a "round analysis" on every round I play. The distance of each hole (based on GPS), fairway hit/missed (if missed is it left or right of landing zone), tee shot distance, distance in for approach (also if it is "blocked or not"), GIR hit/missed (left, right, short or long), first putt distance from hole, total putts on each hole. Last round had 12 GIR with an average distance of 29 ft on GIR. I three putted from 17 feet, 50 feet and 39 feet. I also missed a 4 foot birdie putt and two 3 footers for par. NOT GREAT! My make percentage inside 3 feet the last 10 rounds is 75%. My make percentage for 50/50 falls around 5 feet or so. I don't know my putt dispersion (I like that!). Also, I play fairly flat, benign greens so it is not like I am getting a bunch of 5 foot downhill sliders. These are typically right or left edge putts. 

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4 minutes ago, vandyland said:

As always, thank you for your questions and interest! I know it is hard to care/empathize with someone's game so thank you!

- Try to control distance based on feel. Putter speed is the same but longer back stroke for longer putts. That said, I will take suggestions as I have no real control there.

- I practice putting from 40 ft at the end of putting practice and try to get down in 2 on 4 out of 5 balls or I have to do it again (and again) and I putt to different holes for each ball. Of course, the rub there is that I have been putting for 30 minutes at that point so I know the speed of the green. Does not transfer on to the golf course sadly.

- I am chasing the ratio of back stroke speed to thru stroke speed (should be 2:1) and face angle at impact (shooting for a range of -0.3 to 0.3 but I am currently ranging from -0.9 - 1.4. Ideally I am really chasing face angle because that is going to be the difference in making a straight 8 footer or not. 

- I do a "round analysis" on every round I play. The distance of each hole (based on GPS), fairway hit/missed (if missed is it left or right of landing zone), tee shot distance, distance in for approach (also if it is "blocked or not"), GIR hit/missed (left, right, short or long), first putt distance from hole, total putts on each hole. Last round had 12 GIR with an average distance of 29 ft on GIR. I three putted from 17 feet, 50 feet and 39 feet. I also missed a 4 foot birdie putt and two 3 footers for par. NOT GREAT! My make percentage inside 3 feet the last 10 rounds is 75%. My make percentage for 50/50 falls around 5 feet or so. I don't know my putt dispersion (I like that!). Also, I play fairly flat, benign greens so it is not like I am getting a bunch of 5 foot downhill sliders. These are typically right or left edge putts. 

I like to talk and learn as much as I can about putting and putters.   

 

-  You say you try to feel different stroke lengths with the same putter speed.  I'll assume you mean tempo and not speed since you refer to the 2:1 ratio.  Putter should move faster in longer strokes to have the same tempo and timing.  

- I might work in more than one distance into your practice.  Maybe drop balls into the center of a practice green and putt to the edges since that would be different distances and different slopes.   Goal is to learn the stroke that will hit the ball X distance on that speed green.  When you travel,  you see how for the ball goes when you make your 10 foot stroke and make adjustments.   Just like you make adjustments for wind on full swing shots.  

- I personally wouldn't worry about your tempo as much as face control since you really seem to struggle there and it is the primary reason you miss short putts.  You should be 99% or better inside of 3'.   Controlling face will also help you as you move out to 10 feet.  At 5 feet,  your face angle can be up to  2* open or closed and still make the putt so if you are missing that many putts you have a huge issue in your stroke.   Seems like something deeper than just the putting stroke. 

- I mention dispersion because everyone talks about never being short of the hole,  but just like with our irons we have a dispersion pattern.   If you can be within 3 feet long and 3 feet short with your first putt then you can almost guarantee a 2 putt.   If you missed everything long then you would probably be facing a bunch of 4-6' comeback putts that have a higher miss rate.  

Here are a couple of videos that talk about dispersion and putting:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxHPmAYVpec   go to the 50 minute mark in this one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xlk70PFwyJI

 

The question is how are you working on face control?  Gates, ruler, some thing else?  You definitely have a 2 way miss so I am guessing you are getting to the point of trying to fix/adjust the stroke when you miss to one side.  Since you have blast,  try something.    roll 5 putts with your eyes closed for each putt. setup with your eyes open but  I want to know what happens if you don't look at the results  on blast;  also stop the ball after a couple of feet.   After the 5 putts,  what is the face angle? 

 

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Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* w/ KBS Tour Driven
Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15* set  to 16.5* w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
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