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“Heads Up” Putting?


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Face angle: this is also related to how you aim the putter (and slightly to path). If you deliver the face angle at 0 but aim 1 degree left or right, you won't hit the ball to the target. Practice putting down a steel yard stick or string line and see if you are keeping the ball on the line (aim to make 10 in a row - my ruler approximates the face angle to make a 15'+ putt). Chasing a "numerically perfect" stroke in terms of measured face angle and tempo won't necessarily improve putting on the course. -0.9 deg makes an 8 foot putt, if you can aim it properly. Your -0.3 - 0.3 degree target is admirable, but roughly PGA tour level face control. #ManageYour Expectations 

Instead of practicing lags from mainly 40', I would expand this to 20-40-60' or even 10 foot increments in this range. You mention 50 and 70 footers, so getting some reps in at 60' will help someone hitting a large number of greens who inevitably faces more long putts of 50+ feet. I hit 20-40-60' putts on a slight uphill and then downhill to start putting before each round (and I still struggle). If you are playing different courses often, this becomes even more important to get pace for the day and course. 

"Heads up" gave minimal benefit to my speed control since I am comfortable using benchmarks for stroke length of: inside trail foot, even with foot, barely outside, and then a few distances past outside which correspond to 20-30-40 and 50' which I practice indoors on a sim. I also pace off every putt to get a distance number in feet then try to match those feels. 

I also wonder: why is Heads Up non-existent in pro golf? Putting is the area of golf where people tinker the most with equipment, grip, etc. It would be silly to think pros wouldn't have tried this to earn more money or save their Tour card. Especially after Spieth's early dominance with the technique. I believe all studies up to this point has been indoors with relatively short putts (under 30'). This could be something that holds up well in a lab environment (80% of participants improving is mentioned...)  but not outdoors for a larger portion of people (but still helps some). There is also convincing research on the "quiet eye" technique to improve putting, which involves trying to focus on a single dimple or spot on the ball as closely as possible. 

You putting routine, aiming technique, and stroke are some of the most personalized aspects of golf. History shows it doesn't need to be pretty or "technically perfect" to be effective. The only way to optimize this on an individual basis is to track playing stats on either strokes gained or make an leave %'s. Practice stats could also be tracked, but at the end of the day practice doesn't count towards your index. 

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10 minutes ago, BMart519 said:

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I also wonder: why is Heads Up non-existent in pro golf? Putting is the area of golf where people tinker the most with equipment, grip, etc. It would be silly to think pros wouldn't have tried this to earn more money or save their Tour card. Especially after Spieth's early dominance with the technique.

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Pros started playing at an early age, taught by instructors using traditional methods, and playing junior golf at highly competitive levels.  They practice constantly to maintain the skills that they have honed over the years.  They are all very good putters or they wouldn't be on tour.  I don't believe that any pro would permanently change to Heads Up putting.  Maybe they have messed with it, and it could help improve their visualization of putts, but change... no.

Heads Up putting will work for some people, and not for others.  Why that is, I don't know.  In my case I believe that anyone who "gives it a try" and doesn't commit to it for more than month, probably won't be using it.

I practice Heads Up putting and I have been doing it for years, but at least at my course, I am the exception when it comes to putting practice.  I rarely see anyone spending more than 5 minutes putting before playing, and I'm at the course nearly every day.  

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57 minutes ago, cnosil said:

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? 

I have a metal yardstick that I putt down to make sure I have at least the first three feet on line. I do that both with and without blast since, as you noted, blast can start to get in your head and you lose sight of roll the ball and become very stroke focused. I have never tried doing the blast without looking at the results so that is an interesting idea. Also, lately I am just banging putts without doing any of my preshot routine which is not any way to mimic what an actual putt will feel like. 

 

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46 minutes ago, BMart519 said:

The only way to optimize this on an individual basis is to track playing stats on either strokes gained or make an leave %'s.

Is there a way to get strokes gained data just for putting (for free or a nominal fee, I guess I would pay for it at this point since I am getting desperate)? And, specifically, strokes gained data for 0-4 HDCP since that is where I think my ceiling is. I am less interested in strokes gained for tee shots and approach shots because, candidly, I have such a glaring weakness (I guess perceived at this point since I don't have ACTUAL comparable data) in putting that it dwarfs the rest of my shortcomings. 

One thing I find interesting is that I can generally remember every shot I hit on every hole going back 4-5 rounds. However, I can rarely remember every putt I had even in the previous round (I track them via notes but I can't "see" the putt like I can see my shots). I wonder if this is an indicator that I am focusing less on putts or if this is typical for most other players as well?

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Also found this website - https://www.golfrankingstats.com/strokes-gained-calculator/

I have no idea if these numbers are accurate but seem to point to maybe things aren't as dire as I am making them out to be, for my skill level. Still feel like for the amount of work I have and am willing to put in, this should be better:

image.png.3d63830c7ee402ecf6db88110b8eaa38.png

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7 minutes ago, vandyland said:

Also found this website - https://www.golfrankingstats.com/strokes-gained-calculator/

I have no idea if these numbers are accurate but seem to point to maybe things aren't as dire as I am making them out to be, for my skill level. Still feel like for the amount of work I have and am willing to put in, this should be better:

image.png.3d63830c7ee402ecf6db88110b8eaa38.png

The numbers aren’t that hard to compute so this is relatively accurate.  Correct, you aren’t doing poorly in that round.  What are you long term trends?   

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13 minutes ago, cnosil said:

The numbers aren’t that hard to compute so this is relatively accurate.  Correct, you aren’t doing poorly in that round.  What are you long term trends?

The short answer is I don't quite have all the data I need to do a trend analysis. Going forward, I think that is what I aim to do, equipped with some of the questions you asked. I think for all putts I am going to try collect the following data:

1st putt distance from hole
Putt type (ex. Uphill, left to right)
Miss type (short, long, push)
2nd putt distance from hole
Putt type
Miss type
3rd putt distance from hole
Putt type
Miss type

4th putt distance from hole

 

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17 minutes ago, vandyland said:

The short answer is I don't quite have all the data I need to do a trend analysis. Going forward, I think that is what I aim to do, equipped with some of the questions you asked. I think for all putts I am going to try collect the following data:

1st putt distance from hole
Putt type (ex. Uphill, left to right)
Miss type (short, long, push)
2nd putt distance from hole
Putt type
Miss type
3rd putt distance from hole
Putt type
Miss type

4th putt distance from hole

 

I believe Spider Putt app can log all of this data to help study miss tendencies or types of putts you struggle on. But not sure if it does Strokes Gained. Could be an option... I think it will then recommend specific drills for these areas. 

In addition to the data you mention above, some feedback on whether it was a bad read would be helpful. Mostly for break right/left, but there could also be cases of uphill or downhill being much different speed than you anticipated. 

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Works fine for me, for more than 10 years, my best is 26 putts in a round, average 1.86 putts per round. When you love your putter (TM Itsy bitsy spider), your putting loves you !

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Have been using this technique for 2 seasons now. Read a few books on it and started experimenting. Found I got the ball to the hole much better on 20’ putts and in. Also have heard and have verified that even if you don’t use it on the course it is a great way to improve your putting by practicing this method. 
I was really bad on 5’-6’ and shorter putts now they are almost automatic if relatively straight. 

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I've been using this method for 10 plus years (pre-Jordan).  it has helped quite a bit with distance control and a little with direction compared to my previous method(s).  I think it helps with longer putts more than the 3 footers.  hitting it fat does happen infrequently and this method doesn't work at all when the collar of the green impacts your backswing.   Not so good from a heavier fringe either.

when my putting is on I can be in the 1.5-1.75 putts per hole.   green reading has always been my downfall.

i believe that looking at the hole makes your brain subconsciously make minor adjustments to your putter face.  obviously something we need a large government grant to study in detail.

how many free throws can you make without looking at the basket?

 

but as my pro (at the pro shop) said when I asked about changing the grip on my putter to help me.  your grip is fine, practice more 5 & 8 footers.  any method will work but you need to practice  (1/3 of all strokes)

 

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On 9/8/2021 at 10:16 PM, Getoffmylawn said:

If you haven’t listened to it yet, go check out the latest Hack it Out Golf podcast.  ALWAYS full of great content  with Mark Crossfield, Scott Fawcett, and Lou Stagner, but the latest edition (#50) includes Sasho McKenzie and is probably the best one yet.

Anyway, about 30-35 minutes in the discussion steered towards a previous lecture/video Sasho had given concerning “heads up” putting, which basically means looking at your target as you putt rather than the ball.  He gave a number of compelling insights into why it MIGHT be a better putting method for some…has anyone tried this?  And I don’t mean rolled 10 putts in your basement, I mean has anyone taken this to the course and given this method an honest trial?

I’d be very interested in anyone’s thoughts on this.  

And, by the way, if you don’t subscribe to Hack It Out, you are truly missing out…

I've had several of my players who struggle lag putting try heads up putting.  So far so good.  I've tried it in my own game with some success.  Some days are better than others, but some are abysmal.  Need more time devoted to practicing it.  Makes all the logical sense in the world though. 

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A bit late to this party, but haven't gotten on the forum for awhile.  Been using heads up since I discovered L.A.B. Golf putters a little over 2 years ago.  The high MOI of the DF 2.1 makes hitting to the toe or heel side a moot point as far as the ball getting to the hole.  Their tech to eliminate torque helps me get the ball rolling on my intended line, then it is only a matter of whether I've read the line correctly.   Heads up gives me SO MUCH better distance control !

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Hallo Peeps!

Been putting heads up for the past two seasons and having great results from that. I have become much consistent especially with length control.

For close to 30 years I tried to attain a "true tour pendulum stroke"  - with limited success 🤐. My coach gave a drill to look at the hole and I ended implementing that drill in my game.

My guess is, that it is purely a mental thing for me, as I tend to extremely / unhealthy focus on technique rather than feel. This as given me a freedom from that, and I love that. 

Is it for everyone? - don't know but it works for me 😄

 

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I have tried heads up putting, usually when I’m going through a spell of not starting the ball on line well. I find it is very helpful on putts under twenty feet where the stroke is typically shorter. I have some issues with speed control when I get to the 30-50 foot putts. Sometimes I knock them dead and sometimes six feet short or long. The line is usually good at all lengths. 
Many times I use a mixture of heads up for shorter putts and traditional for longer ones.

I have a tendency to watch  the putter head on my backstroke and it kills my ability to start the ball on the correct line. Heads up seems to free my stroke up by keeping my head still. 
 

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There is a very good book on heads up putting called "Instinct Putting Revisited" by Bob Christina, Cary Heath, and 

Eric Alpenfels and only 121 pages long.  It also has drills and charts.  Throughout the book it is called "IP".  It also mentions of some PGA Professionals that have used the "IP" system in tournaments such as Spieth, Garica, Oostheizen, Miller, Floyd, Thorpe, and others.  Some do it while practicing on the putting green before a round.  I have tried it with success and amazed that putts longer than 20 feet get closer to the hole this way.  I have overcome the fear of the ball and clubhead and also my mind is relaxed and my body is trusted to do the stroke.  It does not feel natural or comfortable in the beginning and it does help with the "yips".

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Been doing "heads-up" for all putts over 10 feet for about 2 years. It's superb for long lag putts and big breakers. I also do it for shorter putts with lot's of break. It's been crazy good. Of course, occasionally you stub your putter or miss on the toe.  I use a Scotty Futura 6m because of the long blade and I believe hugely important for this method, the high MOI.  I'm a higher handicap guy but would be much worse if my putting like this didn't save me.

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Went back to conventional putting today for 9 holes and had a decent showing out there. I think the practice as well as increased focus on putting during the round led to some better results:

image.png.5ad0bfbc487be97cd6fa49f3aab10b1c.png

Only one truly bad putt which was on #6 where I pushed an uphill 4 footer. Otherwise, solid putting day. Only hit 4/9 greens though so I was probably losing shots off the tee and on approach which is funny since I was lamenting being such a bad putter. Looks like I can be bad almost anywhere in my game, haha. 

 

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On 10/21/2021 at 9:45 AM, Ho Lee Khrab said:

Hallo Peeps!

Been putting heads up for the past two seasons and having great results from that. I have become much consistent especially with length control.

For close to 30 years I tried to attain a "true tour pendulum stroke"  - with limited success 🤐. My coach gave a drill to look at the hole and I ended implementing that drill in my game.

My guess is, that it is purely a mental thing for me, as I tend to extremely / unhealthy focus on technique rather than feel. This as given me a freedom from that, and I love that. 

Is it for everyone? - don't know but it works for me 😄

 

Always good to quote yourself 😂 ... but I just wanted to elaborate a bit on my process:

 

I pick a spot 1-2 ft in front of the ball to line the putter up, then focus moves to a spot on my starting line but hole high. Then it's just to swing towards that "distant" target and Mr Newton should take care of the rest 😄

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Glad some of you are having success with HU putting.  I tried it and not feeling it like some of you.   When I bring my entire head up like how Crossfield does it it’s awkward and I tend to say why not do face on putting with my entire body at the hole like Sam Snead 

However when I just swivel my head toward the hole there Seems to be some benefits 
prevents me from peeking up to early 

especially good for slice breaking putts for my stroke 

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