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Re-dedicating my life to the art of putting

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A bit of a dramatic title but I have been on quite the rollercoaster with putting the last few months. To summarize, went from conventional putting to heads up putting, then tried to incorporate a straight back and straight through stroke, then tried to switch to the saw grip, then tried an armlock putter (in store) and finally returned to conventional putting the last few rounds. I have always disliked putting because I felt I was a poor putter and that scoring was too heavily influenced by putting. Well, whether any of that is true or not is irrelevant. Putting IS important and you can't really ball strike your way around poor putting unless you are ELITE (which I am not). So, after getting some good advice from @cnosilin the heads up thread, I had to step back and see if I was a bad putter or if I just had too high of expectations. 

I used this strokes gained putting calculator for my last two rounds (9 hole and 18 hole, respectively) and found out I was gaining strokes putting. 


Now, I will admit that the 18 hole round was clearly a good putting day, for the most part. In the past I would have dwelled on the missed 3ft putt and the 3 putt from 40 ft instead of the makes from 12 and 9 feet. 

So what is the point? I guess I would encourage others to take a look at their putting and see if it is as bad (or good) as you think it is. To get better, I think having consistently solid putting performances is the fastest way to lower scores. So it is my goal to keep getting better at putting or at least have it at the forefront of my practice. Maverick McNealy noted that his rise from obscurity in the WAGR was down to forcing himself to become a better putter by practicing putting FIRST anytime he went to the golf course. 

To accomplish that goal I have the following tasks/habits I am working on:
_Commit to practicing 3x times a week with my blast golf motion sensor and a metal yard stick to work on the hitting my starting line (minimum of 75 putts per session)
_Establish a preshot routine that involves walking off the putt (quickly, we don't have all day here), reading the putt and then "feeling my line". A key here is that I try to spend a lot more time looking at the hole than my ball or my stroke. The more time I can spend softly looking at my target and the intended line, the better chance I have of executing a good putt.
_Giving full attention to my putts (I have been guilty in the past of just walking up to putts and glancing at the line and hitting them, I would never do that over a 150 yd shot from fwy)
_Literally remind myself I am an above average putter (using the above data points) and that it can and should be a strength of my game
_Continue to track strokes gained on putting each round with the understanding that there will be ups and downs. 

I hope to update this with evidence of me sticking to this plan. I would encourage anyone else who struggles with putting or who has ideas for their own putting progress to participate. 



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Have had two practice sessions over the last two days and wanted to show off a nice feature of the Blast Motion Sensor, the graphs over the entire practice session. Still working on consistency but at least I have a two way miss with the putter now, haha. The first graphs show the face angle at impact (above the line represents open face and below the line is closed face):



And tempo (ideal tempo is 2:1):




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Is your ideal tempo 2.1? There is no single "ideal" tempo for all golfers. 

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I would say I pay less attention to that then face angle. The 2:1 ratio is what Blast recommends and I usually stay around that EXCEPT when my through stroke starts getting longer. In a way, the ratio helps me keep my backstroke and through stroke even in that way. Face angle, for me, is the end all be all. 

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Well had a great round (back 9 really) yesterday. I played a new course with nice greens but some wild pin placements so I think putting well was a premium. I had recently switched back to my Seemore FGP and my speed was good all day but reads were bad on the front. I sorted it out by the last few holes and finished on a heater (shot 32 on the back):


All pars and birdies on the back. The putt on 18 probably broke about 3 feet. I'm buzzing. Putting is everything. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another pretty good day putting. Didn't really make anything on the front until 9 and then went on a run on the back. The 7 footer I made on 16 I had to put like 4 balls outside of the hole. Just a really rewarding day putting and I ended up shooting 74 which I would chalk up mostly to no 3 putts and making several par saves from over 5 feet.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Several months in and I must say that focusing on putting and having a good attitude about putting has improved my overall enjoyment of the game significantly. Just came off a round with:

- Zero 3 putts!
- 2.04 strokes gained
- +3 75 on a day where I didn't really have it ballstriking wise.

Add to that, I didn't make any bombs over 12 ft and it really shows me how important putting is. I played with a guy who hit it significantly better than I did but he 3 putted from 30-40 ft 3 times and I realized that was me a few months ago. Also, a few things that have worked for me lately:

- Spend much more time looking at the hole while setting up for your putt. Trying to "feel it" with my stroke while looking at the hole was pretty useless. I find just slowly looking up and down my line while over the ball gives me a good sense of feel.

- Once you look down at the ball the final time, just pull the trigger. 

- Keep your through stroke short and definitely shorter than your backstroke or AT MOST the same length. The long through stroke is a recipe for a push most of the time. Especially on short putts. 

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Putting is really hard, and if you find a technique that helps, that's a beautiful thing.

It took me years to discover that I would never putt the ball into the ocean from the deck of a cruiseship using a conventional putting stroke.

If I stand with my head over the ball and my feet parallel to the line, I'm more likely to catch a fish than sink  putt.

I putt with an open stance so I can triangulate my view, and I push the putter straight up the line, with no arc, using my right hand.  I'm  just using my left hand to keep my hands on the grip.   My right elbow is tucked in while I'm completely unaware of where my left elbow might be. 


This method does not make me a great putter by any means.

It does prevent me from being an attrocious one, however.   It feels more natural to me, and I don't shake and shiver standing over the ball. 

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@BostonSalI think whatever gets you as close as possible to 0.0 face angle at impact and you can consistently hit a certain speed is what is needed for putting. I understand exactly what you are talking about with putting open and I have done that before. Currently I am putting completely square because I am back with my Seemore. 

Ultimately, this thread is less about me trying to say "I've figured out putting" (because of course I haven't) but more to be a reminder to myself that what I am doing is working and moving in the right direction. One bad putting day shouldn't force a change or overreaction on my part. And, finally, once you have a reliable overall game...putting along with chipping/pitching is what is going to be the difference between a good day and a great day, scoring wise. 

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2 hours ago, vandyland said:

Several months in and I must say that focusing on putting and having a good attitude about putting has improved my overall enjoyment of the game significantly.


... Great progress! Granted there is reading the green and having a repeatable stroke involved but putting is much more mental than physical. We can't hit drives like anyone on the PGA Tour but we can putt like they do. Don't try and make a decent putt, don't try and lag it close ... try and make every putt you face. If you believe you can, the odds go up exponentially. The power of positive thinking is never stronger than rolling a ball several feet into a hole. Literally anyone can do it. You just have to believe you can.  

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I’ve been to hell and back with my putting. Yesterday 3 putted from 3 feet, threw my ball into the water, wife asks why, I reply the ball is cheaper than the putter. The only hope I seem to have (yes I have tried everything else - EVERYTHING - is the old Arnold Palmer method, pigeon toed knees locked together, arms locked and motionless, entire stroke with the wrists, straight back straight through pop stroke. It works on the practice green I just need the strength of purpose to take it to the course. Can’t be worse than I am now. Truly makes the blade travel straight back and through, the alinement feature on top of the putter travels in a straight line. Anyone else try this/resort to this? Palmer and Casper were brilliant putters in their day, second to none. 

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Go to Club Champion, get fit and get a lesson.

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Really cool how you are tracking your progress. Typically when most golfers take a step back I would think the opposite occurs and their not as good of a putter as they think. Plus the sensor is a great way to work toward consistency. You can eliminate the variables like face angle and temp and the last part is green reading which cannot really be objectified outside of made or missed putts 

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For the mental side of putting I try to minimize hope and fear   Meaning 
I just practice holing out fairly flat short putts that don’t break at all or just a bit of break to gain confidence first  This way I eliminated the fear of fast breaking short putts until I have to play 
Concentrate my practice to 12 foot and in as those are more make able range 

I was practicing to many long putts “hoping” they go in   For longer putts I just practice distance control to fringe, or to another ball Percentages are that I’m not going to make most of my long putts but if I have good distance control and proper read   I  have a chance to wobble the ball in   
If I stick to that process I should never 3 putt 



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Yep; played with a couple of Wrong Armers!! One even went Left Hand Low. 

Didn't seem to help him & the Other Guy could not Putt from either side!!

No Pro, however, think keeping side consistent from Tee to On Green keeps your Head on Straight!!


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Putting can be fickle to say the least.  What helped me to be what I consider a decent putter you ask?  I bought one of those stand alone putters and realized where the putter is actually aiming and not where I think it is aiming.  I used the putter to learn not to play with as I hate the grip but it worked.  I now putt with confidence and make many more putts because of it.  Happy golfing!

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Not sure about putter fittings, but you do need to be willing to try putters until you find one that works. I used face balanced mallets with huge grips for years, and I was not a bad putter with them. Then I had a scotty blade with some toe hang and his little pistol grip fall in my lap and I've putted off the charts (at least for me) ever since. Averaged about 29 putts per round all summer. 

Mentally the key for me has always been to make sure the setup is correct, then make a totally relaxed stroke. I really have to putt like I don't care to do it well. Like most of golf, the more you analyze and agonize on the course, the worse the results. 

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Just my two cents' worth:  Putting expectations for most people are way too high.  You can go to the green, basically master 5' putts, and then go to the course and get robbed because of a blemish in the green, or perhaps just misread the green itself.  The pros are in another class, and they have to be because it's their livelihood at stake.  I'm about a 3 handicap myself, and while i see golfers that are better than me regularly, they putt only marginally better at close range.  It's truly amazing, when you look at stats, how close everyone is in their putting between 3' and 10'.  I truly believe an area that you can practice in putting that really makes a difference is in your ability to 2-putt from longer ranges.  If you rarely 3-putt, you're probably gaining strokes on just about everybody.

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Cross handed.  Index finger of front hand is straight on the front of the shaft, helps feel for straight align at moment of stroke.  Heads up on medium and long, head down on short, but look at hole out of the corner of my eye.  Use a balanced face putter.  No stats to offer.  Practice practice practice, and focus focus focus, and also, relax, at the same time as focus.  Think positive, it is fun to putt.

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