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Mechanical vs Instinct Putting


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I guess I should have put this in the first response to this thread. The term Instinct Putting or at least the book titled Instinct Putting is actually about looking at the hole WHILE you putt. We have been using it in this topic, myself included at times to talk, about what I would term feel putting. The way I see it is there are actually three types of putting.

  1. Instinct - Looking at the hole during the putting stroke.
  2. Feel- Using visual and other data such as feel under your feet to determine the stroke length, but look at the ball during the stroke.
  3. Mechanical-using distance based on steps and having a set amount to bring back the club based on the distance.

An instinct putter, rare, such as myself will stand behind the ball and look at the line, determine the way the ball will enter the hole. I will first ensure that my putter is in my hand in the right position. If I am using a short putter it is the left hand. The back of my left hand is square with the putter face. If I am using a belly putter the palm of my right hand is square with the putter face. I will then take my stance and ensure my putter is directly behind the ball, and look at a spot at the back of the cup 180 degrees from where the ball must enter to hit that spot. I then put both hands on the putter and look at the line a few times but adjust my putter face by moving my hands and then I will hit the ball without taking a practice stroke or looking at the ball.


A feel putter, the most common, uses the visual data and feel of the greens through their feet and other data, grain etc... to determine how hard to hit the ball and how much like the instinct putter, but they will take practice strokes while looking at the hole to determine the distance but then takes the stance and putts looking at the ball. And use either a line or a spot near the ball for aiming.


A mechanical putter, are also rare, they determine the distance but the stroke is brought back to a certain point based on distance. Say a 5 foot putt the putter is brought back to the inside the toe of the back foot. 10 foot putt the putter is brought back to the outside of the trail foot and so on. In this case, much like a machine, the putter is brought back a predetermined distance based on how far the putt must travel. I have experiment with this method but determined it was not for me. The mechanical putter may also vary the width of the stance based on the length of the putt and use their foot position as a guide in putter stroke.


Since I have yet to see someone breakout the tape measure and find out exactly how far they are from the hole, and I doubt it would be legal, and they do not being a survey crew to determine the break, all of these types of putter use visual as well as feel to determine the break and the speed to some point.


The difference would be in how the stroke is actually made. And what the person is looking at during the actual contact of the ball.


Based on these three types, I would guess that most of the respondents would say that they are Feel putters rather than Instinct putters.


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