Putting! The most frustrating yet one of the most important parts of the game

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Transcript of Putting! The most frustrating yet one of the most important parts of the game

Putting!

Putting!The most frustrating yet one of the most important parts of the gamePreparation: Green ReadingWe have already gone into detail about the putting surfaces themselves, but once all of that is understood, what should be your goals in reading greens? The first thing you should always do is determine your desired outcome for the putt (no, it should not be for the ball to go in!). This is where some of the psychology of putting comes in (we will get into much greater detail of this later). You should always make the desired outcome of your putt to be a product of deliberate green reading, disciplined pre-putt routine, and ,finally, a trust in a consistent stroke.Next, you should have already noticed the general topography/slopes of the green from walking up to it (30-50 yds out, remember?). Once you get to the green, you mark your ball and walk around the green to get your bearings (if you are the first one to play then you need to be aware of this so that you arent becoming the cause of slow play). Then go through your routine for reading the putt Where are the high/low areas? What kind of grain are you seeing, if any? What do your feet tell you as you walk around the putt and the hole? When you crouch down behind the ball and the hole, what do you see? Once you have made your observations about the green then you go into...Preparation: Pre-Putt RoutineThe pre-putt routine is going to be different for everybody! You need to figure out what works best for you. However, even though your pre-putt routine will be unique, there are some things that you will need to do to give yourself the best chance of making a good putt (notice how I didnt say best chance of making the putt).Mark your ball: Hopefully, this one is obvious.Green reading routine: We have covered this extensively already.The unique stuff:Do you take practice strokes behind the ball or to the side of it? Are you facing the hole when making your practice strokes? How many practice strokes do you take? What is the tempo of your practice strokes? What is the purpose of how you make practice strokes? Before you step into the ball, do you deeply exhale? Do you pick out a spot to aim at? Do you visualize the ball going into the hole? Do you do anything in particular before you make the actual stroke? Guys, I have seen it all, but the one thing that great putters do is that they do their routine consistently, without fail, every single time!!!**Therefore, the most important aspect of any pre-putt or pre-shot routine is CONSISTENCY!!!Distance and DirectionThe first thing that needs to be said about distance and direction in putting is that you should already know where and how hard you are going to stroke a putt before you step into the ball!DistanceThere are many factors to take into consideration when determining how much speed or distance that you have to put into a putt (we covered many of these in the green reading stuff). However, there are a couple of things that you can do to become more consistent with your distance control. Deliberate practice strokes: Dont just swing the putter back and forth without any intent. Always make your practice strokes an example of how you want your real stroke to be. Imagine that each practice stroke is an opportunity for you to figure out how much pace you have to put into the actual putt. Visualization after outside factors have been factored into the equation: The best putters in the world are meticulous about their pre-putt routines. They read the greens with great detail and always stick to the same routine before they make a putt. Then, before they step into the putt, there is usually a moment of visualization where they imagine what it would feel like and look like to watch the ball go along the intended line and go into the hole. They do not however, expect the ball to go in (another teaser for the psychology part).Distance and DirectionDirectionThis one can be tricky because there are many ways of going about getting the ball to roll on the intended line. Pick a spot: Find a spot around 6 inches in front of the ball and try to putt the ball over that spot. This can be fine, but say your ball is resting on a severe slope? It might break offline before it gets to your spot. I do like this method though because it takes the focus off of the hole.Line on golf ball: This is one of the most popular methods of controlling the direction of your putt. I understand the merits of using the line (starting direction, checking on how you roll the ball, feedback for if you miss the putt, etc), but I used this extensively for a while and I found a few thingsIf you are not diligent about practicing rolling the line perfectly every single time then you will have issues.If you play on poorly kept putting surfaces it will be almost impossible to roll the line perfectly; this can even happen on really grainy greens.If you end up focusing on just rolling the line then you can lose focus of speed (this happened to me all the time).This may seem strange, but the majority of people who use the line on a golf ball to line up putts actually aim the line incorrectly to their intended putting line.The reason for this is because a golf ball is curved. Therefore, especially if the line on your ball is long, when you sit behind the ball and try to aim it the curve of the line due to the balls shape can actually throw you off.However, with practice, and if you stick to the line principle no matter what, it can be an effective way of improving your putting. Distance and DirectionDirectionPutt at the apex of the curve: This is not bad especially for really long putts because it keeps things simple, but Ive found that you can end up trying to guide the ball too much. If you do this then you need to be deliberate about your setup and aim so that you dont encourage inconsistencies in your stroke.Imagine the hole as a clock and feel it out or visualize the line the ball takes when it goes into the hole and then stroke it: This is pretty convoluted and ultimately more about feel than anything. I know coaches who exclusively teach putting this way because they believe in our ability to subconsciously put the ball on the correct line for the break. I do buy into some of this in that I believe we should trust our instincts and stick with them, but I do not think we should just go and feel it out. Just free-wheeling it may seem fine, but ultimately its just lazy and you will end up getting frustrated when you start missing a lot of putts and dont know why. Again, most of what you do will have to be what is right for what kind of player you are. We will be working together to figure this out. Once we find what you should be doing though, you have to stick with it through thick and thin!The StrokeThere are a lot of misconceptions out there about the putting stroke. Some people staunchly advocate a straight-back-straight-through approach whereas others emphasize an arc approach. Some people say you should have a certain grip, stance, etc. There are many methods in which to utilize any number of strokes, but I have come to realize that there are a few things that you MUST take into consideration to have a good putting stroke.Consistency: Your stroke, without fail, has to be consistent. You cannot guide the ball to the hole or to your intended line with the putter head. Trying to guide or manipulate the putter during the stroke will lead to inconsistencies and inconsistencies will lead to consistently bad putting.Trust: This is part of the psychological approach as well, but you have to always trust in your stroke. No matter what it looks like, feels like, or how it performs on that day you have to trust that you put in the work to have a stroke that performs consistently!Eye dominance or how you see straight: We are going to do a test to find out exactly how you see straight... The Stroke: Seeing StraightNow, what exactly does it mean when I say, how you see straight? Well, basically, we all see objects, whether directly in front of us or to the side of us, in different ways. Take the eye dominance test for example

1. Everyone put your arms and hands in front of you and make a triangle with your hands like in the picture. 2. Now, find an object that can fit inside your hand triangle (like the doorknob in the picture).3. Once you do this, close your left eye so that you are only looking with your right eye. Notice a difference? No?4. Then, switch and close your right eye so that you are only looking with your left eye. Now do you notice a difference?5. After steps 3 and 4 you should have realized that when one of your eyes was closed, the object in the center of your triangle moved!6. If it moved when your left eye was open and right eye closed then you are right eye dominant. If it moved when you right eye was open and your left eye was closed then you are left eye dominant.The Stroke: Seeing StraightI did extensive study and research into eye dominance and the effect that it has on how we see straight when we are standing over a putt. I cannot take credit for any of this, I simply borrowed what other people found so that I could use it for my benefit.What you need to knowEssentially, everyone sees straight differently. There is no one specific reason for this (as eyes can be shaped differently and what not), but we know of some of the factors that affect how people see straight when looking from the sideEye Dominance: Whichever eye proves to be your dominant eye can lead to why you see straight different from others.I am right eye dominant which leads me (along with some other factors; some proved, some coming from opinion) to be a right aimer.Peripheral Vision: Not as important as eye dominance, but still is a factor in determining how you see straight.I have pretty good peripheral vision so this leads me to believe that I can see a wider field of visi