After what seems like a long hiatus, the putting and chipping area of Metro Golf Sportsplex- ‘the Plex’ - is finished! Tomorrow January 28th will be one year to the day the Dome went down, Thus, here is a timely blog to address the final area of scoring, getting the ball into the cup.
Harvey Penick (author of the Little Red Book- viewed as the most sold book in golf) once said: "A man who can't putt is a match for no one, a man who can is a match for anyone."
There are many styles of putter grip- fat, thin, oversized- many styles of putter- blade, mallet, one ball, two ball, different ball positions, studies on weight distribution, studies on claw/pistol/left hand low. There is plumb bob, triangle and aim point express ways of reading the green and all can be used effectively, hopefully not at the same time and slow down the pace of play. So much stuff you want to scream in frustration. It is all very personal and everyone will tell you why their combination is the best, as they miss a putt!
Simpler are ‘fundamentals’ in putting- speed, line, read. So much is disputed in the world of golf instruction, but, usually, no one disputes speed as the most important of the three in ,making putts.
Just as there is one efficient golf swing for each individual, YOUR putter, that you should have been fit for, should be optimum for you.
(Note the positions in this blog are for a right handed putter, simply reverse if you are left handed)
What is not usually spoken about is where your eyes are. (Yes, yes, you are all thinking in my head- NOT what I meant). Should the eyes be inside, on the line or outside of the line? Anyone sees me doing a True Roll clinic sees the student drop a ball from their left eye right on top of the ball they are about to putt. While that position doesn’t change, if your stance is wider, the ball on the ground is more centered in your stance, if you are more narrow a la Ricky Fowler, the ball on the ground is more forward. Just like with the strength of your grip at set up and the club face at the top of your back swing, the match- up is what you need to understand. Simply put, if your eyes are inside the line you will see a line that is right of your ball, if your eyes are outside of the line, you will see a line inside. In the first case without understanding match-ups you are likely to be pushing putts, and conversely in the second case, pulling putts. The question therefore is- do you have to have your left eye or even dominant eye over the ball? No, if you understand how your eye position matches to where the start line of the putt is and where you expect the break point to be, you can still make a high percentage of putts!
On Golf Channel Academy there is an often repeated “Best Lessons Ever’ on putting with Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Jack Niklaus. They jokingly bash each others styles, with a reference to the great Bobby Locke (arguably the greatest putter of all time) and why the other's style is not optimum. At the end of the segment, Trevino and Player basically conclude- ‘what do we know’ .
Niklaus record stands above theirs combined, but they still found fault with it. You would not see a young athletic junior elite golfer putting like any of those three in this day and age, but I would argue that they each understood the peculiarities of what they had chosen and they mastered it.
As a wise man once said- ‘now you go and do likewise’ (insert smiley face emoji) and determine with your coach what is effective for your to sink more putts!
NOTE: final week of 'the Plex' lesson specials-