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Research Summary on Putting
by

Eoghan O' Sullivan


 

Index
 


Introduction

This Presentation is compiled (a) out of sheer necessity and (b) following extensive research.
What is amazing is how little has been written about Putting. Yet Putting is the most important and dominant part of the game when it comes to winning and producing good scores. With increased television coverage of the game of Golf one gets a marvellous opportunity to see the artistry of the Golfers, and this is made even more enjoyable by the incredibly high standard of commentary and superb analysis on the technical aspect before and after the shot is taken.

Nobody can dispute the importance of Putting and its relevance to good scoring and overall results. Yet very few have addressed the technical aspect of Putting. If any Professional Golfer were more consistent at Putting he/she would win with greater regularity.

I am now going to address the complexities of Putting from a scientific viewpoint, and in such detail as has never been done before. Whilst it may appear to be very technical I'm sure you will have no difficulty in understanding the logic attached to it. The findings are a result of several years of research where a lot of time was spent working with and analysing Professional Golfers.

There is a huge emphasis in the "Tee to Green" area and, to a lesser extent, in the short game, i.e. in and around the Greens. Most of ones practice, energies, thoughts, and psychological planning is concentrated in this area, and it is approached with clinical thoroughness. Nothing is spared financially in providing the hardware to improve the results.

There are great teachers, and instructors, dedicated listeners or pupils, and some achieve great results. In fact the strength of the Professionals Golf is in this area. This is where they excel and find most consistency. Any weaknesses are worked on and are generally corrected. Yet, Putting is the biggest single problem of any Golfer, even for Professionals.

Professionals spend many hours of their fill-in time on tour on the practice Putting Green area, but much of this time is wasted as they just go through the motions. I throw out a challenge from my research. I believe that great results are achieved from instruction and time spent practising on the long and short game, but little is achieved from time spent on Putting practice, because it has never been approached scientifically.

There is a huge psychological barrier to overcome. There will have to be a change of attitude and a new indoctrination, which will give a new understanding as to the importance of Putting to the game of Golf. It is extraordinary when one realises the Teachers and Club Professionals are rarely asked for a Putting lesson.

Golfers have no problem in admitting that they tried to improve their long game, but few want to be seen practising Putting. It is almost as if there is a stigma attached to it. It is belittled and almost frowned upon. The fact is that if you are not able to Putt you shouldn't attempt to play golf -- Putting is so elementary everybody knows how to Putt. It really is an insult to suggest that you are not able to Putt. I apologise, and I am really sorry if I offend you. However, I would appreciate if you could check how you fare out on the average list. The amateurs have a tough task. It is very hard to win when you have only one round to show how good you are. The Professionals have four.

If your were to become a good Putter the improvement in your results would be staggering. There is one certainty! Your result can be improved by a much greater margin from improved Putting than improving any other aspect of your game.

Why is there so little time or thought given to the art of Putting? Psychologically, most golfers fall into the trap of thinking that the game of golf is from "Tee to Green". Golfers go to great lengths to improve their game form "Tee to Green". Lessons are paid for and no expense spare in providing the hardware. Getting from "Tee to Green" is the primary aim, this is the big challenge. Do you judge your standard on this aspect of the game, of it is on your results? Oh yes, the Putting is incidental. If only you could get a few to drop!!

The dignity with which Golfers accept that the results would be different if a few Putts had dropped is unbelievable, yet is happens day after day. Yes, one day the Putting will all come right! The challenge is to educate yourself - beat the psychological barrier and think or address the question of your Putting.




Optimum Putting Position

From the Optimum Position you will hit the perfect Putt.

To be in the Optimum Position you need the following:

A. Eye vertical over the ball
B. Feet in correct position
C. Ball in correct position
D. Positioned correctly over the ball having chosen the correct line (allowing or borrow) square Putter blade to chosen line - always Put in a straight line.
E. Stroke the Putter blade
F. Have full freedom of club movement avoid bulky clothing - use short sleeves if at all possible.

When you execute the perfect Putt your Putter blade will rise and follow the line of the Putt rather than open or close.

When first attempting to find the Optimum Position you may feel uncomfortable, but if you practise this new stance, when at work, waiting in a queue, etc., it will become easier. In fact you will discover that it is your natural and perfectly balanced standing position.

Why should your address position when hitting your irons be so different from your Putting stance? If you were to play your iron shots from your Putting stance can you imagine what would happen. In fact the Optimum Putting position will be close to your iron stance, and with your improved overall balance you will even find an improvement in your iron play.

You will find that because of your new stance and balance you will be much more consistent in your address over the ball. You must address the ball from the same position every time. In fact I found that inconsistency in address over the ball as being the Professional Golfers greatest weakness.

When you have perfect balance there will be very little body movement when turning your head to select the line of your Putt (co-relate to your iron play).

When you have learned to Putt from the Optimum Position you will experience a free flowing rhythmic strike giving you a new found confidence, and you will address each Putt knowing that you have a great chance to hole it. Your mental attitude to Putting will be totally changed. You will have a lovely touch and feel when striking the ball.

With an improved stroke there will be a noticeable improvement in your results. You will find am improvement in judging the face of the ball and a lot of practise should be given to this.

The entire exercise revolves around finding, The Optimum Putting Position.

The Eyes, Ball, Feet positions are all aligned and correct in relation to your chosen line.

Some guidelines to the above plan.

A. Your left heel placed about 1 inch from the perpendicular line.
B. Your heels should be 6 to 8 inches apart, toes 16 inches apart.
C. Your left shoe top should be 7.5 to 9.5 inches from the ball.
D. You should have a clearance of ½" to ¾" from left heel to vertical line

The Putt O Scope Instrument will give you your exact position (this varies from person to person).

The Putt O Scope item is an excellent Putting instrument.
You can line up other items and deliberately take them off line, contrary to instructions, which proves that they are not fool proof. This you cannot do with the Putt O Scope.

You should practice with a chalk line starting on a straight Putt then, experiment with borrow, determine your chosen line, and practice with the speed of the ball to allow for borrow as you now have a longer Putt to compensate for the borrow.


Missed Putts

There are 8 REASONS why a Putt can be missed.
(Explained in diagrams)

A. When your eye is not over the ball.
1. Eye is short of the ball
2. Eye is past the ball

B Ball position in relation to your stance
3. Too close to your feet, left of target, blade closed.
4. Too far out from your feet, right of target, blade opened.
5. Too far left from your feet, left of target, blade closed.
6. Too far right from your feet, right of target, blade opened.

C. Feet Position
7. When Putting off your left foot you will be left of target(closed blade at point of impact)
8. When Putting off your right foot you will be right of target (open blade at point of impact)

If one of the above will come in to play you will probably miss the Putt.
If any two come in to play you will almost certainly miss the Putt.
If any three come in to play and you are outside 20 feet you are looking at a three Putt. Intercompensatory errors occur when more than one error comes into play.

One knows that Puttable Putts are missed with inexplicable regularity and, when you analyse the above list you will soon realise why this is so. It may be that you will come to realise that there is more to Putting than you had thought.

Remember that one has the ability to square a Putter to the correct line to the hole from almost any stance, but if your body stance and alignment is incorrect you can be certain that at that point of impact the Putter will have moved off square.
Explanations and excuses are given as to why Putts are missed but the reality is that very few know why a Putt is missed because if they did it would be corrected and not repeated, but this does not happen.

Putts are missed because the blade is not square to the chosen line at the point of impact.


Technical Analysis

CLUB
Your club has got to be the right length. The angle of the Putter head to the shaft has to be right. This must take into account your height any body structure (waistline). This adjustment has to be right so as to give you unimpeded pendulum club movement.


HANDS/GRIP
The grip must be sufficiently firm so as to ensure that our have complete control over the club. Try a system of letting the club sit on the ground, square the blade and address yourself conformably over the Putter. Grip the Putter firmly but not tightly. If you have a tight grip muscle power comes in to play and this can distort the alignment of the club head, the most common result is a closed blade.
If you have a dominant hand the blade opens and closes at will.

A dominant left hand grip - closed blade - dominant right hand grip - open blade. You should never break your wrists once you have set up. You should never move once you have set up - keep your shuffling for the dance floor! Make sure that the club doesn't turn in your hand or touch the ground.

Regarding grip, this is totally an individual choice. I would strongly recommend that there be an overlap of fingers. However, you must make sure that your hands are butted together (whether overlapped small fingers or not) whereby the hands and club move as one unit and that there is no question of either hand moving (rolling) independently of the other.

Your grip on the club must be square. If you have a flat edged grip make sure that it is set perfectly square. Try this experiment - Stand completely centre over a chalk line and set the club parallel to the line, close your eves and slide the club forward 8 or 9 inches, open your eyes and the club should be parallel to the line. If it has moved right or left you either have a dominant hand grip (your hands when gripped are not perfectly aligned) or your grip (if flat-faced) is set off centre. If you suffer this error this would account for an error tendency of being right or left of target, depending on which side of the line your club ends on.

Remember that good Putting is an art and needs to be studied very carefully. If is the most delicate part of the game, and it needs to be approached scientifically, and be executed with absolute precision. It would be nice to know why you miss a Putt.


CORRECTING ERRORS
Most golfers identify their error tendency being right or left of target. The corrective methods adopted result in the problems being exacerbated rather than corrected. What generally happens is that the right hand is brought into play, which results in a pushed shot. A dominant right hand is a disaster. If you think that you can open or close the blade to compensate, you are wrong. Remember that 2º / 3º variation is hardly visible to the naked eye.


STRAIGHT PUTTS/BORROW

The first thing one tries to do is to learn how to cope with straight Putts. The Optimum Position and examples given all relate to straight Putts. Having learned to Putt properly when you have now found confidence and proven results you can deal with Putts which have a borrow. What one must do is always try to Putt on a straight line. You select your line of choice and Putt Square to that line. What you must not do is try and open or close the blade and try to push the ball through the borrow. Of course, you will find the odd occasion where your choice is a lottery (more common on American courses), but what we must address is trying to cope with Puttable Putts, the ones that are too often missed.


RELEVANT FACTORS
There are definitive rules, which must be adhered to:

1. Get your eye vertically over the ball.
2. Let Putter blade sit on the ground before applying your hand grip to the club.
3. Position the Putter blade so that it is horizontal.
4. Determine the line of the hole.
5. Square the Putter blade to your line of choice.
6. The blade has to be square to the line at the point of impact.
7. The ideal result is i.e. the Perfect Putt is executed when you stroke your Putter which results in a clean strike off the sweet part of the Putter. You will also find that the ball rolls perfectly when properly struck.
8. It is essential to have perfect balance when addressing a Putt. Your weight has to be event distributed on both feet.
9. Always Putt on a straight line. Club head square to your chosen line at point of impact.
10. You must have total freedom to stroke the putter with no interference from clothing - Pendulum movement. You must have a good upright stance.

There is an added factor of distorted balance as all the weight is on the right or left foot. When putting from the right foot you have to turn your head a few degrees more to see the line to the hole, which is an additional problem.

There is one factor common to both feet positions. Your right hand becomes more dominant and one tends to push the club rather than stroke it.

People who Putt off the right foot have the highest error tendencies.

When on the right foot you are stretching a little more, which makes it more difficult to strike the Putter.

These summaries will be identified and understood more clearly by those who have difficulty with any of the examples given.



Professional Golfers

You have to ask the question why Professional Golfers are so inconsistent at Putting. I have studied this very carefully and these are my conclusions:

Inconsistency of procedures when Putting:

A. Stance over the ball - body not always in the same
position - generally lower down - any change distorts your stroke.

B. Change of stance after they have lined up the Putter blade- altering hands / body position / feet position.

C. Bringing a dominant hand into play by gripping too tightly with either hand.

D. Not having weight evenly distributed on both feet.


E. Not hitting the ball from the sweet spot of the Putter.

F. Not having that pendulum movement when you stroke the Putter blade properly - a properly executed Putt sees the ball roll correctly and you will hear that sweet sound consistently.

Remember any alterations distorts ones alignment.

On the plus side the Professional Golfers ability to judge the pace of the ball amazes me.


Conclusion

I believe you should read this booklet many times. You should identify and concentrate on the area that you feel apply to you. You should write them down and try and understand them before you attempt any corrective measures. You should establish very accurately what your current average Putting is. This should be calculated over a minimum of 5 rounds, and ideally over 10 rounds. You can include rounds from the past provided you can remember the exact number of Putts taken.

If you find that one or two of the examples differ completely from your personal experience do not allow this to distract you from the overall findings of this extensive document.

All of the above should be Put in place before you attempt to start to Putt from the Optimum Position.

There is one certainty regarding this presentation -If you follow the programme of Putting from the Optimum Position you will become an excellent Putter provided that excellence is your goal.

STEP 11.

If you have understood the graphics attached to step one including the theory relating to Putting from the Optimum Position.

1. Get your eye vertically over the ball
2. Position the Putter blade so that it is horizontal
3. Determine the line to the hole.
4. Square the Putter blade to the line i.e. position is so that it is exactly 90 degrees to the line.
5. Strike the ball off the blade's sweet spot.

PuttOScope is a scientifically designed precision optical instrument which will guarantee you that you are addressing the ball from the Optimum Position.

You can by-pass all the theory and start from the Optimum Position.


You Can By-Pass All The Theory And Start From The Optimum Position As Shown On The Diagram.
Good Putting Becomes a Routine.


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  If your Putter is
3 degrees off line from 10ft your Putt will be 6" off centre.

  If your Putter is
3 degrees off line from 20ft your Putt will be 12" off centre.

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