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Putting is a game within a game - 4 keys to success!

Putting is a game within a game – 4 keys to success!

Putting is a game within a game – 4 keys to success!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

I have always felt that putting is a game within a game.  In the full swing, as long as I have the correct club selection, all that counts is clubface path and clubface angle. PLUS, if I hit the ball a little offline, I still have the opportunity to hit a good chip or bunker shot to save my par.  Not so with a putt! Once I miss a putt, the shot is gone forever, and I add another stroke to my score. So my putting stroke must be reliable to hit my putts time and time again on the EXACT line I choose.  Once I have that ability, I can become the golfer I always wanted to be!   Tom Stickney II of golfwrx.com and a Top 100 teacher explains the 4 principles you need to become that golfer!

Repeatability.

One of the most important aspects of putting is the repeatability of your stroke. That’s because reading putts perfectly isn’t very helpful unless you can consistently control your speed and direction on the greens.

The average amateur has little control over how the putter moves back and forth, thus they have little consistency in how the ball comes off the blade. The mechanical side of putting is all about getting the ball to leave the putter face exactly where you want it to.

The question is, how can golfers accomplish greater consistency on the green? Below are 4 keys to help you hone the repeatable putting stroke you’ve always wanted.

Putting is a game within a game – 4 keys to success!

The Four Keys

  • Address Alignment of the Putter Face
  • Impact Alignment of the Putter Face
  • The Path of the Putter Head
  • The Rotation of the Putter Head

Note: Before I begin, I want to make clear that I’m only focusing on the horizontal (side-to-side) launch of the ball, which governs the starting direction of your putt based on your intended line. We’ll assume you have perfect vertical (up-and-down) launch characteristics, which will be the topic of another story. 

1) Address Alignment of the Putter Face

It’s nearly impossible to be consistent on the greens if your putter face is aimed away from your target line.

In your practice sessions (on a real putting green or your carpet at home), use visual keys in practice such as putting mirrors, T-squares, chalk lines and lines on the golf ball so you can understand the difference between open, closed and square.

Don’t forget about putter designs! Different players respond differently to certain designs, and finding the right match for you could drastically improve your alignment. Take the time to read what David Edel says about how your alignment changes with different putters.

Putting Analysis Technology.

Also, I highly encourage you to use some kind of putting analysis technology at your closest fitter or instructor that has the technology. It can help you diagnose a problem that you may not even have known existed. I personally recommend SAM Puttlab, an ultrasound machine that measures more than 20 different factors of a putting stroke.

Below is an example of the feedback that SAM Puttlab offers. I have used it in my academies for more than 10 years to give my students a better understanding of their putting motion.

First, note the alignment of the blade at address. You can see that this player has a propensity to line up the face about 2.5-degrees open (to the right) of his intended target. It’s true that many players have issues aiming the putter perfectly at address, which they have to make up for during the stroke by altering their club face or club path into the ball. The more manipulation you have in your stroke, the more you have to rely on your hand/eye coordination to take over for your faulty alignments.

If you’re new to SAM, consult a professional instructor to ensure you’re reading the results properly. Diagnosing your issues is key to developing a plan to improve.

2) Impact Alignment of the Putter Face 

The second factor in putting consistency is the ability to return the blade to square at impact. As we saw above, the sample player’s putter was 2.5-degrees open at address, meaning an adjustment had to be made during the stroke to avoid pushing the ball to the right.

Thankfully, this player closed the putter face during the stroke and had a path that was right down the line. Ultimately, his horizontal launch conditions were not skewed, but it’s a move that’s very difficult to repeat consistently. It’s best to start with a square face, and return the face to square at impact.

NOTE: The face angle of the putter at impact accounts for more than 80 percent of a balls starting direction.

To see the other 2 elements you need to develop a great putting stroke, go here!

Source: Tom Stickney II, Golfwrx

Pictures: Tom Stickney II

Thanks for reading – Putting is a game within a game – 4 keys to success!

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Let's master the uneven lie chip shot to shoot lower scores!

Let’s master the uneven lie chip shot to shoot lower scores!

Let’s master the uneven lie chip shot to shoot lower scores!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

We all know (or hopefully know) that the quickest way for the average golfer to lower their scores is to practice their chipping and putting.  Usually, when I see students practicing their chipping, most of the time it is from an even lie.  Those are not typically the lies you get on the golf course.  So find some tough spots to chip from.  Uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies.  From the rough and under some trees.  Now, these are the shots that will make you a better player.  Here PGA member Mike Malaska gives some valuable instruction on exactly how to master the uneven lie chip shot right now!

Chipping from an uneven lie requires a different technique than chipping from a flat lie. 2011 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Malaska shows how to chip the ball straight at the flag from sidehill lies.

Source: PGA.com  Mike Malaska

Picture: Neville Wootton

Thanks for watching Let’s master the uneven lie chip shot to shoot lower scores!  Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

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Train to have "Quiet Eyes" to be a much better putter!

Train to have “Quiet Eyes” to be a much better putter!

Train to have “Quiet Eyes” to be a much better putter!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

I read an article on “quiet eyes” about 2 years ago and found it very interesting.  

Now realize that I missed the point entirely! I thought that if I kept my eyes very still and stayed looking at the ball the entire time and actually saw the spot where the ball was after I hit it, I had quiet eyes.  

As this study reported here by Keely Levins of  Golf Digest, it is far more than that.  

Looking at the specific part of the hole for the right amount of time permits your brain to automatically perform that task.  Read on and use the link below to read the entire article about golf and all athletic endeavors!

The Atlantic published this really cool piece about precision skills and why some people seem to be better at them than others.

They used the example of free-throw shooters, and how we usually look at someone who makes a ton of free throws and chalk it up to that person being really coordinated or really athletic. But new research shows it’s more complex than that.

The research discusses a theory called “quiet eye”, and it explains success at precision skills through what’s going on mentally, not athletically.

Scientists used eye-tracking technology (I have no idea how you get your hands on that, but it sounds awesome) to see what people are looking at right before, during, and after they performed their task – like shooting a free throw, or stroking a putt.

Train to have "Quiet Eyes" to be a much better putter!

(Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

 

The simplified version boils down to:

If you’re looking at the right part of the cup, for the right amount of time, you’re going to be a better putter – because you’re giving your brain the correct info to successfully conduct the task at hand.
 
 
 
 
Thanks for watching Train to have “Quiet Eyes” to be a much better putter!

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Who are the best putters who ever lived - #1 is no Surprise!

Who are the best putters who ever lived – #1 is no Surprise!

Who are the best putters who ever lived – #1 is no Surprise!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

It comes as no surprise that Tiger Woods is the best putter EVER!  

What does come as a surprise to me is that Bobby Locke, long thought of as the best putter in the world in the ’40s, the ’50s, and even into the ’60s, is so far behind Tiger Jack.  (Do you think Golf Digest has a bias towards Americans?)

The one common denominator with all of these players is that they did not become great putters by chance.  All of them put long, backbreaking hours on the putting green to get to where they are today in the standings.  Putting does not require strength or flexibility, so go to the putting green tomorrow and start yourself on the road to becoming an excellent putter!  

Thanks so much to Golf Digest for putting this fascinating set of statistics together!

We Spoke to more than 100 players on the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tours to name the best putters among them and the best overall since 1950 (five for each). They came back with a question of their own. Do you mean who putts the best day in and day out? and Is it the most clutch putter? and The one who never three-putts? The answer is all of the above. The player who cleans up five-footers on Sunday has to get a nod, as should the most consistent putter over the full season. Here’s who the players chose.

  1. Tiger Woods.
  2. Jack Nicklaus.
  3. Brad Faxon
  4. Steve Stricker
  5. Bobby Locke.

 

Who are the best putters who ever lived - #1 is no Surprise!

Source: Golf Digest 

Pictures: Golf Digest   Jim Epler

Thanks for reading – Who are the best putters who ever lived – #1 is no Surprise!

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Paula Creamer teaches you that in putting to Keep it Low!

Paula Creamer teaches you that in putting to Keep it Low!

Paula Creamer teaches you that in putting to Keep it Low!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Keeping the putter head low to the ground is a technique used by most good putters.  

It gives the ball a smoother roll and prevents hitting the ball on the upswing, getting the ball slightly airborne on long putts.  Paula Creamer has been a consistently good putter on the LPGA Tour for several years.  Along with Golf Digest, Paula brings us a great drill to teach yourself to keep your putter low to the ground through impact and on the follow-through!

Paula Creamer offers advice for good contact and predictable speed: To avoid pulling up on short putts and hitting them weakly, practice putting with only your right hand while your left hangs straight down.

Source: Golf Digest   Paula Creamer

Thanks for watching – Paula Creamer teaches you that in putting to Keep it Low!

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There is absolutely no Stinkin' Thinkin' when you are Puttin'

There is absolutely no Stinkin’ Thinkin’ when you are Puttin’

There is absolutely no Stinkin’ Thinkin’ when you are Puttin’

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Thinking mechanical thoughts is never a good thing when playing golf, but mechanical thoughts can totally ruin the game when it comes to putting.  

My friend and well known putting instructor Glenn Coombes always says, “No Stinkin’ Thinkin””

So here, Dave Marsh for iGolfTV gives us a good tip on distracting the mind for the task at hand and allowing your natural instinct to take over.  Try this, I think you’ll like it!

Source: iGolfTV  Dave Marsh

Thanks for watching – There is absolutely no Stinkin’ Thinkin’ when you are Puttin’

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7 Ways to being a Better Putter - #4 is a Gem!

7 Ways to being a Better Putter – #4 is a Gem!

7 Ways to being a Better Putter – #4 is a Gem!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

We all want to putt better, that’s for sure.  

To putt better, we need to improve our green reading.  Dave DeNunzio, the contributing writer for GOLF.com, has put together a list of 7 great putting tips by 7 of the top putting instructors around. (I wonder why he didn’t pick me?)  After checking out these tips, I can guarantee that you will putt better in your next round. (But you must practice first!)

7 Ways to being a Better Putter - #4 is a Gem!

Adam Scott is one of the first to use “Express” green reading by AimPoint Technologies. Has his green-reading improved?

You read almost every putt, but if you’re like most players, your routine is guesswork disguised as green-reading. That won’t get you close to the hole, let alone “in.” You’re not the only one reading, and weeping, on the greens.

A new Golf Magazine study shows that America is massively misjudging the slope under its collective FootJoys, under-reading putts by a whopping 65 percent, on average. As a new season beckons, now’s the time to raise your reading level—and save a fistful of strokes. PGA Tour star Adam Scott has cracked the code, becoming the world’s best green-reader, so start by trying the 11-time Tour winner’s groundbreaking method.

Beyond Scott, we have six more easy-to-learn techniques from golf’s keenest putting minds. You’ll soon detect the subtlest bumps, bends and breaks, learning to read the trickiest greens as if they have subtitles.

7 Ways to being a Better Putter – #4 is a Gem!

FIRST THINGS FIRST: We Seriously Under-Read Our Putts!

Sixty-five percent of golfers under-read the break on a typical putt, according to a Golf Magazine–sponsored study conducted at the Pinehurst Golf Academy. All of these flawed reads add up to lots of lost strokes, even with perfect putting technique. In our study, we assessed the green-reading skill of 72 golfers just like you. Initially, our research team simply sought to determine the ideal position from which to accurately detect slope (behind the hole, behind the ball, etc.), but results showed view position to be meaningless to good green-reading. Our study subjects misread everything, no matter where they stood or crouched. Some 25 years ago, Dave Pelz told everyday players to triple the amount of break they saw, and that’s as true now as it was then.

Here’s how to see the correct line every single time!

To see all 7 Tips on Improving your putting, Click Here.

Source: GOLF      Dave DeNunzio

Pictures: rioncm    Oliver Gunning

Thanks for reading – 7 Ways to being a Better Putter – #4 is a Gem!

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5 Keys from this weeks winner Brandt Snedeker - I like #3.

5 Keys from this weeks winner Brandt Snedeker – I like #3.

5 Keys from this weeks winner Brandt Snedeker – I like #3.

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Watching Brandt Snedeker win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the weekend, I was impressed by his “simpleness.” 

Nothing complicated about this guy’s swing.  Take it back and swing it through!  Even his short game is free of complications.  The average golfer could learn such a lot from watching his swing, chipping, and putting.

Peter Morrice from golfdigest.com gives us the 5 keys to Brandt’s victory!

Scoring is a skill, like being a great driver or being automatic out of the sand.

It’s about reading situations and picking the best shot, given the risks and where you are with your game. When I don’t have my A-game, I try to be real patient. I’d rather be in the middle of the green with a 30-footer I can make than miss in a bad spot and be fighting to avoid bogey. But when I’m on and see an opportunity, I’m trying to run the table. I do have some swing keys—I’ll show you a few I’ve worked on with my teacher, Todd Anderson—but scoring is as much seeing the shot as it is hitting it. Here’s how I approach the situations that can turn decent rounds good and good rounds great.

5 Keys from this weeks winner Brandt Snedeker - I like #3.

When you really have to hit a fairway, build in some control with your setup but swing freely to a full finish.

1. TOUGH DRIVES.

Don’t Try To Hit The Perfect Shot.

The most important tee shots are the ones where you can get into big trouble. Usually it’s just two or three a round, but one mistake can put a big number on your card. Remind yourself that you don’t have to hit your best drive of the day; you’re just trying to get the ball in play.

On these drives, I tee the ball a little lower, so it doesn’t stay in the air as long and can’t drift way off line. Then I grip down a half-inch and play for my typical shot—a little draw. Once I’ve done that, I know I’ve added some control into the shot, so I don’t need to do anything different with my swing. I stay aggressive and swing to a full finish (right). Trying to guide the ball away from trouble usually leads to a poor strike.

SNEDISM
The tendency on hard shots is to try to control everything. Relax: Feel your grip pressure at 6 or 7 out of 10, and keep the club in motion at address.

5 Keys from this weeks winner Brandt Snedeker - I like #3.

 

To play a draw, I focus on making a full turn back and then hitting from the inside.

5 Keys from this weeks winner Brandt Snedeker – I like #3.

2. IRON APPROACHES.

Think Conservative, Swing Aggressive.

This is where I have a decision to make: Go for the pin or play to the fat of the green. My draw makes pins on the right tougher to get to, but if the pin is left, I’m on it.

As for technique, a lot of players think about making a good turn with the driver but then swing all-arms with their irons. I often remind myself to make a full turn going back and then hit the inside part of the ball—I want to swing from in to out to hit my draw.

Once I get a good windup, I think of my entire right side as one moving thing, from knee to arm to shoulder (above). Smack it hard with the right side.

SNEDISM
When I’m making birdies, I break my own rule and go for most pins. My thinking is, I’ve created a little cushion. That helps me stay aggressive.

5 Keys from this weeks winner Brandt Snedeker - I like #3.

Turn your body through the ball to control contact and distance on wedge.

3. SHORT WEDGES.

Swing Back Short, Accelerate Through.

On any wedge shot, I expect to get within 10 feet. If the pin is up, I’ll fly it in with my 60-degree. If it’s back, I’ll go lower with my 55.

Amateurs are obsessed with putting spin on these shots, and they think the way to do it is to hit down steeply. But a shallow swing with body turn gives you a better strike and predictable spin. Picture a baseball batter with a big turn through (right). I’ll even make practice swings at knee high to get that rotary feel.

The worst thing is to make a big backswing so you have to ease off the shot. Go back shorter, then turn to the target.

SNEDISM
Practice hitting wedges to measured targets. Make full and partial swings, and check distances. On the course, you have to know your numbers.

 

Set the putterface square at address and just pop it in with a short stroke.

4. FIVE-FOOTERS.

Keep The Putterface Looking At The Hole.

On short putts, you can think make or miss, so always think make. The target is the smallest you face, so set the putter square at address and don’t let it change.

People ask me about my pop stroke on short putts. It’s true, my putterhead hits the ball and basically stops (above). Why? Because the impact with the ball absorbs energy. If the putter kept going, it would mean I’m manipulating the motion.

I also use a strong left-hand grip, meaning my hand is turned away from the target on the club. This limits face rotation during the stroke, and less rotation means I’m making putts.

SNEDISM
Practicing five-footers tests your mechanics because you have to be precise. You can check aim and alignment, and if you kept the face square.

 

I picture a wide track with the ball always working toward the hole off the high side.

5 Keys from this weeks winner Brandt Snedeker – I like #3.

5. 15-FOOTERS

Give Them All A Chance To Drop

Putting is where I feel like I have an advantage. I think the reason is, I’m always trying to make these mid-range putts. If you’re thinking two-putt, you’ll rarely knock one in, because you lose your aggressiveness.

Unless you have major flaws in your stroke, these putts are more about feel than mechanics. When I read a putt, I see a track four or five inches wide that arcs into the hole (right). Depending on speed, I know any ball on that track has a chance. Make sure your putts are always coming in from the high side—and never leave them short.

When you get too specific with your line, you just add tension. Give yourself some leeway, some room for error. It’ll free up your stroke.

Source: Peter Morrice   Golfdigest.com

Pictures: J.D. Cuban  Keith Allison

Thanks for reading – 5 Keys from this weeks winner Brandt Snedeker – I like #3.

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