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nickolasjt

Amateur vs Pro putting stroke

59 posts in this topic

So I've noticed, that the BIG difference between a pro golfer and a very good amateur is how many putts they make.  Can someone explain what the pro DOES DIFFERENTLY, or what they work on to improve their stroke.  Furyk, most people think he is a bad putter, when he is better than any collegiate golfer!  What is so different?

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They pretty much drain everything in the 3-5' range. Also lag putting, it seems like no matter how far away they are, they put it in the range above then drain it.
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Originally Posted by nickolasjt

Furyk, most people think he is a bad putter, when he is better than any collegiate golfer!  What is so different?



"Most people" who know nothing about golf might think so.

Furyk is an awesome putter. He's just been off a bit over the last year.

Did you watch him putt on Sunday at Royal Melbourne? He made everything.

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The biggest thing I notice is that pros have a little more "hit" on the ball when putting compared to us hackers. We tend to try and push or feather the ball forward where they make a conscious effort to punch it forward.

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Pros can consistently hit their line.

By the way, statistically, there is far less difference between pros and top (or even average) amateurs on the green than there is in the long game.

Screen shot 2011-11-21 at 12.53.52 PM.png

Screen shot 2011-11-21 at 12.54.01 PM.png

If you're interested, the full text of the research paper can be found here:

http://www.columbia.edu/~mnb2/broadie/Assets/broadie_wscg_v_200804.pdf

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The stroke itself isn't anything special. There are only so many ways to swing a putter a foot back and down through the ball. Where pros differ is the consistency. They have a very repeatable stroke so they always hit the ball where they aim, and for the most part, have very good distance control as well. It's not an accident when they hit the 50 foot double breaker over a ridge to 2 feet. Practice, practice, practice.
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To mirror what Stretch said, there's actually less difference between the pros and amateurs than you might think.

David Edel found that 80% of golfers can't aim their putters at the hole from six feet. Guess what % of PGA Tour pros can? 20% - 80% still can't aim.

PGA Tour pros putt better than some amateurs, in part, because their greens are better. Faster greens let you make smaller strokes. Smoother greens have less irregularities. Their greens are nearly the same speeds each week. After adjusting everyone would putt better on faster greens.

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Just like in a golf swing they have a pattern.  They are either a little closed or open at impact and have learned to adjust their aim to accommodate for it.  I agree with Erik on the greens being better, helps the stroke and what the ball does.  Also the equipment is better.  Like with Edel putter fittings they can customize the sight lines, weight, loft.  Similar to a driver fitting, they just make their stroke and it's built to produce "optimal" numbers.

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How much of this difference do you think has to do with experience reading the green and the lines. Or for that matter having some help doing it with better caddy's?

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Everyone would putt better on better greens.  I am not sure if increasing the stimp from 11 or 12 to 14 would really help anyone putt better.

I think the translation of Edel's stats is that aim isn't important (in the context of how he measured). The average pro adjusts enough so it doesn't matter. I certaintly haven't heard of any pro having an Edel fitting and dropping 2 strokes a round due to better putting.

At the end of the day, I don't think the stroke is the difference between the pro and the good amateur. It is more the ability to read the green and figure out the break and speed. If everyone had to sink 10 footers on perfectly level shots, I would expect the grouping to be much closer than on a 10 foot downhill with 2 feet of break.

Originally Posted by iacas

To mirror what Stretch said, there's actually less difference between the pros and amateurs than you might think.

David Edel found that 80% of golfers can't aim their putters at the hole from six feet. Guess what % of PGA Tour pros can? 20% - 80% still can't aim.

PGA Tour pros putt better than some amateurs, in part, because their greens are better. Faster greens let you make smaller strokes. Smoother greens have less irregularities. Their greens are nearly the same speeds each week. After adjusting everyone would putt better on faster greens.



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Originally Posted by x129

Everyone would putt better on better greens.  I am not sure if increasing the stimp from 11 or 12 to 14 would really help anyone putt better.


Agreed. Yes, a faster green allows you make smaller strokes but it magnifies any errors in the amount of the stroke - i.e. errors in speed. Perhaps after adjusting you would put better, but adjusting is easier said than done. (It sure seemed to cause some problems at the Presidents Cup - maybe that was more due to the severe slopes, but every green has some slope.)

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Here's an interesting stat, and someone refine this if I got the distance wrong, but do you know what distance from the hole pros are 50% from? Six feet. They only make half their putts from six feet. It may be 8 feet, like I said, someone will correct me & that's okay - the point is, it's not like the pros make everything.

But I'll tell you one area where the pros are light-years ahead of amateurs - reading greens. They may not make the putt but they usually have the read correct. And if they miss it tends to be on the high side of the hole - that's why they call it the 'pro side'. Reason is pretty simple - a putt below the hole has zero chance of going in.

I see this difference playing in scrambles. Invariably my partners do not play enough break, or don't read any break. We will be reading our 20-foot birdie putt & I'll say 'three balls outside right lip' and they'll look at me like I'm stoned - they just don't picture that much break. They'll then say 'Well it's how hard you hit it' - well duh, and I am mentally picturing a putt slowing down as it reaches the hole and therefore breaking more. A slower-moving putt breaks more. So yeah, if you hit it harder it will break less - and if you miss the putt you'll have a miss on the low side and 8 feet coming back. I'd rather have 6 inches left on the high side, thank you very much.

Pros also tend to make every putt a breaking putt in their mind. I do this too. I want to see break, so I have more of the cup to work with. In other words, if a putt is straight, where do you aim? The middle of the cup. But that only leaves half of the hole to play with. I rarely if ever aim at the middle of the cup - it's inside left or right lip or whatever. More hole to work with. That turns lip-outs into holed putts.

I live in Florida, and we have another element to deal with here - grain. Bermuda doesn't grow straight up. It grows at an angle. You must read the grain if you want any shot at making the putt, let alone leaving it close. It greatly affects the speed and break of a putt. Snowbirds come down here & cannot understand why a downhill putt was left short. Because it was into the grain.

I am not a pro-level putter, not by a long shot. But it is the best part of my game. A friend of mine who is a pro comes to me for putting lessons - my point in pointing that out is I have given this a lot of thought. Good putting will save your bacon.

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If you are putting on 11-12 stimp greens day in and day out you are playing at a very fine facility. Less than 5 % of greens regularly run that fast. And 14 is unattainable at a vast majority of facilities. They would lose their greens. Royal Melbournes were 14 after double cut and double rolling. The statistic that Eric alluded to regarding average conditions is very true in my mind. Most amateurs play at varying places with varying speeds and varying conditions. Pros play at regulated and controlled green speeds and conditions.Tthe input the average tour pro has to a potential putt is far superior to the average amateur. The am typically has just his read. And even the best again just has one view. A pro has an expertly trained caddie whose compensation requires absolute precision, and also their own read that again is determining that pros livelihood. Given these differences in the strategy of making the putt, I believe positions the pro for superior outcome regardless of actual putt stroke perfection. Add to the previous the substantial practice that the average pro endures vs what the average amateur incorporates into their practice and the outcomes have to point to vastly superior results for pros. This doesn't even incorporate the arguement that the average pro is standardly standing over a putt that is closer to the hole on GIR's and closer to the hole after short game approaches. By any measure a tour pro is a vastly superior putter to amateurs.

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Originally Posted by iacas

PGA Tour pros putt better than some amateurs, in part, because their greens are better. Faster greens let you make smaller strokes. Smoother greens have less irregularities. Their greens are nearly the same speeds each week. After adjusting everyone would putt better on faster greens.

On tour quality greens 5 footers are more like 3 footers.

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Couple interesting videos.  I'm going to be doing some stuff on putting that's been working for me.

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Originally Posted by x129

Everyone would putt better on better greens.  I am not sure if increasing the stimp from 11 or 12 to 14 would really help anyone putt better.

The studies I've seen show that faster greens = better putting (again, allowing for a warmup or adjustment period). I can't cite them, I just remember that as the take-away from about two or three studies I've seen. Haven't seen a contradictory one.


Originally Posted by x129

I think the translation of Edel's stats is that aim isn't important (in the context of how he measured). The average pro adjusts enough so it doesn't matter. I certaintly haven't heard of any pro having an Edel fitting and dropping 2 strokes a round due to better putting.

Actually you hear about it more than you realize.

Tiger Woods aims 4 degrees right. What's he work on all the time? Releasing the toe, because he's gotta get it back to square. When he doesn't have 3 hours a day to practice that timing, what do we get? Tiger missing three footers. Four footers. Five footers.

Point is pros practice enough to ingrain their compensations. Tiger needs to time closing the face 4 degrees at impact.

Jim Furyk switches putters and wins the FedExCup. Maybe he aimed that one better. Maybe it fit better with whatever compensations he was making in his stroke.

If you (generally, not you specifically) want to rely on a putter that has compensations, I say go for it. But when you're not making putts, you've got a longer checklist of things to go through because you might not even be aiming your putter properly.


Originally Posted by x129

At the end of the day, I don't think the stroke is the difference between the pro and the good amateur. It is more the ability to read the green and figure out the break and speed. If everyone had to sink 10 footers on perfectly level shots, I would expect the grouping to be much closer than on a 10 foot downhill with 2 feet of break.

It'd be nifty to find out.

Remember, pros put 3 hours a day in on their putting (or whatever, even if it's one hour - it's about 58 minutes more than the average golfer).

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Originally Posted by x129

I think the translation of Edel's stats is that aim isn't important (in the context of how he measured). The average pro adjusts enough so it doesn't matter. I certaintly haven't heard of any pro having an Edel fitting and dropping 2 strokes a round due to better putting.



Maybe not necessarily Edel, but that is exactly what Scotty, Odyssey, Taylormade, Bettinardi do for their players.  Tiger has a sightdot on the sightline and not line, Graeme McDowell, has no dots and two lines.  I've seen Scotty putters with 3 lines, 2 lines, one dot, nothing, a line on the sightline.  Then there is the variety of different necks.  OEM's do this as well as fit the lofts of the putters to the players impact alignments.

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It's just interesting.... I agree and disagree on the fast greens theory..... I find it a little tougher to putt on nice fast greens, you can't put as good of a pace on a ball,, a smaller stroke for most people means a tougher time to square the putter face?

Quote:

==

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