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Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
The way I build my putting stance is as follows:

1. Bend forward comfortably with both waist and knees bent.
2. Let arms fall down and hang in their natural positions
3. Put the putter wherever my hands are hanging.
4. Put the ball on the center-line of the putter.

When I do this, my eyes end up being about 6 inches to the inside and slightly behind the ball. I had a pro get on to me for not keeping my eyes over the ball. I've tried putting this way, and it does give me a much better view of the line to the hole. But my arms are crammed so close to me that I immediately move the putter head outside the target line on my backstroke. It feels like I have to jerk the putter to the inside to keep it on a natural arc. But I know that the eyes are incredibly important to putting. Do you think that what might be considered an inferior distance from the ball is offset by the purity of the stroke that occurs due to a more natural arm position? Or is the eye position really as important as this guy said?
post #2 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

Originally Posted by bunkerputt View Post
The way I build my putting stance is as follows:

1. Bend forward comfortably with both waist and knees bent.
2. Let arms fall down and hang in their natural positions
3. Put the putter wherever my hands are hanging.
4. Put the ball on the center-line of the putter.

When I do this, my eyes end up being about 6 inches to the inside and slightly behind the ball. I had a pro get on to me for not keeping my eyes over the ball. I've tried putting this way, and it does give me a much better view of the line to the hole. But my arms are crammed so close to me that I immediately move the putter head outside the target line on my backstroke. It feels like I have to jerk the putter to the inside to keep it on a natural arc. But I know that the eyes are incredibly important to putting. Do you think that what might be considered an inferior distance from the ball is offset by the purity of the stroke that occurs due to a more natural arm position? Or is the eye position really as important as this guy said?
hmm, just in my opinion....and what common sense would tell me......i would think that getting the putter fitted to your stroke would help get your eyes over the ball and allow you to have more room for your arms.

just my first reaction to your post.
post #3 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

I had my pro point out the same thing to me and I've changed it. I know the cramped feeling you're talking about, maybe you could try standing a little taller. From what I've read and heard it's pretty fundamental, you can get away from having your eyes outside the line of the ball, but not inside.
post #4 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

I had my Yes! putter fitted and that was one of the important parts that the fitter told me. Since my old putter was 2 1/2" too long I was too far away to get my eyes over the ball. They had a device that had a putter shaft that moved up and down and a mirror to look at to get my eyes over. I was told to move until I had my eyes over the mirror and was comfortable. Now I can get my eyes over the ball and usually two putt at the most (unless I misjudge my reads).
post #5 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

I have been expirementing with this as well. A local pro told me to have my left eye directly over the ball.

Stan Utley actually teaches to have your left eye slightly inside the ball. If you were to take your stance over the ball, and hold another ball at your left eye and than let that ball fall to the ground, it should drop just inside of the 1st ball. It has been working for me.

As far as feeling "cramped", have you been fitted for your putter. I wonder if it is to long.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

Thanks for the advice about fitting. At 35", it definitely may be too long for me. I don't grab it at the end of the handle, however. I usually grab it low; almost to the metal. I've tried to just imagine what kind of putter length would work by moving up and down the shaft and it strangely seems like something in the 26" range gets my eyes over the ball and lets my arms hang down naturally. But this is WAY to bent over for me. I don't think I could maintain this posture for very long. I've taken a look at the way my arms hang and they definitely have more bend in them than most people. I think the bend comes from 20 years of weight training (the pumped up body builder look). That bend puts my hands further away from my body than my upper arms are. So the way I compensate is to move the ball further away. I have, how they say, pretty good touch for a big guy. But I'd definitely like to improve in the putting game.
post #7 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

Originally Posted by bunkerputt View Post
Thanks for the advice about fitting. At 35", it definitely may be too long for me. I don't grab it at the end of the handle, however. I usually grab it low; almost to the metal. I've tried to just imagine what kind of putter length would work by moving up and down the shaft and it strangely seems like something in the 26" range gets my eyes over the ball and lets my arms hang down naturally. But this is WAY to bent over for me. I don't think I could maintain this posture for very long. I've taken a look at the way my arms hang and they definitely have more bend in them than most people. I think the bend comes from 20 years of weight training (the pumped up body builder look). That bend puts my hands further away from my body than my upper arms are. So the way I compensate is to move the ball further away. I have, how they say, pretty good touch for a big guy. But I'd definitely like to improve in the putting game.
I guess if you have big ol' lats it might be a problem. I don't know how you could offset that without bending way over. If so, as has been suggested you need a short putter. I think I personally would have trouble if I couldn't put my eyes directly over the ball.
post #8 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

I used to feel most comfortable with my eyes well outside the target line (ball close to feet). This stance had me feeling like my shoulders really were in control. However, I see how not having your eyes over your ball will give you nightmares aligning yourself as the distance of your putt changes...so now I get my eyes over the ball.
post #9 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

Nicklaus always wanted to be behind the ball.
Crenshaw's eyes are almost always inside the line.

You may have been corrected because of the degree.

Eyes over the line or slightly inside are both OK by me.
It's eyes outside the ball that creates that incurable pull.
post #10 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

Originally Posted by bunkerputt View Post
The way I build my putting stance is as follows:

1. Bend forward comfortably with both waist and knees bent.
2. Let arms fall down and hang in their natural positions
3. Put the putter wherever my hands are hanging.
4. Put the ball on the center-line of the putter.

When I do this, my eyes end up being about 6 inches to the inside and slightly behind the ball. I had a pro get on to me for not keeping my eyes over the ball. I've tried putting this way, and it does give me a much better view of the line to the hole. But my arms are crammed so close to me that I immediately move the putter head outside the target line on my backstroke. Or is the eye position really as important as this guy said?
Like other have said a finding the proper length (and lie) for a putter will go a long way to help you get setup in a good position. Eyes directly over the ball is the generally advocated position by many pros. CompuSport / ModelGolf did research in the 80 (and/or 90's) and said that they found the majority of tour pros had their eyes 2 inches inside the ball at address. 6 inches sounds extreme, and suggests your putter may not be a good length for you. Having the eyes behind the ball (instead of directly above it) is acceptable (just don't have it so far forward that it compromises your shoulder alignment).
post #11 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

A quick and dirty way to check eye position in relation to the ball is to put it in the hole of an upside down CD and then take your normal putting stance. The CD though has to reflect your image and unburned CD's might not. Anyone over 30 years old should have CD's for this use .
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

That's great advice. I've been doing a little testing with 32 and 33" putters and I'm able to get much closer to the ball. Probably about 2 inches inside and slightly behind. It feels like the ball is about even with my forehead above my left eye. It's good to know that's in the range of acceptability according to tour standards. I think the Pro must have been disturbed by the 6-inch distance and remembered a rule somewhere that said everyone everywhere should always all the time have their eyes directly over the ball. I don't really know how I ended up with a 35" putter anyway. I guess remember thinking it felt comfortable at the time.... I was definitely never fit for a putter, though.
post #13 of 26

Re: Putting eye position: Over the ball or not?

Originally Posted by bunkerputt View Post
I don't really know how I ended up with a 35" putter anyway. I guess remember thinking it felt comfortable at the time.... I was definitely never fit for a putter, though.
I was sure I needed a 35" putter but got fitted and was told I needed a 34". I was hesitant but took the advice. I have been putting with the shorter putter for maybe 4 months now and love it. I tried goofing around with my old 35" and it felt very awkward. I know I made a good choice in the shorter length.
post #14 of 26

I've experimented with my putting all winter. I've tried side saddle, arc, sbst, and even hockey style. I've tried wrist putting,arm putting and shoulder putting. I've even experimented with the vision part of putting such as eyes inside the ball, eyes over the ball, eyes in front of the ball, eyes behind the ball, and even finding the line crouching down and not looking after that. I've even toyed with just looking at the hole. My final solution that is working is as follows- Ball lined up inside left heel, eyes 8 inches inside the ball, (I've found that this enables me to see the line to the hole straight, if i put the ball any closer my vision is incorrect and the ball goes right) My eyes do not go straight down, but i see the ball at an angle. These things allow me to see the line correctly the aimer on the putter points toward the hole and that's where it goes. As far as mechanics i have found that rotating my shoulders slightly on wheel helps rather than up and down like a puppet. I make sure to keep the putter on the inside when i swing back which causes a slight arc. I focus on hitting the piece of the ball that the putter head was lined up with before i started my backswing. I hit the ball and hold my hands and arms still almost like a chip and i do not have a big follow through. For distance i just simply hit it harder and swing a little faster. My whole point is to try everything from every perspective until you find what works for you. Everyone's vision and movements are different and there is not one way to do it. Some of the best putters through history had an un-traditional stroke. Experiment and experiment again until you find what works.   

post #15 of 26

One thing about my old putter is that I know the sound it makes when I strike the ball squarely and the ball rolls so purely.I putt from an open stance,I don't see how  I can be anything but open to see the line better and get a sense of feel.I also get a better sense of the line from behind the cup looking back towards the ball .

post #16 of 26
I have adopted a push style putting stroke and when I putt like that eyes behind the ball the palm of my left hand pushes toward the hole I'm lefty
post #17 of 26
I had the same issue and didn't even realize how far inside I was until I started practicing with a putting mirror over the winter. I've always been too upright with my stance/posture (for full swing too) and have been working on it. Did feel a little cramped at first and had to choke down on my putter grip to get my alignment correct. Took some time to get comfortable with the new stance, but I find it much easier now to get a straight roll off the putter. I'd also highly recomend the putting mirror for practice.
post #18 of 26

Reply to OP:

 

From personal instruction with guru, reading gurus, etc., over last 20 years.

 

Eyes over Ball, or 

 

Eyes just inside ball and lead eye slightly behind ball

____

 

Other counsel or suggestions:

 

Yes, get fitted putter.

 

Get fit to your setup - if your setup is not working, you might consider changing it to what now appears to be the teaching norm -- a square setup with feet, knees, hips, shoulders, eyes -- all square. Not too hunched over, not too tall -- but just right...

 

As to aiming, I get about 10 feet behind the ball and find a spot in front of the ball to start the roll.

 

When addressing, I put my eye over the ball to make certain the aim is at the spot and the putter head is set correctly (loft and lie).

 

Then I move my body slightly back into my eyes slightly inside the ball position.

 

I don't take a practice stroke.

 

My best putts are when I don't stand over the ball, but my body is moving slightly to stay "athletic."

 

My eyes are not focused on the ball but on my spot just ahead of the ball (ala Dave Stockton). If you don't like to be ball-focused, it helps.

 

Let the ball go after a look at the line and then your spot (or ball). Best putts are when not lingering over the ball.

 

Ball position and stroke are for another topic...

 

good luck.

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