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Putting. Back short, accelerate, follow through. Worst advice ever?? Read this.

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

Like many, I have been working on improving my putting stroke lately. Had some great success after reading the "Instinct Putting" book by Eric Alpenfels (Director of golf in Pinehurst). Basically, look at the cup while putting, and it works. Off subject. What I am amazed to read tonight is from instructor David Orr ( www.orrgolf.com ). I read on the Golfwrx forum about a guy who took a lesson from David to improve his putting. David tells him this....

"Take it back short, accelerate , and follow-through is the absolute worst putting advice in the history of golf...we've done over 21 studies in putting including one on Dynamic profiles that include acceleration and peak velocity profiles..."over -acceleration" with peak velocity occurring after impact is the main culprit behind those that lack touch and feel. The best putters in the world have peak velocity occurring either at low point of the arc of attack or impact...this distance is approximately a "1 1/2" window for success."

-David Orr


So what is to date the most sound piece of advice I have on putting is a bit of a myth? Well, sort of. Looks like folks doing this that have the putter head at "peak velocity" after contact are going to have poor distance control and feel. The 1.5" window is just before the ball, and the ball (impact) and this is what David says all great putters have in common. If you go by this "Take it back short, accelerate, and follow through" approach, you may want to give some serious thought to the point of "peak velocity".


This info was found on the below thread from another forum if anyone wants to read more. Great thread. The info quoted above was from post #28...

http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/index....owtopic=202247







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post #2 of 40

Re: Putting. Back short, accelerate, follow through. Worst advice ever?? Read this.

That is interesting. Personally I have found a lot more success this season with a longer back-swing in my putting stroke, and then letting the putter (mallet) just fall back into the ball. So I guess this makes sense to me.
post #3 of 40

Re: Putting. Back short, accelerate, follow through. Worst advice ever?? Read this.

No advice is universal.

What works for one may be poison for another.

Plenty of "accelerators" were great putters.
Plenty with long, fluid strokes were great putters.

It's what works for you.
post #4 of 40

Re: Putting. Back short, accelerate, follow through. Worst advice ever?? Read this.

 
Originally Posted by beachbreak View Post
No advice is universal.

What works for one may be poison for another.

Plenty of "accelerators" were great putters.
Plenty with long, fluid strokes were great putters.

It's what works for you.

 

While "what works for you" is true, the thing is, the best putters all tend to reach the peak speed just before the ball like Dan and David said.


My follow through is about 2x as long as my backswing. My speed is always good.

 

It turns out, though, that when I'm measured my peak speed is just before the golf ball.

post #5 of 40

Re: Putting. Back short, accelerate, follow through. Worst advice ever?? Read this.

here's the thing. you shouldn't be trying to accelerate because then you will get wristy. BUT if you have a solid arc motion, then the laws of gravity will create in-control acceleration
post #6 of 40

Re: Putting. Back short, accelerate, follow through. Worst advice ever?? Read this.

I don't have a leg to stand on here, but I have learned that whether you take it back long or short, not following through long is a recipe for disaster.

Regardless of whether you like constant velocity or acceleration everybody can agree that you don't want deceleration.
post #7 of 40

Re: Putting. Back short, accelerate, follow through. Worst advice ever?? Read this.

can agree that you don't want deceleration.
Words of wisdom there Marinemike!
post #8 of 40

so what do you think is a good drill for over accelerators across the globe?

 

The intent would be to try to get a more symmetrical stroke with peak velocity of the putter head in the window of opportunity between low point and the ball.

post #9 of 40

Makes no sense at all! It's very simple, if you're MAX speed is in the 1.5" before striking the ball, then you are DECELERATING at impact. The only possible way to accelerate through the ball is for your MAX speed to come after impact. Acceleration doesn't mean 100mph, it simply means you are increasing whatever speed you are currently at. No way can you develop "feel" if you are decelerating at impact. Over-acceleration would be like going from 0-60 in 2.3 seconds. Acceleration could be going from 0-2.3 in 60 seconds.

post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by reedf View Post

Makes no sense at all! It's very simple, if you're MAX speed is in the 1.5" before striking the ball, then you are DECELERATING at impact.

 

Yep.

 

The best putters in the world reach their maximum speed BEFORE impact and are, thus, decelerating slightly when they contact the ball.

 

That's exactly what we said above.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by reedf View Post

The only possible way to accelerate through the ball is for your MAX speed to come after impact. Acceleration doesn't mean 100mph, it simply means you are increasing whatever speed you are currently at. No way can you develop "feel" if you are decelerating at impact. Over-acceleration would be like going from 0-60 in 2.3 seconds. Acceleration could be going from 0-2.3 in 60 seconds.

 

Actually, the opposite is true. Do some reading. a1_smile.gif

 

FWIW I'm glad this thread has come up again.

 

P.S. Here's my SAM PuttLab data from 2011. My stroke's improved a little since then (but I got an 89% on this test, so I was already pretty darn good).

 

__accel.jpg

 

You'll notice a few things. The thin black line is "impact" for the average of the ten putts hit.

 

  1. There's virtually no acceleration into the ball (positive or negative [which would be "deceleration"]). If anything I tended to have a teeny tiny bit of acceleration, which I fixed by moving the ball about an inch farther forward in my stance.
  2. The shaft flex even on a ten-foot putt slows the shaft down, then it kicks forward a bit (it's still decelerating, but it gets close to steady speed).
  3. My follow-through is still longer (it's better now, too), but you can see how I let the putter "coast" out a lot more on the downswing.

 

So as I said back in 2009, even though my follow-through was much longer than my backswing, I was still not positively accelerating at impact. I've always been very good at controlling my speed. It's not a coincidence.

post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

  • The shaft flex even on a ten-foot putt slows the shaft down, then it kicks forward a bit (it's still decelerating, but it gets close to steady speed).

Is that what's causing that little bump of acceleration right after impact?

post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Is that what's causing that little bump of acceleration right after impact?

 

Yes, but it's not (positive) acceleration. You'll note it never crosses to the positive side of zero, so it's just slowing down at a less rapid pace.

post #13 of 40

I don`t think it was David Orr, but read an article by another putting guru who had studied the best pro putters compared to amateurs and basically said the same thing (among some other conclusions).

 

I think he gave this analogy- If you are driving a car and want to be going 60 MPH a mile from where you are currently stopped would you:

a) slowly accelerate so that you reached 60 at exactly a mile away.

b) quickly accelerate to 90 a half mile away and then try to slow down to exactly 60 a mile away.

c) accelerate to 60 and then try to maintain the same speed both before and after the 1 mile mark.

 

Basically you want the putter to be neither accelerating nor decelerating just before or after impact.  Now if I could actually find a way to do this on the course, I think I would reduce my number of 3 putts. 

post #14 of 40

How would you go about teaching this to someone? Is it just a case of getting on the sam puttlab and doing it until the graph looks good, are there any drills to help with this? 

How does the correlation/causation thing stand up? E.g. does doing this stuff make you have good speed control, or does learning speed control through practice make you have these stats?

 

I have pretty good speed control (it is actually the only thing in my putting that is good) - and I defo feel this same stuff Erik is producing here, even though I have always read and been told to accelerate through the ball. Seems the subconscious finds a way to override poor information if you practice enough (kind of like the nick Faldo ball flight laws thingy). 

post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Young View Post

How would you go about teaching this to someone? Is it just a case of getting on the sam puttlab and doing it until the graph looks good, are there any drills to help with this? 

 

Tossing aside one of the biggest things I see (people have a hard time controlling their distances if they have a putter that is too heavy [uncommon] or too light [really common] for them), I'd say the biggest problem is this: people take short backstrokes and then NEED to accelerate quickly to hit the ball far enough.

 

I prefer a feeling of a slow, long backstroke and then often the feeling of just letting gravity drop the putter head on the golf ball from there. A teeny bit of float loading helps too, and adds a bit of "pop" to the ball without it being at all violent.

 

So to answer your question in three words: backstroke too short.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Young View Post

How does the correlation/causation thing stand up? E.g. does doing this stuff make you have good speed control, or does learning speed control through practice make you have these stats?

 

A bit of both. We've never tested a golfer who we consider to have good speed control (confirmed via testing) who has a peak velocity more than two inches behind the ball or right at the ball (those who would have it "one inch past the ball see it at the ball instead because the ball slows the putter down that last little bit).

 

The poorest putters (distance control wise) have two problems, typically:

  1. They are often still accelerating right into the golf ball.
  2. The location of their peak putter head speed varies the widest amounts.

 

Good putters have learned to control their putter head speed properly, and poorer putters will become better putters if they're taught to do that. So again, both.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Young View Post

I have pretty good speed control (it is actually the only thing in my putting that is good) - and I defo feel this same stuff Erik is producing here, even though I have always read and been told to accelerate through the ball. Seems the subconscious finds a way to override poor information if you practice enough (kind of like the nick Faldo ball flight laws thingy). 

 

I agree. But as with the Nick Faldo and Ball Flight Lies, it's an impediment to learning that ideally can simply be removed so that you don't have to "over-ride" or overcome poor information. Get the right information and remove the impediments (speaking generally, not to Adam).

post #16 of 40

So feeling like its a little of a pop stroke may good be a good thought for someone adjusting from one extremity to another.

post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by miami8miami View Post

So feeling like its a little of a pop stroke may good be a good thought for someone adjusting from one extremity to another.

 

I don't think so. I'd disagree with that in almost every situation.

post #18 of 40

So how would practice changing the peak velocity of the putter head from too far past the ball to just before impact?

 

I would assume longer backstroke shorter post impact stroke. That would be the feel. In actuality it would be symmetrical on the backstroke and downstroke.

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