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Putting Help - Down the line stroke vs. arc stroke

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Interesting that I just saw another young lad asking for putting help as I logged on to ask for some myself...

 

Anyway, my putting used to be the strength of my game, but as other parts have caught up, I'm wondering if it's time for me to reconsider my putting technique and ingrain a new one to add the consistency I want. 

 

Question - I've always used the "down-the-line" stroke espoused by Dave Pelz because it made sense to me and it has worked relatively well. I'm pretty good from 10 feet and under, and my ability to judge speed is generally pretty good as well, so I rarely three putt from less than 30 feet. Even over 30 I do ok. However, lag putting with a down-the-line stroke seems unnatural and difficult, and I've read several times now that an arc stroke (whatever the official term is) is much better for lag putting. I think even Pelz himself has changed his opinion of what he wrote in his Putting Bible back in the day. I've started using that stroke from 40 feet+ because I feel very stiff when trying to maintain a DTL pendulum motion for long putts.

 

Is it worth scrapping a DTL stroke for an arc stroke, or am I just trying to create more of a headache than I need? Are both viable options, or is one distinctly superior to the other?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 20

If you do a search through the forums, you'll find that most people feel that straight back, straight through putting is nonsense. It may be something you feel but aren't actually doing.

post #3 of 20

Theres no such thing as a, "down the line" stroke.  When you swing something around a fixed point, it has to move in an arc.  That simple physics.  Unless you are going to bend over to the point where your back is parallel to the ground, DTL is not possible.

post #4 of 20

 You can have a down the line putting stroke, if you manipulate your hands and shoulder angles. Basically to cover the club head coming inside, by forcing the hands outward the same amount you can achieve a down the line putting stroke, straight back straight through. Though you are adding in a ton of extra movements.. 

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

So, in all seriousness, is Dave Pelz nuts? He has an entire book dedicated to that stroke technique and has claimed that some of the greatest putters in history have used it.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

Just did a little research to answer my own question - yeah, it looks like he's nuts :doh: 

post #7 of 20

Even one of Pelz best students, Mickelson says that SBST is manipulative, but in theory it makes good sense. Michelson prefers a slight arc in his stroke accordingly in his DVD instruction.

For me after 20 putts in a round I prefer to start out with an arcing stroke and then find it easier to "straight out my putting stroke" then to go the other way, start off straight then figure out a way to" curve my putt" though I can see there is many different ways to putt and no way is wrong.

Hell ,If you stick the putter  in your ass and make putts then Im okay with that but the USGA will find a way to make that illegal.

post #8 of 20

I would never advocate a straight back putting stroke. The putting stroke should have minimal moving parts, you need accuracy and feel. Moving the arms away from the body, or adjusting the hands just adds some extra compensation to the stroke. I get what Pelz wants to say, but he's advocating the opposite of his intent.

 

Honestly it doesn't matter if the follow through is arc in, straight, or arc out, because the ball is already rolling. All the follow through does is create a consistent feel for how you want the ball to start.

post #9 of 20

For me, and many other golfers I believe, putting is very much about feel.  I'm still struggling with identifying what feels good!  However, I think the strength of the SBST "feel" is if, for the individual, the sensation is that they are making that move and it makes sinking putts easier.

 

I subscribe to the belief that it is pretty much impossible to make that SBST move without a lot of extra wrist manipulation, and that makes me crazy.  So for me, just allowing the putter to arc somewhat is liberating.  I'm currently fiddling with allowing more wrist hinge to creep into my stroke (there's a nearby thread on Snedeker's putting style).  I'm finding that to also relieve some stresses.  Less stresses in a putting stroke should, I currently believe, be a worthy goal that I hope will result in more consistent results.

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchoye View Post
 

Even one of Pelz best students, Mickelson says that SBST is manipulative, but in theory it makes good sense. Michelson prefers a slight arc in his stroke accordingly in his DVD instruction.

For me after 20 putts in a round I prefer to start out with an arcing stroke and then find it easier to "straight out my putting stroke" then to go the other way, start off straight then figure out a way to" curve my putt" though I can see there is many different ways to putt and no way is wrong.

Hell ,If you stick the putter  in your ass and make putts then Im okay with that but the USGA will find a way to make that illegal.

Maybe I need to stick the putter in my ass! I just won't use a long putter with a jumbo grip... :bugout: 

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoan2 View Post

Maybe I need to stick the putter in my ass! I just won't use a long putter with a jumbo grip... g2_eek.gif  
Probably still anchoring, anyways.
post #12 of 20
Isn't it a matter of degrees? I agree there is no actual SBST stroke but there are strokes, mine for instance, that open/closes to a lesser degree than true arc paths. I have been fit twice at Ping and had nominal movement (2-4 degrees) where I was told the average arc is more like 7-9 degrees and extreme arcs 11+ degrees. I am not saying one is better than another just that differences exist. It is also my understanding that if you are attempting to putt SBST you should use at least a face balanced putter and even a center shafted putter.
post #13 of 20

I can get onboard with the notion of different putting strokes have different degrees of arc, however, there is no such thing as a true SBST.

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaijinGolfer View Post

I can get onboard with the notion of different putting strokes have different degrees of arc, however, there is no such thing as a true SBST.

I agree. All I am saying is those thought of as SBST are simply putting is a much smaller arc. The Ping TR putter I was fitted for and the ones in that series are available in three versions, Straight, Slight Arc and Strong Arc. Maybe using the terms Slight Arc, Standard Arc and Strong Arc would have been more accurate.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwheelerk View Post


I agree. All I am saying is those thought of as SBST are simply putting is a much smaller arc. The Ping TR putter I was fitted for and the ones in that series are available in three versions, Straight, Slight Arc and Strong Arc. Maybe using the terms Slight Arc, Standard Arc and Strong Arc would have been more accurate.


I agree.  If its a slight arc, its still an arc and not SBST.  If people are going to understand each other and discuss ideas, we need to get the terminology right.

post #16 of 20

Oh god, were going to start nit picking about the name 'SBST', seriously.

 

We all know SBST is not an optimal way of putting, no need to get all bent out of shape on the fact it's named as such. What if they were never talking about what the putter actually does, but what a golfer feels like he's doing. Then it fits, because its an ambiguous definition based on a person's own golf game, now what the putter is actually doing.

post #17 of 20

Well, I'm sure that my stroke arcs, and I'm also pretty convinced that SBST as Pelz prescribes feels awkward and contrived to me. I'm also pretty convinced that most of Pelz' tour pro students, not just Mickelson, did not putt SBST.

 

However, if I'm working on my putting, I'm thinking posture, rhythm, touch, tempo, aiming, and reading (though not necessarily in that order). Hell, I'd invest a couple of hours adding and removing lead tape and testing the results for touch before I started worrying about whether I was SBST or arcing.

 

So, in answer to the OP, no I don't think it's worth "scrapping" the SBST to work on a more arcing stroke - but nor would I do anything to "preserve" a SBST path. I'd work directly on the things that I think matter much more  - and in the process accept whatever consequences there might be for my stroke path.

 

The funny thing is, I think even the factual information presented in Pelz' Putting Bible doesn't add up to a convincing case for SBST, or indeed worrying about stroke path of whatever shape.  Stroke path is probably the least important factor in putting, barring possibly the colour of your putter's face insert. Pelz' own data seems to point in that direction - and yet he labours the SBST thing beyond all reasonable justification.

 

I think there's some good stuff in Pelz' books - but I'm quite wary of the stroke mechanics he advocates.

post #18 of 20

Hi mmoan,

 

I'm on board with you likewise using the DTL method of putting.

My normal setup is having the putter slightly behind the ball for less than 20 footers.

I find on long putts, addressing the ball position with a 3" distance behind the ball at setup helps on longer putts.

I currently use the Odyssey Backstryke - Cyclone.

 

Club Rat

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