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Need a plan to improve putting

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

Carded an 84 today and an 85 yesterday.  First round I had 5 three putts and two missed 4-5 footers for birdie.  Second round I had 7 three putts and one missed 4 footer for birdie.  I think it's time I started devoting the same effort to my putting as I do my full swing...

 

Only problem is I have no idea where to start, how to practice, etc.  Whereas I can see/feel swing changes and improvements in my full swing, my putting stroke always feels like a crapshoot regardless of what I do.  I struggle with both line and distance.  

 

Does anyone have a good plan, routine, advice, story on how they got better at putting?  Sucks to have a great ballstriking day only to blow it on the greens.  

post #2 of 55

Take it for what it's worth from a higher handicap but I've struggled with putting all season.  Last two rounds have been by far my best putting rounds.

 

I set up and line up my putter to the line I want, as I always did, but instead of looking at the ball when I putt, I look at the hole.  My distance control has been much better and I haven't missed any 3 footers.

 

It's awkward because you want to look down at the ball, but after you get used to it, you can see the putter in your peripheral vision so you're not striking the ball blind and your arms seem to get the distance right.

post #3 of 55
develop a repeating stroke and a repeating routine before the stroke. That takes practice, practice, practice. Get a mat and putt at home, over and over. I worked on my stroke over one winter and by the time Spring came around, I was comfortable with it. What became MORE aggravating was the number of JUST missed and lipped out putts. But I realized that they would have been nowhere NEAR the hole the previous season. But it also cut down on misses inside 4 foot, and 3 putts fell to practically nothing. At one point, 4 rounds without a 3 putt. And that was BEFORE I put on the Super Stroke 3.0 grip on the putter.
post #4 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayG View Post

develop a repeating stroke and a repeating routine before the stroke. That takes practice, practice, practice. Get a mat and putt at home, over and over. I worked on my stroke over one winter and by the time Spring came around, I was comfortable with it. What became MORE aggravating was the number of JUST missed and lipped out putts. But I realized that they would have been nowhere NEAR the hole the previous season. But it also cut down on misses inside 4 foot, and 3 putts fell to practically nothing. At one point, 4 rounds without a 3 putt. And that was BEFORE I put on the Super Stroke 3.0 grip on the putter.

Agree 100% on practicing at home, and a lot. Keeping in mind that I'm also a high handicapper. But, I usually have only two or three 3 putts per round. Work on the stroke at home. And the pre-shot routine/practice swings will help.

 

As for distance, that can be improved by putting a lot, and keeping in your mind an image of how far back the putter goes to make the putt go 'X' distance. This is of course, variable due to green speeds and contours. But if you have a ballpark range of 'backswing lengths to putt distances' in your mind, it'll get you closer more often. Close enough to two putt, at least. 

 

Also, I like the advice of taking 3 or so practice swings, *while looking at the hole.* One that is definitely not hard enough, one that is definitely too hard, and then one that should be about right. Try to remember the feel of the 'about right' one, and replicate it with the ball there.  Or at least two practice swings, leaving the 'about right' for the putt itself. I do two or three depending on how close I was with the too hard and too soft ones. 

 

As for line, it's tougher to say on that. People seem to like the Aimpoint system. From what little I know, it sounds great to me.

 

Distance is more important for avoiding 3-putts though, so I'd worry about that more initially. 

 

A couple of other thoughts on putting, from my perspective.. 

 

Putting is the most personal part of golf, with the greatest amount of variance in  effective methods ad techniques. You have to find what works for you, and you have to practice the piss out of it till you own it. 

 

Don't be afraid to tinker. I recently changed from standard to left-hand low. Now it feels second nature to me. I also advocate oversized grips like the Super Stroke. I use one, and it eliminates a lot of last second 'hand corrections'. These changes were a bit scary at first. But they overall have helped me. 

 

Good luck!

post #5 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips guys keep 'em coming!

 

As far as whether you're a high capper or a legit stick, I don't think it matters as much when it comes to putting.  I've seen guys who could barely scrape it onto the green in 4 putt like they're scratch.  Now, if you're looking for advice on how to hit a low drawing punch that hops and stops, probably not a topic us average guys should be dishing advice on, but putting tips from everyone are helpful.  

post #6 of 55

Ah yes, the good 'ol 3 putt green - very frustrating !!!   What has really helped me is my distance control.  When I practice I start with a few from 1 foot making sure the putter follows thru on the line and the ball dies in the hole.  Then I move out to 2 feet.  On practice swing I'm feeling how hard to swing to get ball to die at hole.  Then I hit ball with that same mind thought of how hard I need to swing to get the ball to die at the hole.  I stay at the same distance until I make one, then move out another foot or more.  Your mind will start to record the force you need from certain distances.  So, on practice strokes  I'm really concentrating hard on how hard to swing to get the ball to die at hole, and then transferring that same feeling to the actual stroke.  Try it in your living room - really feel the force of how hard to swing.  Have a putting contest with a friend  !!!!!!!!!!!`

post #7 of 55

Distance control more important than line, IMO.  When i practice i move away from any hole and put 2 colored balls about a foot apart. Then i putt to those balls trying to place my ball to stop between or just beyond the colored balls.  I do this from many spots on the green, uphill and down. I believe in the long run this kind of practice will yield better results than 'hole putting'. 

post #8 of 55

There's so much to work on. I think there's a lot of good information in Geoff Mangum's work.

 

 

On the mechanical side the stroke should have a big enough region (~10 inches) around impact with an almost straight clubhead path and as little as possible clubhead rotation and be reproducible. To acheive that posture and grip are essential:

 

 - ball in center of eye sight and head position that allows to see the line to the hole when rotating the head around the axis (needs a relatively horizontal neck)

- upper arms that hand naturally but still connected to chest

- grip symmetric enough in both hands (so that one does not fight the other), with enough lock of the wrists (uncocking and/or Runyan type grip) and with enough sensitivity in the fingers (grip pressure and finger placement).

 

For green reading, one can start at the hole, identifying the straight down line and so how the ball is supposed to enter the hole. Vision is essential to "see" the line so identify you dominant eye (but check that it actually is the best to see the line, e.g. on straight putts). For distance, use a "ball stop" by laying out a club across the line behind the hole and putt to just miss it.

post #9 of 55

Putting has always been a relative weakness for me. I wouldn't say now that I'm a good putter, but since the summer I think I'm putting solidly enough for my overall scoring level, and I have my days when my putter bails me out. That never used to happen.

 

I did 3 main things.

 

I went to a shorter, heavier putter. Nothing fancy, I just bastardised an old thrift shop bullseye style putter that I'd never liked. I cut it down to 32" and I weighted up the head with an obscene amount of lead tape to something like 360g. The length I settled on came from reading Geoff Mangum's ideas on putter fitting and posture.

 

I read more Geoff Mangum on his theories of rhythm and touch. I didn't focus on stroke mechanics per se, just his ideas about intuitive length of stroke, pendulum rhythm and a "freefall in gravity" throughswing.

 

I used a Pelz lag putting drill (slightly improvised - but you can get the original from his Putting Bible) - putting over and over from 30, 40, 50 feet. I started with more balls at a time, say 4 or 5, until I was fairly consistent on length. As you get better, I think it makes sense to use a smaller number of balls on the same putt - but change the putt more often. Benchmark is to lag putts within 3 feet of the cup - and I didn't move on to the next distance until I could lag all the putts in a group within 3 ft. Pelz predicted about 10 sessions of this drill would make you solid on the course - and that was my experience.

 

Stats seem to indicate that pros lag putts to about 10% of their putt length. So, a 30 foot putt to 3 feet or less is a decent result. Don't beat yourself up for 3 putting from 60 feet.

 

Green reading is very "now" and I'm not knocking it. I'm sure it's good if your lag putting is solid and you can stroke short putts where you're looking. I'm also sure that a "good" putting stroke will help - but I haven't focussed on mechanics at all, other than the feel of the arm and shoulder stroke that's necessary for freedom of movement and the rhythm I'm looking for. I haven't give stroke path a moment's thought.  I just feel my own "low hanging fruit" was distance control. But as a bonus, with better posture and a better view of the putter line, and decent rhythm - I'm now much more solid from 4 feet and in too, using a relatively unforgiving putter that used to give me the cold sweats.

post #10 of 55

I've said before and I'll say again, at least until someone shows me that I'm wrong, but the best putters in the world all do three things:

  1. Read greens well.
  2. Hit their lines.
  3. Control distance.

 

Work on those three things separately to build your skill set as a putter. As with the full swing, work on the one that is the biggest priority for you.

post #11 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

I've said before and I'll say again, at least until someone shows me that I'm wrong, but the best putters in the world all do three things:

  1. Read greens well.
  2. Hit their lines.
  3. Control distance.

 

Work on those three things separately to build your skill set as a putter. As with the full swing, work on the one that is the biggest priority for you.

1. AimPoint

2. Get your putter fitted to you so your aim is dead on.

3. Repeatable consist setup and putting stroke.  You can work on this at home.  Take photos or video and post it in the My Swing section.

post #12 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post
 

1. AimPoint

2. Get your putter fitted to you so your aim is dead on.

3. Repeatable consist setup and putting stroke.  You can work on this at home.  Take photos or video and post it in the My Swing section.

 

The putter (proper weighting, counter-weighting, etc.) helps with 3 as well, but I didn't want to get too preachy. :) You can still improve the aspects with whatever putter you have, it'll just not improve as much as possible.

post #13 of 55

"Putting stroke always feels like a crapshoot…"

 

I guess that means you will look at your setup and stroke.

 

Once you get a repeatable and consistent setup and stroke, then you can get fitted.

 

After you get fitted, learn to read a green - Aimpoint.

 

Setup --

 

Most modern instructors want you to set up square to your line - feet, hips, shoulders, eyes.

 

You'd be surprised that golfers think because their feet are square, that everything else is square …. no.

 

(From what I've felt, a square setup almost feels closed (because you've been open for so long).

 

Modern instructors (the 00's, not the 90's) seem to want your eyes about an inch inside the ball. Yes, you can also put eyes over the ball, but never outside of ball.

 

For more setup suggestions, you might google search Mike Shannon, Dave Stockton, or Pat O'Brien. They all teach PGA Touring Pros.

post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

I've said before and I'll say again, at least until someone shows me that I'm wrong, but the best putters in the world all do three things:

  1. Read greens well.
  2. Hit their lines.
  3. Control distance.

 

Work on those three things separately to build your skill set as a putter. As with the full swing, work on the one that is the biggest priority for you.


Good advice  do those well and you are on your way! I have also noticed good putters have no fear.

post #15 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by wils5150 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

I've said before and I'll say again, at least until someone shows me that I'm wrong, but the best putters in the world all do three things:

  1. Read greens well.
  2. Hit their lines.
  3. Control distance.

 

Work on those three things separately to build your skill set as a putter. As with the full swing, work on the one that is the biggest priority for you.


Good advice  do those well and you are on your way! I have also noticed good putters have no fear.

Do those three well, and surely you've arrived. Who cares about filling their pants if they read the putt well, hit their line and control their distance?

 

I imagine that the meat in the original advice is to separate out and prioritise the different components.

post #16 of 55
I will add a second batch of advice for visualization- to work on distance control to reduce 3 putts you need to have a different target. Instead of concentrating on that 4 inch hole, as the distance increases you should picture a larger target. 30-40+ foot away- picture a kiddie pool size area to stop the ball in. From 20-30ft out, picture a manhole size area. If you can stop the ball in those areas, you are only a 3 footer or less away from 2 putting. THAT'S when the repeating stroke and muscle memory comes in. To make those 3 footers you need to have confidence in your stroke. Before long, those lag puts will get closer and you'll be tapping in from 40 feet. And don't worry- EVERYONE will really clank on one occasionally; leave a 20 footer 10 foot short because you stubbed it or bang one 10 feet past. You put those out of your head and move on.
post #17 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayG View Post

I will add a second batch of advice for visualization- to work on distance control to reduce 3 putts you need to have a different target. Instead of concentrating on that 4 inch hole, as the distance increases you should picture a larger target. 30-40+ foot away- picture a kiddie pool size area to stop the ball in. From 20-30ft out, picture a manhole size area. If you can stop the ball in those areas, you are only a 3 footer or less away from 2 putting. THAT'S when the repeating stroke and muscle memory comes in. To make those 3 footers you need to have confidence in your stroke. Before long, those lag puts will get closer and you'll be tapping in from 40 feet. And don't worry- EVERYONE will really clank on one occasionally; leave a 20 footer 10 foot short because you stubbed it or bang one 10 feet past. You put those out of your head and move on.

This is a great idea, definitely going to try it.  My BIGGEST killer is distance control.  Last three birdie putts I had that were 10' or less I blew by the hole by at least 5'.  Only made par on one.  Of course that only gets worse when it comes to birdie putts in the 20' of greater range.  I'm no expert when it comes to seeing the line, but much more confident in that then I am to get the speed right.  Seeing the line doesn't matter for shit if you blow it past or leave 6' short.  

post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayG View Post

I will add a second batch of advice for visualization- to work on distance control to reduce 3 putts you need to have a different target. Instead of concentrating on that 4 inch hole, as the distance increases you should picture a larger target. 30-40+ foot away- picture a kiddie pool size area to stop the ball in. From 20-30ft out, picture a manhole size area. If you can stop the ball in those areas, you are only a 3 footer or less away from 2 putting. THAT'S when the repeating stroke and muscle memory comes in. To make those 3 footers you need to have confidence in your stroke. Before long, those lag puts will get closer and you'll be tapping in from 40 feet. And don't worry- EVERYONE will really clank on one occasionally; leave a 20 footer 10 foot short because you stubbed it or bang one 10 feet past. You put those out of your head and move on.

 

I never really liked that advice. I'm a much bigger fan of "aim small, miss small."

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