or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Practice Range › Instruction and Playing Tips › Need a plan to improve putting
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Need a plan to improve putting - Page 2

post #19 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

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

 

Yeah we use to have one of those "mini" holes on our practice putting green.  I think the hole was 1/3 of the size of a regulation cup, about the same size as a golf ball.  Spend some time making putts with that hole and a regulation cup looks like a bucket.

post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

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

Same here.

 

I think it was a Gary Player book I read years ago where he said his target was always the cup. Your margin for error becomes manageable if you learn to focus smaller.  

post #21 of 55
Yes - but you can, and I'd argue you should, separate out targeting from acceptable error. I'd almost always target the cup, but if a lag putt finishes within 10 o/o of my starting distance, I'm going to accept that.

I'd maybe make an exception for a long breaking putt where I just don't feel I can make that precise a read. Then it feels a little more honest, and a bit less daunting, to try and just roll it up there somewhere near the hole - preferably below the cup.
post #22 of 55
Nobody said otherwise-Where you aim and what is acceptable are at two different times. One is before you hit the putt-The other is after.
Quote:
Originally Posted by birlyshirly View Post

Yes - but you can, and I'd argue you should, separate out targeting from acceptable error. I'd almost always target the cup, but if a lag putt finishes within 10 o/o of my starting distance, I'm going to accept that.

I'd maybe make an exception for a long breaking putt where I just don't feel I can make that precise a read. Then it feels a little more honest, and a bit less daunting, to try and just roll it up there somewhere near the hole - preferably below the cup.
post #23 of 55

Your intention on every putt, 1 foot or 60 foot, should be to make the putt.  That should be your mindset.  

post #24 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post
 

Your intention on every putt, 1 foot or 60 foot, should be to make the putt.  That should be your mindset.  

 

I tend to agree. There are very few "unmakeable" putts (they do exist though).

 

I think that many people will tend to hit putts harder when they're trying to "make it" but that's where understanding capture speed becomes important, and realizing that a ball moving very slowly at the hole has a much better chance of going in than one that's still carrying some good speed at the hole.

post #25 of 55
I absolutely agree that the idea is to "make the putt", but having control of the distance FIRST will enable you to make more of them in the first place. In order to make the putt, you need to judge the distance. Picturing the kiddie pool or manhole is meant to help that. Once you have that gauged, you can sink those long ones on the odd time the stars align.
post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayG View Post

I absolutely agree that the idea is to "make the putt", but having control of the distance FIRST will enable you to make more of them in the first place. In order to make the putt, you need to judge the distance. Picturing the kiddie pool or manhole is meant to help that. Once you have that gauged, you can sink those long ones on the odd time the stars align.

I disagree. Several studies show that people who aim for six foot circles or whatever have poorer distance control and accuracy than those who "aim small."

When hunting I wouldn't aim for the whole deer, I'd aim for a few hairs on the right line.
post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post


I disagree. Several studies show that people who aim for six foot circles or whatever have poorer distance control and accuracy than those who "aim small."

When hunting I wouldn't aim for the whole deer, I'd aim for a few hairs on the right line.

Agree with "aim small" after trying both a few years ago.

 

I think the key with long putts is aiming small and freeing yourself mentally, which frees you from tension. Whatever puts you into a relaxed frame of mind, do it.

 

I mean, thinking "I don't want to 3 putt this," is not going to work. Instead, use "I"m going to have fun with this putt, and go for it, put it in the hole. If it doesn't go in, that's okay, too."

 

I expect, have fun, and prepare to make every putt, knowing I won't ... make every putt. And that frees me.

 

Of course, you've got to set up to make a putt -- for example, standing over a putt for 5 seconds only creates more tension; it does not free you.

 

And then, there is the tension within the putt. If you're going so slowly with the stroke that you're thinking, you're done. Let it go.

post #28 of 55
I can only speak for what worked for me when I was starting out 40 years ago. Those Nicklaus picture books were my "bible". The manhole method certainly helped me picture getting closer to the hole. I've offered the method to a few friends and it's helped them a bit- they still have their problems but that's a dedication issue, not necessarily a skill issue. These days, yes, I certainly aim for the hole on every putt. You certainly can practice distance control by starting at 3 feet, make 10 in a row- starting over if you miss, then moving to 5 feet, 9 feet, etc... But that is a time consuming process for MOST people who want to be playing as opposed to practicing. The combination of developing that repeating stroke along with some kind of visual aid could help some people avoid the severe inconsistency of their distance control. As they improve- they can make that visual smaller and smaller until it the cup itself that is the objective (well, it's always the object of the putt). As with almost every aspect of the game- if you ask 10 people you get 10 different answers. Find something that YOU like and go with that. If it's "aim point", manholes or pinpoint, stick with it- too many ideas will just make it worse. I will agree with the "paralysis by analysis" thing- freezing up over the putt thinking about it will only hurt your chances. Choose your line, address the ball, pull the trigger. And that goes for pretty much every shot, not only putting.
post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayG View Post

I can only speak for what worked for me when I was starting out 40 years ago. Those Nicklaus picture books were my "bible". The manhole method certainly helped me picture getting closer to the hole. I've offered the method to a few friends and it's helped them a bit- they still have their problems but that's a dedication issue, not necessarily a skill issue. These days, yes, I certainly aim for the hole on every putt. You certainly can practice distance control by starting at 3 feet, make 10 in a row- starting over if you miss, then moving to 5 feet, 9 feet, etc... But that is a time consuming process for MOST people who want to be playing as opposed to practicing. The combination of developing that repeating stroke along with some kind of visual aid could help some people avoid the severe inconsistency of their distance control. As they improve- they can make that visual smaller and smaller until it the cup itself that is the objective (well, it's always the object of the putt). As with almost every aspect of the game- if you ask 10 people you get 10 different answers. Find something that YOU like and go with that. If it's "aim point", manholes or pinpoint, stick with it- too many ideas will just make it worse. I will agree with the "paralysis by analysis" thing- freezing up over the putt thinking about it will only hurt your chances. Choose your line, address the ball, pull the trigger. And that goes for pretty much every shot, not only putting.

Ray - we get the point.

 

Different strokes for different folks.

 

And that freezing thing is what I think screws up more putts than anything else after you have a solid technique - as Pat O'Brien (Zach Johnson's guru) told me (yes, I'm name-dropping), the more you stand still over a putt, the less your chances of making it. You become less athletic. He had me shifting my feet slightly as I settled into my address position, take a look at the line, look at ball or a spot (settle eyes), and pull the trigger.

post #30 of 55

Also Jack didn't freeze over the ball, he was looking from the ball to the hole. He wasn't just staring down the ball like he thought the ball stole something from him. 

 

I agree, If I see an amateur stand over a shot for an extended amount of time, 9/10 times it is going to be a bad shot. 

 

Also, how often does that amateur practice like that, just standing over the ball? Most amateurs just hit ball after ball hoping things will get better. Play like you practice. Most amateurs would probably play better if they just took less time over the ball because its similar to how they practice. 

 

On a side note,

 

 

Jack makes a 102' putt with out standing over the ball a long time ;)

post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayG View Post

 I will agree with the "paralysis by analysis" thing- freezing up over the putt thinking about it will only hurt your chances. 

I think that would be the justification for aiming for a wider target. If you're standing over a putt that, whether by reason of its distance or the amount of break, makes you anxious about your ability to putt to a small target - then to me it makes sense to widen the target, if that allows you to execute without anxiety getting in the way. I'm sure vague targetting hurts your accuracy, but so will undue levels of stress - so it may make sense to trade one off against the other. A long putt isn't like shooting a deer - in that if you miss the deer you go home hungry. A long putt isn't normally a straight forward miss/make proposition - 9 times out of 10, proximity is more important.

 

Your green reading ability is surely a factor too. If you tend to under-read the break, focussing tightly on the hole could lead you to hit the putt too hard if you subconsciously know that you need to minimise the break. Conversely, a good read should be congruent with running the ball right at the hole with good speed.

 

To be honest, the whole argument becomes moot if you line up relative to an aiming spot a few inches in front of your ball and that's your reference for line.

 

FWIW - I like the "athletic/intuitive" approach to putting - but I think a focus on the Rotella/Stockton ideas hurt me for a few years until I put a few more things together with the help of Geoff Mangum's writings.

post #32 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by birlyshirly View Post
 

I think that would be the justification for aiming for a wider target. If you're standing over a putt that, whether by reason of its distance or the amount of break, makes you anxious about your ability to putt to a small target - then to me it makes sense to widen the target, if that allows you to execute without anxiety getting in the way. I'm sure vague targetting hurts your accuracy, but so will undue levels of stress - so it may make sense to trade one off against the other. A long putt isn't like shooting a deer - in that if you miss the deer you go home hungry. A long putt isn't normally a straight forward miss/make proposition - 9 times out of 10, proximity is more important.

 

I would tend to say that a smaller target narrows your focus, your objective is more clear, you don't have time to "stress out".  Like when you watch the pros, when a guy has to make birdie to make it into a playoff, he's going to be less nervous/more focused than if he has a one shot lead and has to make par for the win.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by birlyshirly View Post

 

To be honest, the whole argument becomes moot if you line up relative to an aiming spot a few inches in front of your ball and that's your reference for line.

 

 

Well, you still have to determine speed.

post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by birlyshirly View Post
 

I think that would be the justification for aiming for a wider target. If you're standing over a putt that, whether by reason of its distance or the amount of break, makes you anxious about your ability to putt to a small target - then to me it makes sense to widen the target, if that allows you to execute without anxiety getting in the way. I'm sure vague targetting hurts your accuracy, but so will undue levels of stress - so it may make sense to trade one off against the other. A long putt isn't like shooting a deer - in that if you miss the deer you go home hungry. A long putt isn't normally a straight forward miss/make proposition - 9 times out of 10, proximity is more important.

 

I would tend to say that a smaller target narrows your focus, your objective is more clear, you don't have time to "stress out".  Like when you watch the pros, when a guy has to make birdie to make it into a playoff, he's going to be less nervous/more focused than if he has a one shot lead and has to make par for the win.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by birlyshirly View Post

 

To be honest, the whole argument becomes moot if you line up relative to an aiming spot a few inches in front of your ball and that's your reference for line.

 

 

Well, you still have to determine speed.

By and large, I agree with your first point. The trick is whether that kind of routine does reduce your stress levels - or if you need something "more". I hear what you're saying about the 1-putt/2-putt scenario - although you certainly hear guys saying after their round that they were "just trying to roll it up close". It sounds to me like they're widening their target under stress, though I accept that maybe they're only really talking about trying to die the ball at the hole rather than giving it a little more aggressive roll. Or maybe they're thinking badly :-). I'm sure it happens, even for those guys.

 

Your second point - I agree. But surely your chosen, or envisaged, speed determines your aiming spot. What's more, assuming you can only pick out a spot 6 inches in front of your ball to a certain degree of accuracy, you're actually building in a progressive relaxation of aim that's proportional to the length of putt.

 

So there's a question - on a 30 foot putt, can you aim your putter more accurately by reference to a spot 6 inches in front of the ball, or 30 feet away? That's a genuine, not rhetorical, question, and I don't know the answer. I used to aim at the hole - but have learned to aim over a spot and I think my aiming has improved - although geometry and margin for error wouldn't necessarily predict that.

post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by birlyshirly View Post
 

By and large, I agree with your first point. The trick is whether that kind of routine does reduce your stress levels - or if you need something "more". I hear what you're saying about the 1-putt/2-putt scenario - although you certainly hear guys saying after their round that they were "just trying to roll it up close". It sounds to me like they're widening their target under stress, though I accept that maybe they're only really talking about trying to die the ball at the hole rather than giving it a little more aggressive roll. Or maybe they're thinking badly :-). I'm sure it happens, even for those guys.

 

Your second point - I agree. But surely your chosen, or envisaged, speed determines your aiming spot. What's more, assuming you can only pick out a spot 6 inches in front of your ball to a certain degree of accuracy, you're actually building in a progressive relaxation of aim that's proportional to the length of putt.

 

So there's a question - on a 30 foot putt, can you aim your putter more accurately by reference to a spot 6 inches in front of the ball, or 30 feet away? That's a genuine, not rhetorical, question, and I don't know the answer. I used to aim at the hole - but have learned to aim over a spot and I think my aiming has improved - although geometry and margin for error wouldn't necessarily predict that.

 

6 inches in front of your ball. If it was easier to aim anything that is farther away, the the shortest shots in any aim based sport would be the hardest. In archery, 100 yards would be easier than 30 yards. That is not the case. It is by far easier to aim at a spot closer to the ball. 

 

Yes it should reduce your stress levels because your going to be putting the ball closer to the hole, so you will end up with easier putts. If your aiming for a 3 foot circle and you leave the putt 6' short, then your really adding pressure. But if you aim for the hole and end up inside 3' that is a plus, if you make it that is a bigger plus. To me trying to lag to a certain circular distance is a cop-out for people who struggle for distance control. If they learn to putt well, the 3' circle theory feels like a hindrance. 

post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 
 

 

6 inches in front of your ball. If it was easier to aim anything that is farther away, the the shortest shots in any aim based sport would be the hardest. In archery, 100 yards would be easier than 30 yards. That is not the case. It is by far easier to aim at a spot closer to the ball. 

 

I'm not sure it's that simple.

 

In archery, you aim at the target - not an intermediate spot. Fast cyclists are taught to look "through" a corner, not in front of their wheel. If you're focussed on the right spot in the distance, your near-term route will take care of itself - at least that's the theory.

 

If you're using a 6 inch aiming spot - and you're 1/8" out, that's going to translate to an error of almost 8 inches at 30 feet. If that's a realistic margin for error (and I'm not claiming to know), then you're already really aiming at a circle a foot and a quarter in diameter, not a 4" hole.

post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by birlyshirly View Post
 

I'm not sure it's that simple.

 

In archery, you aim at the target - not an intermediate spot. Fast cyclists are taught to look "through" a corner, not in front of their wheel. If you're focussed on the right spot in the distance, your near-term route will take care of itself - at least that's the theory.

 

If you're using a 6 inch aiming spot - and you're 1/8" out, that's going to translate to an error of almost 8 inches at 30 feet. If that's a realistic margin for error (and I'm not claiming to know), then you're already really aiming at a circle a foot and a quarter in diameter, not a 4" hole.

 

That can work for straight putts. The problem is most putts curve. So on a curve if you want to aim in the distance then you must see the curve, find a point that draws a line between you and your ball that is tangent to your curve. Or, you could just read your curve and pick a spot 1-3 inches in front of the ball on the curve. That is close enough for a tangent line.

 

 

Here's the thing, if you aim to a far off distance and aim just as bad as you did with your 6" spot, you'll be 8 inches off. It doesn't matter what your looking at, if your off the same amount on face angle, you'll miss the same :-D 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Instruction and Playing Tips
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Practice Range › Instruction and Playing Tips › Need a plan to improve putting