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Looking at the hole while putting - try it!

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I have to apologize for not reading the whole post, but just real quick - if you look at the hole, your head position will change for every putt depending on the distance = inconsistent, non-repeating.

I don't think your head position matters so much, as long as you keep your head still.

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My favorite way to handle putting speed is to imagine the golf ball in my hand and what kind of arm motion it would take to roll/bowl it to the hole. I then mimic that with my putting stroke, and have found that my lag putts have very good speed.

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I don't think your head position matters so much, as long as you keep your head still.

Hey, what's up there Bill? just a few things about head position and putting...

what if you can't see the hole? what do you look at then? what if the hole is behind you or really far requiring a longer backswing? with your head cocked all the way to the left and your arms and shoulders all the way to the right, don't you think that would restrict your backswing? Do on the course what you can practice off the course. You can't predict where the hole is going to be, so might as well not practice looking at something that changes all the time. If you don't make solid contact on the putter face, the ball won't roll properly/consistently. It's much more efficient and repeatable to look at the ball and make solid contact than to look at the hole. If you line up correctly at address, no need to look at the hole or even the ball rolling. Not one single pro on tour looks at the hole while putting (after contact, yes, but not during the putting stroke) But, Bill, if you and I are in a playoff, by all means look at the hole when you putt ;)

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as an interesting tangent to this drill, I have been trying the "putting with eyes" closed drill while practicing.

Hit 3 putts normally, then hit 3 more with eyes closed. If they aren't consistant with the first three, then more work is required on putting swing mechanics.

I think this drill really reveals a lot, about a consistant stroke.

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what if the hole is behind you...

Behind you? Seriously? Hey, I'm as much a fan of the condescending tone as the next guy, but you aren't making much sense. Obviously if the break is such that you need to contort yourself to see the hole, you need to be more worried about direction than speed. But for long lag putts, speed is more important, would you not agree?
If you don't make solid contact on the putter face, the ball won't roll properly/consistently.

If a 20+ handicapper like me can make solid contact without looking at the ball, I'm sure a stud -3 like yourself can too.

If you line up correctly at address, no need to look at the hole or even the ball rolling

Pay attention. This technique isn't about direction. It's about speed. You can line up the ball perfectly and it isn't going to help with telling you how hard to hit it.

Not one single pro on tour looks at the hole while putting (after contact, yes, but not during the putting stroke)

Not one single tour player putts one-handed either, but I know one who does so as a drill [hint: initials are TW]. So is it ok with you if us high handicappers use looking at the hole as a drill too? Maybe to help hone our speed for when we're actually playing? If that works, is it ok if we go hog wild and actually try it while we're playing too? Or should we just take your word for it that it won't work?

All I know is, when I am struggling with putting speed/distance I go back to looking at the hole for a bit, and I get back on track. - Poor Misguided Bill

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Hey Bill, first of all sorry if you took my last message as condescending, but I was trying to be funny (hole behind that I saw Tiger putt once). I'll stick to golf and leave the jokes for the comedy forum.

Second - " I have to apologize for not reading the whole post , but just real quick - if you look at the hole, your head position will change for every putt depending on the distance = inconsistent, non-repeating. But, if you believe it and it makes you putt better, use it . I'm not that talented so I need measurable motions."

If it's a drill, absolutely. If it works, do it. Who's gonna tell Jim to swing like Tiger?

The point I was trying to make with the hole behind is that the hole can be in different places depending on the break. Your head wouldn't be in the same place every time. Your shoulder muscles are restricted by your neck muscles. Distance can be controlled by how far you bring your putter back on the backswing.

If you're having problems putting, it's probably because you try to accelerate though the ball with the same stroke length. Try a longer stroke with the same tempo: rate x time = distance.

If you really want to get good at putting, here's an idea:

Putting (distance) is almost purely “feel.” However, we can approach better feel by having one empirical stroke to base all other putts. An example of an empirical stroke is a 6 foot putt. Know exactly what it takes to make a straight 6 foot putt consistently (missed putts pass by 12 to 17 inches). How far back? How far through? What tempo? I mean EXACTLY how far back and EXACTLY how far through with a consistent speed and cadence (count 1, 2, 3). When you have this mastered, all other putts can be based on your empirical putt. An 8 foot putt is going to need a slightly longer backswing and follow through than your 6 foot putt. Test your 6 foot putt on the practice green of every course you are about to play to get a feel of what YOUR empirical putt does on each course. This will give you an idea of the speed of the greens before you play so you can adjust accordingly. Definitely practice all other distances. If you have time to practice 3 feet, 6 feet, 9 feet, 12 feet, by all means, do so. The more distances you know, the better your putts will be. Good luck and I will see you on the green. - Taken from "13 Weeks to Single Digit HDCP"

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Not one single pro on tour looks at the hole while putting (after contact, yes, but not during the putting stroke)

Plus, that's wrong. I know a few who do on long putts, and Jim Thorpe (again) talks about it during his Playing Lessons with the Pros. And the putt he used it on was probably about 35-40 feet.

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Plus, that's wrong. I know a few who do on long putts, and Jim Thorpe (again) talks about it during his Playing Lessons with the Pros. And the putt he used it on was probably about 35-40 feet.

Ok. Thanks for the info. I stand corrected.

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Tried it for 30 minutes before going onto the course today - mainly over 30+ feet lag putts and after some minor adjustments found I was striking the ball better than normal! Allows a free flow of the shoulders through the putt and takes the hands out of the stroke. Then proceeded to putt better than I have for a few months (only one 3 putt for the day...) A great tip and will definitely keep using it.

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I read that here and saw it somewhere else (magazine?) I used it the last two days and it definately works for me. It helps me gauge speed and I can put it pretty close to the hole from 20-30' out. Even around 10' it was a very useful. Closer than that, I would misjudge the line by not watching the ball/putter.

Anyway - I'll definately be using this. It'll take practice (as anything). Mainly on downhill swings - keeping my eye on the hole compels me to hit the ball a little too hard...but right on line.

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I tried this today, played 9 holes after work, played 2 balls one i putted normaly the other looking at the hole... Looking at the hole was much more consistent, not sure im ready to use it in a proper round yet but i will definently be using it during practice.

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It works great for me.  I just shot 80 doing it the other day.  My dad can;t believe it, and anyone I play with is surprised until the end of the round when I have fewer 3 putts than them!

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I think it makes sense, follow this: You use the arms/hands to control the head of the putter so it is essentially an extension of the arm. Have you ever rolled a golf ball to the hole to see the break? When you do, do you stare at where the ball starts or do you look at its intended resting place???

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I don't look at the hole when I putt, but I DO look at the hole when I am making my practice swings.  I generally take 3 practice swings.  On long putts the first 2 are from behind the ball at right angle to the line.  Then the third is up by the ball parallel to the line.  Then I move the putter behind the ball - one last look at the hole, then back to the ball and stroke.  On shorter putts - makeable ones - I reverse where I take the practice strokes, one behind the ball and two at the ball.

I find it helps both with speed and with visualization.

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Note: This thread is 2131 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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