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"The Art of Putting" by Stan Utley

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I read it and changed my grip per his instructions, and lo and behold everything started falling in. I was trying a very wrist-y motion before that was inconsistent, and moving the grip into the lifeline of my right hand (righty) made an immense difference.

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It has taken me forever to get my grip changes so that I no longer have my right index finger along the grip.

Stan's method has certainly helped me with a natural set up that aids in getting better alignment.

The grip changes have helped a great deal with distance control / feel.

I'm 2-putting or better on a lot more greens now due to closer lags and easy short putts.

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First, I thought I need some golf instruction books to read in this off-season. After reading his book (currently, reading his another one, 'The Art of Short Game'), I was amazed with information that I wasn't awared of, even though I have played about 20 years.

Now, I am wondering where my golf game would be if I knew about all these when I first started to play golf.

It's a must-read book for any level of players.

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Anyone have any suggestions for keeping your putter low to the ground on the follow thru? Mine seems to be higher off the ground than in his pictures.

A forward press definitely helps - like Ben Crenshaw (on the left).

Also, I remember my coach was making me slide a coin with my stroke to ensure the clubhead was swinging low. Another drill is making an extremely smooth stroke but trying to stop at impact without decelerating - really keeps the clubhead low. I really like that Utley simplifies things and even talks about how to pick the right putter.

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You know, come to think of it, too much forward press makes me block putts. I guess that's why Utley only talks of a slight forward press.

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I agree that "speed is more important than aim" when it comes to putting. Or to put it another way - putting is about line and distance - and distance is more important than the line. The key to putting is not how far you hit it - it's how far you have to hit it. In golf, distance is more important on the green than it is off the tee. How's that? Let me explain it this way. Let's say you have a chance to win your Handicap flight group for your club championship - and you are about to go out and play your final round. Which of the following scenarios would you rather have happen? 1. That every drive you hit with your driver goes over 300 yards. or 2. You never leave a putt short. Think about it......

Distance is the one element of putting that YOU control - you have to learn to consistently putt your ball with enough speed to roll it just past the hole. Never up - never in is a cold hard fact in golf - if you don't get the ball to the hole - it doesn't matter if you read the line correctly or not.

So remember my fellow golfers..."Distance is more important on the green than it is off the tee."

Kurt in Kalamazoo

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Changing my putting grip as Stan's book suggests has definitely helped with direction, but like a few others I'm reading here on the Forum, it eliminates the wrist cock and I was leavin' em short for awhile. Startin' to get the hang of the speed now.

His "Art of the Short Game" has me playing out of the sand fearlessly. What a difference that makes when faced with a long iron shot into a bunkered green!
Now I can "go for it" instead of playing away from the trouble that the sand presented.

A must read IMHO.

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I have been a Pelz fan for awhile and have just become tired of the methods as they do not feel natural to me. I read Utley's book and am having trouble understanding one thing, hopefully someone can help me out. For the swing he talks of keeping the butt end of the club relatively still and just turning your shoulders, and some forearm folding. I think I am not understanding this as when I putt there is alot of hand movement with the butt end. To me, it seems I would have to get very wristy in my putting, and I know that is not what he is wanting. Can anybody help me and tell me what I am missing on this aspect??

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I picked up Utley's putting book and have switched from a SBST putter to a more arc-type stroke, which is taking some getting used to so far. I think with time I will like this approach more and I hope that it will help me be more consistent with my putting over all.

I am still a little confused by Utley's description of the folded right arm on the backswing and the folded left arm on the follow through. Does he mean folding them to better wrap around the body through the swing? I can't seem to find a good picture of how much he folds it at the elbow and when exactly the process starts and stops. Anyone else have any more insight on this part of his technique?

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Picked up both of stan utley's books about a month ago. The one thing that stood out was the same thing as taking a lesson from the local pro.

Grip
Stance
Alignment

knowing how to grip the club, and knowing when the grip is incorrect is difficult without basic knowledge of what it should be. Same with stance and alignment.

Stan covers these pretty well as far as I was concerned.

My putting has improved using his method. Probably as much from additional practice getting used to it as anything else, but it got me out practicing and it's helped.

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I read through Utley's book up to the drills section. For reference I use the SBST method, but I'm curious about Utley's methods and the arc stroke.

For those of you using Utley's approach to putting, what style and weight of putter do you use? Also, did you adjust the lie and loft of your putter based on Utley's recommendations?

Reason I ask, is that I was trying out Utley's technique with my own toe-balanced putters and found my putters seem a little heavier and harder to control with the arc swing. My few putters are mostly semi-mallet style, but I don't know the weight.

Utley mentions he uses a D-2 swing-weight putter, while off-the-shelf putters are typically heavier.

Are there any affordable D-2 weight putters I should consider? I don't want to drop down the money for a Scotty if I'm just experimenting, especially if I will also have the lie and loft adjusted. Chances are I'll buy the putter off ebay and if I continue with the arc-stroke, will look into a more precisely milled putter later.

Also (final question), did anyone try out the "Learning Curve" product Utley developed with eyelinegolf.com? Just wanted to see if that product would help if I wanted to explore the arc-stroke method further.

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I read through Utley's book up to the drills section. For reference I use the SBST method, but I'm curious about Utley's methods and the arc stroke. For those of you using Utley's approach to putting, what style and weight of putter do you use? Also, did you adjust the lie and loft of your putter based on Utley's recommendations? Reason I ask, is that I was trying out Utley's technique with my own toe-balanced putters and found my putters seem a little heavier and harder to control with the arc swing. My few putters are mostly semi-mallet style, but I don't know the weight. Utley mentions he uses a D-2 swing-weight putter, while off-the-shelf putters are typically heavier. Are there any affordable D-2 weight putters I should consider? I don't want to drop down the money for a Scotty if I'm just experimenting, especially if I will also have the lie and loft adjusted. Chances are I'll buy the putter off ebay and if I continue with the arc-stroke, will look into a more precisely milled putter later. Also (final question), did anyone try out the "Learning Curve" product Utley developed with eyelinegolf.com? Just wanted to see if that product would help if I wanted to explore the arc-stroke method further.

Hey... dont forget--putter

length is absolutely key. Remember that Utley is six foot. He usually suggests 35 inch putter at 68 degrees of lie angle, 5 degrees of loft, but he is usually dealing with big touring pros. So it seems logical that if you are like me and 5'9.5" then you need 32 or 33 inches, just to match that, relatively. Right now mine is standard lie for an 8802 (probably 71 degrees.. not very flat) and 33 inches. I tried using and answer at 35 inches but it was way too long and too heavy. My 8802 has a lot of loft (probably around 5 degrees). I'm not sure of the measurement as I am using homemade techniques and a protractor to get them (!!). I'm still experimenting with all of this. One of his keys is that your forearms and the shaft are in line, once you use his grip and setup, of course. I like his grip, swing technique and stance and think I am getting the hang of them. cool stuff no doubt. I'm definitely an Utley believer. Funny: I have an old calamity jane kro flight putter that is even flatter and loftier then the specs he usually recommends..I absolutely adore it.. especially the sound it makes at impact.. but it looks so ancient that I'm afraid of all the comments I'll get if I use it!! He clearly states that to get the length right, you should get into his setup, tilt comforatably from the hips, and have a slight bend in the elbows.. and that's your putter length. I also noticed from the pictures that his hands are at or below crotch level. I noticed the same thing for most pros whose putting I like, like Woods, or Michelson. So I think I disagree with Stan in this respect that most shorter guys like me often end up with a putter that's too long, not too short, and most off the shelf putters are 35 inches, not 32 inches like he mentioned. My 2 cents.

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A little over a week ago, I had a round where I hit 10 GIR and shot an 84. The 84 I'm happy with - it's one off my personal best (so far).

But the fact that I had no 1-putts and three 3-putts, plus three instances of "chipping" with the putter (followed by 2-putting) lead me to believe I was doing something wrong. Literally half my shots that round were done with the putter. Just like with the long swing, I had to review my basics.

I've read the Utley book many times, and I thought I was using his method, but my grip must have slipped over time. Just by switching my grip back to his, which I did shortly after the round, I've seen my putting improve on the practice green. I've had only one round since, and it was on an unfamiliar course, so I don't know if this is to be sustained, but I suspect it will be.

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Can someone please explain how he strokes the putter? I read the book and when I practice, my putter does do the arc method. But he mentions in his book that he barely moves his shoulders....how? I know he doesn't use all wrists. It seems like I have more consistency moving my shoulders, then again I guess I haven't done it the correct way yet..

EDIT: Also, he mentions that he set the 9 hole record with six putts. He also said the reason for that is because he chipped two in... that only adds up to 8 holes, what happened for the ninth?

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I am still a little confused by Utley's description of the folded right arm on the backswing and the folded left arm on the follow through. Does he mean folding them to better wrap around the body through the swing? I can't seem to find a good picture of how much he folds it at the elbow and when exactly the process starts and stops. Anyone else have any more insight on this part of his technique?

Can someone please explain how he strokes the putter? I read the book and when I practice, my putter does do the arc method. But he mentions in his book that he barely moves his shoulders....how? I know he doesn't use all wrists. It seems like I have more consistency moving my shoulders, then again I guess I haven't done it the correct way yet..

Ok, do this: sit down in your chair; back straight, relaxed; now press your hands together like your praying.. keep them in that position and bring them right into your abdomen, so that they're (the bottom of your wrists, that is, which are still pressed together) touching your chest at your solar plexus; at this point your forearms are comfortably resting on your ribcage. Now all you do is slide the whole package (praying hands, forarms) as a unit, back and forth along your ribcage without turning your torso at all. If a mouse was sitting on your crotch you'de be slapping him in the face :) Ok. so at this point your basically doing it.. your forearms are moving clockwise and counterclockwise on your ribcage (you'll be retracting your elbows backwards and forwards to accomplish this). Your forearms still are completely in contact with your ribcage. You'll find that you need to relax your shoulder joints, and let your elbows "fold" a little as they retract, in order to do this, in case you hadn't noticed that. That's it. That's the move. If you had a putter in your palms then you'd be basically doing the move.. and you'd be swinging the club without "using" your shoulders or wrists. It's wierdly simple. Obviously you're not going to have your forearms up against your gut like that, but thats the basic motion. Make sense? I suggest you look at this video.. http://www.linksofutopia.com/cms/sta...hort-game.html wher He explains it there too. Then look at all the stan utley videos on the golf channel (search for stan utley on the golf channel site and then pick "videos") You can also do it without changing the elbow angle as much, or at all for that matter, but then you need to add shoulder rotation (or, more accurately thorasic spine rotation as he would say), in order to swing, or, conversely, you can let the elbows "give" or "fold" a little as previously mentioned, and then have less or no thorasic rotation in the swing at all. Note that he never wants you to rock your shoulders up and down which a lot of people do, because it moves the head. But he does advocate rotating them. Note that if you do allow your elbows to 'give' (and he has yet another term for it-- "your elbows absorbing the swing"), this allows you stay very still over the ball and to not move your head or upper body basically at all . This can obviously be a big plus. My only note on that is Tom Watson said in his famous short game book that changing the left elbow angle during impact is a very bad move. Its one of the few things he makes a big point about. This might be an example of tip/anti-tip pair (see my fabulous thread!!). But then again Utley also talks more about the right elbow folding than the left. So maybe they don't contradict each other. M. Scott Peck said that where there's paradox there's truth, and if there's no paradox there's no truth. Or something like that. Anyway.. Hope that helped. There's more to his technique than that move, mind you. He has an array of swing thoughts. Another big one for him involves "dead strength" which means you are basically"dropping" the whole thing (clubhead, shaft, hands, forearms) onto the ball and "all the energy gets expended right into the ball" so there's "not that much follow through as a result". Then theres the concept of length of backswing.. he controls distance by increasing the backswing length and that most people dont take a long enough backswing on longer putts. His follow throught stays about the same but the backswing length varies. Then theres the bit about tempo.. he says all the putts should have the same tempo, the longer ones will have a longer backswing, and will be brisker, in order to match tempos with the shorter putt/shorter backswing. Another thought he mentions is thinking of "hinging" the swing on the right elbow, letting it fold on the backswing and lenghten on the followthough. This is a lot like Nicklaus' image of "pistoning" the right forearm, I seem to recall.

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I did a quick read of the book and now I'm going through for a second time in much more detail and I am trying to get the grip down better. When I look at the pictures of Utley holding the putter with his right hand only and talks about the shaft running up along the line of his forearm, the pictures show the butt of the putter in the center of his right forearm. When I hold the putter with my right hand, I feel like I'm holding it with the right grip, but the butt of the putter is running on the low side of my forearm (closer to my body). Any thoughts on what is going on here? When I try to manipulate my grip so that it sits like his in his pictures, it feels very unnatural, which goes against his "natural" theme. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I did a quick read of the book and now I'm going through for a second time in much more detail and I am trying to get the grip down better. When I look at the pictures of Utley holding the putter with his right hand only and talks about the shaft running up along the line of his forearm, the pictures show the butt of the putter in the center of his right forearm. When I hold the putter with my right hand, I feel like I'm holding it with the right grip, but the butt of the putter is running on the low side of my forearm (closer to my body). Any thoughts on what is going on here? When I try to manipulate my grip so that it sits like his in his pictures, it feels very unnatural, which goes against his "natural" theme. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

yeah.. I read it again and again and again. good luck. the problem is, it's just a book, and it's really hard to learn something like this from a book. I'm sure if he was there and showed you you'd absorb it instantly. Utley even admits that Ken Lanning, his teacher, told him to not read golf books at all

. I had trouble with the grip too. It doesn't feel "natural" at all.. it feels real wierd in the beginning. It's the complete opposite of the regular grip, so it just feels wrong wrong wrong, in the beginning. Maybe it would feel more "natural" for someone from a far off country, who never heard of golf, or any similar sport where you swing something. OK, so the image that comes to my mind is I'm holding it like (and I'm being serious now) the way spider man shoots his web.. http://www.krassycandoit.com/blah/img/spider-man-1.jpg Of course, you'll feel like you want to have the shaft under the heel pad of your hand, but that's not what he (Utley, not spiderman) wants.. his grip is far above that-- he wants it above the heel pad, and under your thumb pad base. Like I said, it will feel like the most ridiculous thing in the world when you do it right. And then to make matters even worse, he wants you to hold it in place with the topmost pads of your fingers, not by wrapping your fingers around the grip. Plus, to add insult to injury, he wants there to be light and space there, within the grip you've formed, and not for it to be "sealed" like a regular grip might be. I also have the image of the hand "taking it's own pulse" in the beginning. So, you are holding the grip by pressing in with your middle fingers towards that part of your wrist /lower palm that shoots the web. Like I said it feels ridiculous, but after a while you get used to it and it starts to make sense, especially when you combine it with the move I described in the last post, then it starts to really make sense. You end up with something that essentially takes the wrists hinge out of it... not completely, of course, but to a large extent. Then, if you follow all the other points he makes, in terms of getting the right lie on the putter, so that you essentially end up with the puttershaft being just an extension of your arms.. so then your just moving your arms back and forth, in the manner I described above, and you have a very pure clubhead path as a result, with a low likelyhood of twists or turns along the way. hope that didn't confuse you even more..

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