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"The Putting Bible" by Dave Pelz

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Arguing this is like a political or religious argument....nobody moves. But I think in a golf forum such as this, if someone is going to make a statement like iacas' above, form a position of authority, it's important to dispute it if one thinks it's incorrect.

Pelz has shown with exhaustive photos and demonstrations that iacas's statement is false. It is possible to execute a SBST stroke for a stroke length that accommodates putts of up to 20-25' without any compensatory movements.

No, he hasn't. Or, at the very least, you're not understanding what I mean by "manipulation."

If the hands hang directly below the shoulder joint (on a plumb line directly below), and the arms are swung in a pendulum motion from the shoulder socket, the face will stay precisely square throughout the stroke, if it was square to start. There is no need to do anything to hold it square.

It's in his book. The explanation is there, with pictures, along with answers to all the usual arguments against him.

If your back is at an angle like this: /

And your arms hang down like this: |

You have to "shrug" your shoulders or do some other things that I call "manipulation" to swing SBST. You cannot simply gently rotate your shoulders around the axis of your spine. It's not biomechanically possible - it requires "manipulations." It requires a "shrug" of your shoulders or something, OFF the plane of your spine's axis.

Can you putt SBST with a more upright axis than horizontal? Yes. But it requires manipulations.

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I don't recommend it, personally, for either of those things. [LIST] [*] Get fitted for your putter. Even if it's not an Edel, get fitted. Don't just "choose" a putter based on what you read in a book. The theories about "mallets" suiting one kind of stroke or whatever are hogwash. [*] Go to an AimPoint class for green reading. Easier, more accurate, faster. [/LIST]

I agree with this as well. I would not spend a lot of money or time with this book. I wouldn't say the green reading section is worthless though. If you found the book lying around or found a used copy cheap the green section helped me. His short game bible is much better...IMO. * I do want to stress again that I developed the yips after trying to do Pelz straight back straight through technique and became so paralyzed trying to make the perfect stroke that I almost left the game. The claw grip saved me and I am currently using Kuchar ' s putter without issues. I am not an instructor but straight back to straight through was impossible for me to achieve. The question for me was...Did trying to achieve the straight to straight cause the yips? Did getting technique oriented cause the yips? Or was it simply becoming too "results" oriented cause the yips? My guess is probably all three. Also, I'm not familiar with AimPoint.

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Pelz has shown with exhaustive photos and demonstrations that iacas's statement is false.

Ha ha ha. Pelz has shown it with a robot that is not built like a human. Look at that thing-The shoulders are doing the shrug move like @iacas says-They are not in line with the spine. Besides who putts with their arms hanging straight down?-Almost everyone has bend in the elbows. Weak sauce @Big Lex . Pelz WAS good at marketing.-Not so much anymore. If you are bent over not horizontal how can you move your hands in a straight line back with your spine not horizontal? They are going to want to trace the plane inward. BACK-UP-IN. Basic geometry.

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Ha ha ha. Pelz has shown it with a robot that is not built like a human.

Look at that thing-The shoulders are doing the shrug move like @iacas says-They are not in line with the spine.

Besides who putts with their arms hanging straight down?-Almost everyone has bend in the elbows. Weak sauce @Big Lex. Pelz WAS good at marketing.-Not so much anymore. If you are bent over not horizontal how can you move your hands in a straight line back with your spine not horizontal? They are going to want to trace the plane inward. BACK-UP-IN. Basic geometry.

What appears to you as the "shoulders" in that photo are not functional joints, so how they look is meaningless.  The cross bar where human shoulders would be does not move or function like shoulders in this model. In this model...the shoulders of a human are modeled by a single hinge attached to the "arm." So whether they look horizontal or sloped or whatever you wish to call them is meaningless, and it neither proves iacas's assertion, nor does it disprove what I said.

Regarding the arms hanging straight, Pelz never says the arms have to hang straight. He merely says the arms must be directly below the shoulders. This can be achieved with straight arms or with arms bent at the shoulder. Pelz is probably wrong in saying that you cannot stroke SBST with the hands not directly under the shoulders, but it is probably much easier to do so with them this way than in some other orientation.

The answer to your question about how you can move your hands in a straight line with the spine not horizontal is in my reply to iacas.

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... at the very least, you're not understanding what I mean by "manipulation."

If your back is at an angle like this: /

And your arms hang down like this: |

You have to "shrug" your shoulders or do some other things that I call "manipulation" to swing SBST. You cannot simply gently rotate your shoulders around the axis of your spine. It's not biomechanically possible - it requires "manipulations." It requires a "shrug" of your shoulders or something, OFF the plane of your spine's axis.

Can you putt SBST with a more upright axis than horizontal? Yes. But it requires manipulations.

I entirely understand what you mean by "manipulation." But I believe that is a misleading and ultimately inaccurate term.

You essentially imply that there is some qualitative biomechanical difference between rotating the shoulder girdle in one plane than in another....in a plane perpendicular to the spine, versus all other planes....and that the perpendicular movement is simpler and easier.

This isn't true. Biomechanically, it isn't really true, and regarding real world difficulty, it's an empirical question. And even if difficulty were proven, the difficulty does not necessarily mandate that the SBST stroke be avoided. It's all a question of _how_ difficult, and what the benefit is.

Biomechanically, it isn't true because there is no simple hinge joint connecting the shoulder girdle to the spine which requires or functions better in a perpendicular rotation as opposed to other orientations (what you call "shrugs.").

The shoulder joints (the scapular-clavicular joints proper, not the movement of the arm within the joint):

1. Move in all planes. They are designed to move down and up and to rotate in all planes, as the arms must have a very wide range of motion.

2. Are really designed to move independently, but can be moved together, as a unit.

If a person tries to move them together, as a unit, this is accomplished by contractions of trunk muscles with pull the shoulders in whatever direction is chosen. In the knee, for example, there is one primary plane of movement, with two opposing muscle groups, the quads and the hamstrings. No such muscle group or dominant plane exists for rotation of the shoulder girdle around the spine. We aren't built that way.  Rotation of the shoulder girdle involves coordinated contraction of the trapezius, deltoids, pecs, rotator cuff muscles to stabilize and immobilize the arms, and contraction of other trunk muscles to stabilize the torso and spine. The shoulders can be rotated together, in many planes....the two joints can move in different planes at the same time....one can move and the other stay stationary. It's not a simple motion, no matter what plane you choose to move them.

The shoulder girdle is connected to the spine by a very complex articulation with many movable parts....the clavicle attaches in a movable joint with the sternum, and the sternum connects with spine via the ribs. So the bony connection of the the clavicular component of the shoulders to the sternum (not the spine) is more like a car's "independent front suspension" ; this joint in turn is connected by curved ribs to the spine....AND the ribs can move in their articulation to the spine.

And this is only part of the shoulder's attachment to the spine. The shoulder girdle is ALSO attached to the spine via the scapulae, which are attached with muscle attachments only to the spinous processes of the spine.

So what you assert is a false dichotomy: That there is a "simple" and "gentle" rotational movement of the shoulder girdle which is easy, and all other types of coordinated shoulder movement, which are complex and manipulative.

This isn't true. Maybe it seems simpler to you, in the conceptual sense. Maybe it's easier to visualize moving one's shoulder perpendicular to the spine than at some other angle, I don't know. But moving the shoulders together at 80 degrees to the spine isn't really any different regarding biomechanics and muscle and joint geometry than it is to move them at a 90 degree angle.

So you aren't correct about that.  But let's say for argument's sake that you are correct. Does it still "prove" or support the notion that we should putt with a screen door motion...open/square/closed?

I don't think it necessarily does that, either.

With a screen door putter path, the putter is only square to the line of the putt for one instant in the stroke. So, if there is any body shifting during the stroke...or if ball position is off slightly, the chance of having a properly aimed face at impact decreases significantly. So even your ideally "gently rotating" stroke is subject to error. Regarding the strike of the putt (i.e., bead, read, and speed being otherwise the same) errors in face angle are either the #1 most significant error in putting, or a close second to missing the sweet spot.

But if the putter face is always square in the stroke, errors in ball position mean much less....errors brought about by body movement may also be less likely to sabotage the face angle.

So if it is possible to learn a slightly more difficult stroke which keeps the face square throughout the stroke, and eliminates or greatly reduces errors in face angle, isn't it worth trying?

If someone says "this feels like a manipulation," do you give up? If a person is told to do something in their full swing and it feels weird or uncomfortable, what does the teacher say?  "Keep doing it, you'll get it, it will help you."  How is this any different? If after 50 repetitions they "get it," and are putting with a square face and are comfortable with it, isn't that better?

Finally, how much different, really, is your "shrug" from your "gentle rotation," in the context of how most people putt? I don't think it is much.

Most people hunch over when they putt.  Most people, even if they don't have a horizontal spine at the point over the arms, have something somewhat close. So how much different is the shoulder plane going to be in a SBST stroke vs. screen door, when you are at a 75 or 80  or 85 degree angle? Not much.....even IF the stroke is harder to execute, it is at most slightly more difficult. And if someone is really standing very erect when putting, how hard is it to adjust them slightly, so that the proper stroke was easier to achieve? Isn't this what we do in the full swing, try to put people in the "correct" posture?

AND....wouldn't you want to fix someone's very erect posture even if they have a screen door stroke?  If you have a spine angle of 45 degrees to the ground, or something similar - in other words, close to upright - I don't think you WANT to be stroking screen door style anyway. Just as an erect posture makes it "harder" in your book to move the shoulders SBST, the erect posture INCREASES the degree to which the face opens and closes in a screen door stroke, again magnifying the potential for errors. The ultimate screen door stroke - striking a baseball with a horizontal swing off a tee - wouldn't be very accurate in knocking a ball into a six inch opening.

So don't we want people to get close to having a "horizontal" back angle anyway? We at least want to be closer to this than to erect, and the more bent over we are, all other things equal, the better our stroke is likely to be anyway, regarding face angle.

But should we even be arguing this? Should we be arguing the biomechanics of the shoulders in putting? Is that where the money is? Is that the key to better putting?

According to research in the field of complex skill acquisition, the answer to that is a clear NO. While most of golf instruction is based on trying to teach people biomechanics, experimental evidence suggests this is the worst way to teach motor skills.

Telling a person to set up a certain way and then turn their shoulders (OR "shrug" them) is not the best way to teach putting, at least not if you want people to improve. It has been demonstrated experimentally that the BEST way to teach motor skills (including golf, including golf to beginners, and golf to experienced players) is to teach based on external cues, not internal ones.

So, golfers are likely to have more success focusing their practice on some EXTERNAL cue, such as the putter head (i.e., "swing the putter head like a pendulum" or "swing the handle parallel to the line") vs. focusing on an INTERNAL cue (i.e. "turn your shoulders parallel to the line.").

The brain and the body work better when they are focused on an external goal. Our neurologic system is designed to react to sensory stimuli and carry out motor actions; the more our conscious mind becomes involved in monitoring and telling body parts what to do, the greater chance there is that the motion will lose precision. The brain is pretty good at telling the muscles what do do automatically, without direct conscious input into the individual steps.

Tell a person how the _putter_ should be swung (or where the ball should be kicked....or what part of the rim or backboard to aim for, or whaterver...), and give them a method for obtaining feedback, and their bodies will sort out how to carry it out.

The research on this subject is extensive, scholarly, and interesting. One of the lead researchers is named Gabriele Wulf.  http://www.sportwissenschaft.de/fileadmin/pdf/BuT/hossner_wulf.pdf

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Sorry Big Lex but I gave up. If there is a prize for TLDR your post should win hands down :)

LOL. Yeah...I should have broken it into chapters....or maybe volumes. It's pointless anyway. Nobody but iacas will read it, and he will probably dispute every point in it...like I said it's like trying to argue politics or religion. I don't know why I took the bait.

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Regarding the arms hanging straight, Pelz never says the arms have to hang straight. He merely says the arms must be directly below the shoulders. This can be achieved with straight arms or with arms bent at the shoulder. Pelz is probably wrong in saying that you cannot stroke SBST with the hands not directly under the shoulders, but it is probably much easier to do so with them this way than in some other orientation.

Your arms can't bend at the shoulder. They can bend at the elbow, but if they do, they're also not "directly below the shoulders." Michelle Wie's stroke can be SBST, and her arms are bent 90°. IMO this is basic geometry.

I entirely understand what you mean by "manipulation." But I believe that is a misleading and ultimately inaccurate term.

I disagree, but like the others, I don't have the time to look through your entire post. I'll respond to a few of the more obvious and/or disingenuous parts, but I'm fairly content with my understanding of geometry and anatomy, and in how I teach putting (and how I putt myself). I'm also can't recall ever seeing a good SBST putter, particularly one who was SBST on strokes over about 10 or 15 feet. You probably can't name one either.

So what you assert is a false dichotomy: That there is a "simple" and "gentle" rotational movement of the shoulder girdle which is easy, and all other types of coordinated shoulder movement, which are complex and manipulative.

I disagree and feel that one motion is simpler.

With a screen door putter path, the putter is only square to the line of the putt for one instant in the stroke. So, if there is any body shifting during the stroke...or if ball position is off slightly, the chance of having a properly aimed face at impact decreases significantly. So even your ideally "gently rotating" stroke is subject to error. Regarding the strike of the putt (i.e., bead, read, and speed being otherwise the same) errors in face angle are either the #1 most significant error in putting, or a close second to missing the sweet spot.

Eh, that's often used as the reason… but the best putters all seem to putt with an arc stroke and manage to hit the ball pretty well. The full swing is an arc stroke and at MUCH higher speeds, and yet, good players manage to figure out how to get the club back to the proper angle with a clubhead moving 115 MPH, too, do they not?

Besides, if a putting stroke requires manipulation (either counter-rotating and rotating the forearms, or the shoulders moving a bit more out of plane than what I call the "simpler" method), then it's prone to errors as well when those things don't keep the face square. Since the ball doesn't move within the stance during the putting stroke, returning the face to the same position is easier if there's no manipulation.

Most people hunch over when they putt.  Most people, even if they don't have a horizontal spine at the point over the arms, have something somewhat close.

Unless you have a very wide definition of "somewhat close," I'd disagree. Even a few degrees off means you've got an arc stroke bias.

So how much different is the shoulder plane going to be in a SBST stroke vs. screen door, when you are at a 75 or 80  or 85 degree angle? Not much.....even IF the stroke is harder to execute, it is at most slightly more difficult. And if someone is really standing very erect when putting, how hard is it to adjust them slightly, so that the proper stroke was easier to achieve? Isn't this what we do in the full swing, try to put people in the "correct" posture?

Why execute a "more difficult" stroke at all?

AND....wouldn't you want to fix someone's very erect posture even if they have a screen door stroke?  If you have a spine angle of 45 degrees to the ground, or something similar - in other words, close to upright - I don't think you WANT to be stroking screen door style anyway. Just as an erect posture makes it "harder" in your book to move the shoulders SBST, the erect posture INCREASES the degree to which the face opens and closes in a screen door stroke, again magnifying the potential for errors. The ultimate screen door stroke - striking a baseball with a horizontal swing off a tee - wouldn't be very accurate in knocking a ball into a six inch opening.

I don't agree at all with your characterization of the putting stance I prefer as being "erect," nor do I think it's cool to put those words into my mouth. A golfer inclined at 75° is still inclined at an angle. You're making things up, putting words in mouths,… and calling 45° "erect."

So don't we want people to get close to having a "horizontal" back angle anyway? We at least want to be closer to this than to erect, and the more bent over we are, all other things equal, the better our stroke is likely to be anyway, regarding face angle.

I disagree, and you haven't approached proving this.

Telling a person to set up a certain way and then turn their shoulders (OR "shrug" them) is not the best way to teach putting, at least not if you want people to improve. It has been demonstrated experimentally that the BEST way to teach motor skills (including golf, including golf to beginners, and golf to experienced players) is to teach based on external cues, not internal ones.

That's not the topic here, JP, as we aren't discussing how to teach things. We're discussing what actually happens. This feels like a thinly veiled attempt to imply that I teach this way, when again, I'm simply discussing what happens, not how I teach putting. You likely have little to no idea how I teach putting.

It's pointless anyway. Nobody but iacas will read it, and he will probably dispute every point in it...like I said it's like trying to argue politics or religion. I don't know why I took the bait.

It's not a matter of arguing politics or religion. Quite the opposite. This is grounded in science, biomechanics, geometry, and the like. It's not a matter of beliefs - it's a matter of evidence, and in discussing it, I think it's important to be genuine. That means not putting words in mouths, not assuming I prefer an "erect" putting stance, not assuming that I teach putting a certain way, etc.

I'll ask you one simple question: name the best putters the game has known, and identify how many have an SBST stroke on a 30-footer.

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Regarding the arms hanging straight, Pelz never says the arms have to hang straight. He merely says the arms must be directly below the shoulders. This can be achieved with straight arms or with arms bent at the shoulder. Pelz is probably wrong in saying that you cannot stroke SBST with the hands not directly under the shoulders, but it is probably much easier to do so with them this way than in some other orientation.

There were two typos, one in the original post I made, and the other in the reply to McGleno. To correct them: Pelz states the **hands** must be directly, plumb, below the shoulders. The arms CAN be bent, at the **elbow** and the hands can still remain directly under the shoulders. If you disagree, you don't understand "basic geometry."

With a screen door putter path, the putter is only square to the line of the putt for one instant in the stroke. So, if there is any body shifting during the stroke...or if ball position is off slightly, the chance of having a properly aimed face at impact decreases significantly. So even your ideally "gently rotating" stroke is subject to error. Regarding the strike of the putt (i.e., bead, read, and speed being otherwise the same) errors in face angle are either the #1 most significant error in putting, or a close second to missing the sweet spot.

iacas answered:  Eh, that's often used as the reason… but the best putters all seem to putt with an arc stroke and manage to hit the ball pretty well. The full swing is an arc stroke and at MUCH higher speeds, and yet, good players manage to figure out how to get the club back to the proper angle with a clubhead moving 115 MPH, too, do they not?

They certainly are impressive in their ball striking, yes. But does a full swing really start the ball on a precise enough path to make a majority of 10 foot putts? I seriously doubt it.

iacas asked: Besides, if a putting stroke requires manipulation (either counter-rotating and rotating the forearms, or the shoulders moving a bit more out of plane than what I call the "simpler" method), then it's prone to errors as well when those things don't keep the face square. Since the ball doesn't move within the stance during the putting stroke, returning the face to the same position is easier if there's no manipulation.

You are begging the question. You haven't established that "manipulation" as a concept is valid here. You just assert it is, that you believe it and are comfortable with that concept. You ignore paragraphs of anatomical arguments to the contrary, because you "don't have time" to read them. So the answer to your contention above is that ALL putting strokes where we move the shoulder girdle are subject to the possibility of error, and it is an unproven, ungrounded assertion of yours that your particular style preference is better than another....it's just you making your same assertion over again...and it's a pretty bold assertion, because you are making it on behalf of all golfers for all strokes.

Most people hunch over when they putt.  Most people, even if they don't have a horizontal spine at the point over the arms, have something somewhat close.

iacas answered: Unless you have a very wide definition of "somewhat close," I'd disagree. Even a few degrees off means you've got an arc stroke bias.

Again you're missing the point. My point is that since most putting set ups are inclined, and probably closer to horizontal than vertical regarding torso posture, for practical purposes there isn't much biomechanical difference between an arc stroke and SBST at common golf stances.  Rotating the shoulders 90 degrees to the spine isn't that different than rotating them 80 degrees. Within the confines of typical golf stances, the difference in making a 90 degree shoulder turn (arc) and whatever shoulder turn is needed for SBST is small.

So how much different is the shoulder plane going to be in a SBST stroke vs. screen door, when you are at a 75 or 80  or 85 degree angle? Not much.....even IF the stroke is harder to execute, it is at most slightly more difficult. And if someone is really standing very erect when putting, how hard is it to adjust them slightly, so that the proper stroke was easier to achieve? Isn't this what we do in the full swing, try to put people in the "correct" posture?

iacas asked: Why execute a "more difficult" stroke at all?

To putter better. To have a more consistent face angle at impact. To start the ball on the intended line more often. In other words, to make PUTTS more easily (and remember, YOU think it's more difficult, I think it's up to the individual golfer to determine that). You are hung up on a style point because you think it is easier to execute a certain body movement. I'm more interested in how to make more putts and get the ball in the hole.

AND....wouldn't you want to fix someone's very erect posture even if they have a screen door stroke?  If you have a spine angle of 45 degrees to the ground, or something similar - in other words, close to upright - I don't think you WANT to be stroking screen door style anyway. Just as an erect posture makes it "harder" in your book to move the shoulders SBST, the erect posture INCREASES the degree to which the face opens and closes in a screen door stroke, again magnifying the potential for errors. The ultimate screen door stroke - striking a baseball with a horizontal swing off a tee - wouldn't be very accurate in knocking a ball into a six inch opening.

iacas wrote: I don't agree at all with your characterization of the putting stance I prefer as being "erect," nor do I think it's cool to put those words into my mouth. A golfer inclined at 75° is still inclined at an angle. You're making things up, putting words in mouths,… and calling 45° "erect."

You quoted me only partially. I wasn't saying that YOU were advocating an erect stance, I wasn't putting that word in your mouth. Again, you miss the point. If a golfer had a perfectly erect putting posture, wouldn't you fix it? Wouldn't a hypothetically erect posture be a set up for all sorts of putting errors?  Of course it would. My point is that even if you believe in an arc stroke, the greater the radius of the arc, the less error is baked into the stroke. So adjusting one's own stance (or that of a student) toward more horizontal is probably a good thing, within the limits of comfort and feasibility. The stance changes you contend are "needed" to make a "non-manipulated" arc stroke would also improve the face angle of any arc stroke.

So don't we want people to get close to having a "horizontal" back angle anyway? We at least want to be closer to this than to erect, and the more bent over we are, all other things equal, the better our stroke is likely to be anyway, regarding face angle.

iacas answered: I disagree, and you haven't approached proving this.

Then you need to reread what I wrote. Go back to your stick illustrations. Closer to vertical the body is, the greater the radius of the arc will be in a putting stroke, if you are doing your "simple" 90 degree shoulder turn. It's basic geometry.

If you don't believe that having the face close 1 degree in the last 3 inches before striking the ball is better than having it close 5 degrees, then you don't understand geometry or putting.

Nobody, not even robots, putt perfectly. There are always errors in putting strokes. The less the face is opening or closing, the more accurate the putts will be coming from that stroke. Imagine a golfer lying on his stomach, resting a baseball bat on the green, and swinging that bat along the ground to putt. Now imagine someone behind the ball with a flat-ended pool cue. Which stroke has the mechanical, geometric advantage?

iacas wrote: I'll ask you one simple question: name the best putters the game has known, and identify how many have an SBST stroke on a 30-footer.

Now who's putting words in someone's mouth, and being disingenuous? Look at my previous posts. I have never said SBST can or should be attempted for EVERY length putt. I also pointed out that Pelz himself has said that beyond a certain length, it's impossible to do it.

If you have a SBST stroke for putts up to 30 feet, that is fantastic. What more is needed? How many putts do we face longer than that anyway?  The shorter the stroke length, the easier it is, however, to do SBST. So for the short, critical length putts where we need direction to be perfect, it's possible, doable, and has geometric advantages over arcing strokes.

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Just to visually show how the club is manipulated. Since we know for sure that the a few things are constant in good putting.

Posture does not change.

The golfer does not shift laterally, just rotates around spine.

The length between the putter and the elbows will not change.

The face angle between the putter and club will not change.

For simplicity I assumed the use of a Seemore putter :D

As you can see, with an arch putting style, which naturally happens due to how a golfer is set up to putt.

If you were to force a golfer to go SBST. If the goal is to keep the face angle square to the target line. you would need to manipulate the club such that you would have to significantly alter your hand location in the putting stroke. There is a huge distance between the butt end of the putter in the backstroke on a SBST style versus the better and more repeatable arch style. Not to mention, you are just not moving your hands out there. You have to manipulate the rotation of your hands to keep the clubface square. Just way too much going on to be consistent at all.

They certainly are impressive in their ball striking, yes. But does a full swing really start the ball on a precise enough path to make a majority of 10 foot putts? I seriously doubt it.

Umm, you wouldn't use a full swing on a 10 FT putt. How is that applicable?

You are begging the question. You haven't established that "manipulation" as a concept is valid here. You just assert it is, that you believe it and are comfortable with that concept. You ignore paragraphs of anatomical arguments to the contrary, because you "don't have time" to read them. So the answer to your contention above is that ALL putting strokes where we move the shoulder girdle are subject to the possibility of error, and it is an unproven, ungrounded assertion of yours that your particular style preference is better than another....it's just you making your same assertion over again...and it's a pretty bold assertion, because you are making it on behalf of all golfers for all strokes.

The body isn't bent over at 90 degrees. Even if the hands hang under the shoulders your shoulders still rotate on an inclined plane. Also the distance between the shoulder and the clubhead should not change. This being said the clubhead will move on an arc. The only way to not have this happen is to change the way the hands move. Does the club on a full swing travel SBST? Nope, it travels on an arc.

Again you're missing the point. My point is that since most putting set ups are inclined, and probably closer to horizontal than vertical regarding torso posture, for practical purposes there isn't much biomechanical difference between an arc stroke and SBST at common golf stances.

Nope, most golfers are not closer to the horizontal. Take Luke Donald. Probably one of the better putters in the last decade. He's not even halfway to being bent over at 90 degrees.

Umm, if you are not SBST you are on an arc. There is no inbetween. It's either or because once you are not on a straight line it's traveling on an arch.

To putter better. To have a more consistent face angle at impact. To start the ball on the intended line more often. In other words, to make PUTTS more easily (and remember, YOU think it's more difficult, I think it's up to the individual golfer to determine that). You are hung up on a style point because you think it is easier to execute a certain body movement. I'm more interested in how to make more putts and get the ball in the hole.

Yep, and the best putters in the world putt on an arc. Heck, Tiger has proven he will revamp his whole swing to maintain his edge. You don't think he would have went to SBST if it was that more consistent than an arc putting style?

SBST requires much more manipulation, as shown above than a arc putting style do to how the body is set up.

Then you need to reread what I wrote. Go back to your stick illustrations. Closer to vertical the body is, the greater the radius of the arc will be in a putting stroke, if you are doing your "simple" 90 degree shoulder turn. It's basic geometry.

No putter besides Michelle Wie is bending over at 90 degrees. So they should all be putting on an arc.

If you have a SBST stroke for putts up to 30 feet, that is fantastic. What more is needed? How many putts do we face longer than that anyway?  The shorter the stroke length, the easier it is, however, to do SBST. So for the short, critical length putts where we need direction to be perfect, it's possible, doable, and has geometric advantages over arcing strokes.

Umm, lots of putts. PGA Tour average proximity to the hole on their approach shots is 33'.

Actually a SBST would require the hands to move farther for the same length putting stroke as shown in my diagram.

It doesn't have an advantage because,

1) SBST requires manipulation unless your Michelle Wie.

2) SBST requires the hands to travel farther.

3) SBST requires the hands to manipulate the face to keep it from naturally rotating.

Heck eve Phil, who's worked with Dave Pelz doesn't use a SBST style.

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Just to visually show how the club is manipulated....

There are so many places in your message where you misunderstand the point you are quoting, where you make assertions that simply ignore the arguments I've made against them, etc., that even I don't have time to address them all. One point I will take on, though, is your use of the Luke Donald photo. The angle drawn on the photo is not important or relevant. Thenonly portion of the spine that we are concerned with is the portion in the vicinity of the shoulder girdle. At that point, directly above his shoulder socket, that portion of his spine between the "hump" and the base of his neck, is actually quite close to 90 degrees.

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There are so many places in your message where you misunderstand the point you are quoting, where you make assertions that simply ignore the arguments I've made against them, etc., that even I don't have time to address them all. One point I will take on, though, is your use of the Luke Donald photo. The angle drawn on the photo is not important or relevant. Thenonly portion of the spine that we are concerned with is the portion in the vicinity of the shoulder girdle. At that point, directly above his shoulder socket, that portion of his spine between the "hump" and the base of his neck, is actually quite close to 90 degrees.

Correction----That portion of his spine, in the vicinity of his shoulders, between the hump and the base of his SKULL, is quite close to HORIZONTAL

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@Big Lex , can you film your putting stroke so we can see it?

I agree that it's just geometry and that you don't see any good putters that are SBST. It's not a commonality of good putters.

OT:

Find it funny that Pelz's most successful client, Phil, (maybe only tour client?) uses anything but a SBST stroke.

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@Big Lex , can you film your putting stroke so we can see it? I agree that it's just geometry and that you don't see any good putters that are SBST. It's not a commonality of good putters. OT: Find it funny that Pelz's most successful client (maybe only tour client?) uses anything but a SBST stroke.

None of that has anything to do with why I argue Pelz's stroke. I argue it because people blindly deride him, often without actually even reading Pelz's writings, and/or not making an effort to think ritually about it. (Note: That is not a personal or specific accusation against you or iacas or anyone...) One thing I'll caution you on....."you don't see any good putters that are SBST..." You can't judge this from simply watching on TV. Again, as photographed in The Putting Bible, there is an optical illusion, visual parallax, that makes it look like all strokes are arc type when viewed from straight on, and, unless the camera is perfectly positioned, from down the line. Do you think every arc stroke is the same? Meaning the same radius, or curvature? Is it better, in your opinion, to have less curvature, if it's feasible to do it? What does my putting stroke or Phil's have to do with the efficiency of one stroke type versus another? Pelz is asked this question, or questions like it, and he answers reasonably and sensibly every time. He says--and I've said, over and over--you can putt very well with either type of stroke. People who putt well enough to win on the tour putt with all sorts of strokes, some of them pretty, some ugly, some according to one person's "textbook," some according to another's. Style isn't the be all and end all, not even close....and it's only one facet of putting. However, (again, paraphrasing Pelz) even a great putter, with an arc stroke, will probably be an even better putter if he or she eliminates the arc or reduces its radius as much as possible.

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If you have a SBST stroke for putts up to 30 feet, that is fantastic. What more is needed? How many putts do we face longer than that anyway? The shorter the stroke length, the easier it is, however, to do SBST. So for the short, critical length putts where we need direction to be perfect, it's possible, doable, and has geometric advantages over arcing strokes.

In typing out the super long version of the response (I had posted it, but now it's saved as a draft), I came to this kind of statement more than once.

This "geometric advantage" you keep talking about has not been proven to be true. I would stipulate that theoretically if one could choose between a putting stroke where the face angle is constant and one where it is changing, the former (constant) would be superior… but we're talking about human beings.

If you could choose between a face angle that always returns at 0° at impact and one that returns somewhere between -2° and 2°, you'd choose the former as well. What if a gentle arc stroke creates the first situation for more golfers than the SBST stroke?

That's why the "manipulation" is a big part of what I talk about. If you're having to manipulate the forearms (counter-rotating or rotating "off-plane") or you're having to manipulate the shoulders to have them move the hands on a purely vertical plane when the relevant portion of your spine is set at 71.2, 79.6, or 84.3° (or whatever) to get the putter head to move back SBST without any face rotation… then you could actually have far more variability in an SBST stroke than one that works with the way the player is set up to the ball.

If it's simply far more natural for most golfers to putt on a gentle arc, then the face will generally "square itself" because the golfer is simply "holding" the club. The clubface on a good arc stroke already remains square! It's just that rather than remaining square to the target line, it's "square to the arc." Since the ball position doesn't move in the middle of the stroke, if the arc returns as it went back (something required of SBST as well), then the putter face will return as it was at address.

JP, dude, you seem to base your support for Pelz - and from your Pelz quote at the end, he too seems to base his entire system - on a belief that remains unproven and purely hypothetical theory - that there's a "geometric advantage" to being SBST.

My counter to that is that in the real world, most putters have inclination and are not horizontal, and thus require "manipulations" to putt SBST, and this actually produces more variability than simply letting the putter swing on a gentle arc.

Plus, based on your reply (not a response per se) to my question about putting 30-foot putts… does a golfer need two putting strokes because SBST becomes more difficult outside of a certain distance? Because SBST is only good for short putts?

Do you disagree that if there was a putter head at the end of B and if the "golfer" rotated around the axis with the "B" on it that it wouldn't be an SBST stroke? And it would SBST for as far back as the golfer could turn? The hands being directly beneath the shoulders is irrelevant - all that matters is that the entire apparatus rotate along a vertically oriented plane. Which… most golfers don't set up to do.

Also note that the golfer in C has his hands directly beneath his shoulders, but if he rotates around that axis, will NOT putt SBST.

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The proper name of this book is "Dave Pelz's  Putting Bible ". He did not call it  "The Putting Bible" for a very specific reason, and he says so in the introduction of the book. For those who haven't seen it.

 

MY PUTTING BIBLE

I want to start this  book off with a short explanation. Look at the title. Notice that I don't claim this to be "THE" putting bible. I call it Dave Pelz's Putting Bible because it truly is "my" bible. It is a compendium of my research, my studies, my test results, my teaching philosophy, and my beliefs about the art and science of putting. It is my bible-- or if you  prefer my notebook or data log book--into which I have transcribed my thoughts, interpretations of test results, observations, and theoretical work that have been instrumental in forming my understanding of putting. It is also from this work that I draw my philosophy for teaching the putting game in the Dave Pelz Scoring Game Schools.

 

Everyone has the right to disagree, but some of the remarks seem hurtful. This is a man who loved golf so much that he gave up a very lucrative career as a rocket scientist to pass along his discoveries. 

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