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mhenrickson

Putting - looking at the hole, not the ball

62 posts in this topic

To be frank, my putting is pretty horrible. I just have a real tough time judging speed on anything longer than a few feet and usually leave it way short in fear of running it past the hole. So my last trip out I started looking at the hole during the putting stroke, not the ball. This seemed to help quite a bit as my lag putts were MUCH closer than I usually get them, and I did shave quite a few strokes off my usual number of putts.

I was curious if anyone else does this, and what the general reposne is to this technique.
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Well it might be a basic concept with many sports. You throw a football at a spot you think the reciever will go, you don't look at the ball then out to the reciever. You throw a baseball you look a the mit the whole time. After practice and years of playing you get a good idea of speed on greens.

This is what i do, i stand about 2 feet behind the ball and look at the spot i want to the ball to go. For example, if its a big right to left break, i know i need to hit the putt to a certain break point and just let it release to the hole. I will stand 2 feet behind the ball, look at the spot and take practice putts to get the feel of how hard i want to hit it. Then i will go up on the putt, and take one look at that spot, never the hole, and hit the putt. To many people always look at the hole before putting, and you end up pulling your putt because you don't register the break in your mind.

So if you have an uphill put, look at a spot behind the hole, and concentrate on that, getting a ball to that point. Its just a different way of reading putts and mentally getting your putting to do what you want.
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I tried that before. What works for me is to take three practice putts. First one putting to 1/3 of the distance. Second one putting to 2/3 of the distance. And the last putt to the actual distance. I've been able to gauge distance a lot better that way.
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I like to take 3 practice strokes as well... two at what i think the distance will be, then an actual putt, were i make sure to emphasize a nice smooth stroke. I have issues with jabbing at putts and leaving them short.
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I like to line up the putt first, then stand over the ball taking practice strokes while looking at the hole. Excellent way to get the feeling for distance on your putt. I also do this with pitch/chip shots and it's helped tremendously.
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Just to be clear, when I say "look at the hole", I do also mean the target on a breaking putt, so I do account for the break and up/down hill. Second, I have done the practice strokes while looking at the target as well. For some reason, my distance judgement is just not accurate, and I'm not able to transfer the feel of a practice stroke to the actual stroke. It could be just lack of practice/experience as I've only been golfing a year or so. I guess my main focus was to improve distance on my lag putting, so I wasn't leaving my putts 6 feet short a lot of the time.
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only playing for a year, yea, putting will take a bit of time to get the hang off. Go to your practice green and set up balls at intervals of 5 feet or so, and then try to make them 5 feet first, then 10, then 15, then 20, ect... If you miss one, line them up again. Go through your ruitene on each putt. If you miss, make sure the miss is behind the hole about a foot. At least give it a shot to go in.
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I am also a putter who looks at the target I am aiming at. Looking at the ball while putting has never worked for me.
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This topic is covered in Golf Magazine's "The Best Instruction Book Ever!" I don't have it handy right now, but it cited a study which revealed that the experimental group (looking at the hole) got closer the the hole on long putts of about 25 feet or more than the control group (looking at the ball).

If anyone's interested, I can scan and post the pages from the book on this thread.
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All i know is if try to look at the hole i don't make good contact.. I must look at the ball and keep my head down for at least a few seconds afterwards, and i can get it pretty close each time, give it a good run at it.
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I used to have this problem until I took a short game lesson. The instructor taught me to pick my line, practice my stroke, (For speed.) and then hit the ball. Only don't lift my head to look at where the ball is going until after a two count. (one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand) This helped me not to worry where the ball was going, but to fix myself on the stroke itself.
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don't agree,,,I compare this to a hitter in baseball..the best have the eye skill to follow the ball and "slow down the speed" and see the impact...Johnny Miller said when he was playing well he could "see" the impact,, obviously not true but the concept makes sense. To NOT focus on impact seems incorrect.
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I tried looking at the hole when putting but it just felt too weird. If it works for you, great but IMO its just another urban legend. When 75% of the pros start putting that way, then I'll be willing to consider their is something to it.
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To be frank, my putting is pretty horrible. I just have a real tough time judging speed on anything longer than a few feet and usually leave it way short in fear of running it past the hole. So my last trip out I started looking at the hole during the putting stroke, not the ball. This seemed to help quite a bit as my lag putts were MUCH closer than I usually get them, and I did shave quite a few strokes off my usual number of putts.

I've putted looking at the hole since I started playing golf, it's all about feel for me, and a lot of times I'll adjust the putter head to the hole on the fly, I know this sounds crazy and my friends look at me and say " WTF?" but it works for me and I rarely three putt

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The hole itself will not move, so after you make up your mind on how you want to the golf ball to travel (this alone takes a lot of thought). That path is set, next step is getting the golf ball down that predetermined path. The only thing left now is for you to hit the ball exactly where you want to, and looking at the ball really helps me do that.

I come from a pool playing background, and I'm using similiar logic to play my putts.
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The hole itself will not move, so after you make up your mind on how you want to the golf ball to travel (this alone takes a lot of thought). That path is set, next step is getting the golf ball down that predetermined path. The only thing left now is for you to hit the ball exactly where you want to, and looking at the ball really helps me do that.

Yes, but all that is related to "where" to hit it, not "how hard", and the latter is where looking at the hole helps. (Although I think it does also help with direction, to some extent, on short putts.)

I agree the analogy to throwing a ball (looking at the target, not the ball) is not perfect, but the concept is the same: It's easier to get the ball to roll the correct distance by looking at the target. May not work for everyone, may increase the chances of an off-center hit, may be better for long lag putts than for shorter ones... but don't knock it till you've tried it.
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I am a decent player playing off 4, I used to play off 2 a few seasons ago then gave up after my kids were born. Since Iv come back my putting has been shocking until I started looking at the Target and hole whilst hitting the putts.

All I can is what a difference much better speed control and the key CONFIDENCE

Later

Driver - John Letters Black tour 9" R,I,P Alida stiff shaft

3 Wood - Taylormade superfast TP   HD7 Stiff Matrix shaft

4 wood - Mizuno - Stiff shaft

Callaway x14 pro series Irons - Rifle stiff

Cleveland oil can pro series wedges - 48" 54" 60"

Scotty cameron Newport Putter

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It is confidence, its not second guessing your speed, if you do your toast, thats were you get jabbing at the putt or deaccelerating. I rather 2nd guess a line, but never 2nd guess your speed, just go with what feels right. If you end up short or long then file that away, and it will help build your control. Putting is based on experience. If your constantly changing your putting stroke then your going to have a hard time with speed. You really need to get a consistant impact, then just gain experience. Majority of my made putts, outside 3-4 feet, come from a really good gut feeling that i am going to make the putt. From there its just letting trust in your putting get you there..

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