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I actually reviewed Geoff Magnum's material and his concept on the core putt really struck me.  It's something that I recognize from my best putting days, that I have a stock putt and I just add and subtract some accordingly.  I'll be trying to use that as a conscious thought from now on.  Still, I think I just need to refrain from twitching and creaming the ball, and maybe get the guts to back off the putt.  Backing off has definitely helped my ball striking, maybe I should pick up that habit in my putting too.

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Originally Posted by CalBoomer

The simple fact is that putting is hard, and good distance control is the hardest part of the physical act (as opposed to reading the line).

That may be true, but I wouldn't say it's definitely true. What about controlling the face angle - is that not tougher for some people.


Originally Posted by CalBoomer

Using the length of the backswing to control distance is only reliable if the forward stroke accelerates at a uniform rate and then decelerates just before or after the ball is struck (like a pendulum would).

Please clarify the first for me, because my initial reaction was to ask: Why would we want to almost vary the backswing length and then try to vary the forward stroke speed/acceleration as well? Aren't you just introducing another variable rather than trying to keep things more uniform?

I sense that is perhaps not what you're saying, and that you like using the length of the backswing to control distance... but I'm not sure. I do, generally speaking, and the best putters tend to as well.

Additionally, as I've said, the best putting profile begins to decelerate before the ball is struck, not after. The best putts are struck after low point.

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Originally Posted by iacas

That may be true, but I wouldn't say it's definitely true. What about controlling the face angle - is that not tougher for some people.

Please clarify the first for me, because my initial reaction was to ask: Why would we want to almost vary the backswing length and then try to vary the forward stroke speed/acceleration as well? Aren't you just introducing another variable rather than trying to keep things more uniform?

I sense that is perhaps not what you're saying, and that you like using the length of the backswing to control distance... but I'm not sure. I do, generally speaking, and the best putters tend to as well.

Additionally, as I've said, the best putting profile begins to decelerate before the ball is struck, not after. The best putts are struck after low point.


Regarding face angle, I think that modern putters have given us a lot of help in that regard, but not to suggest that it is easy. I do think, and have read in a lot of places (no references) that distance control is even harder. And that is my personal experience.

With regard to acceleration and backswing. I try to keep my putter swing such that it has constant gradual acceleration. So the longer the backswing, the longer the period of acceleration, and the faster the putter head is moving when it contacts the ball. An analogy would be a full swing vs half swing with a regular club. If the acceleration is relatively constant, the club head is moving faster at contact with the full swing than the half swing because of the longer time of acceleration. The real trick in putting is creating a putter stroke that does indeed have constant gentle acceleraton irrespective of the length of backswing used. Having said all that, I think some people try to use a backswing of similar length and "adjust" the acceleration, which in non-physics parlance is like jabbing the ball. I think that is much harder to reproduce consistently for different distances.


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Originally Posted by iacas

Please clarify the first for me, because my initial reaction was to ask: Why would we want to almost vary the backswing length and then try to vary the forward stroke speed/acceleration as well? Aren't you just introducing another variable rather than trying to keep things more uniform?


Well isn't that the whole point?  If you swing with the same speed, wouldn't the ball go the same distance regardless of the length of the swing?  If you're moving the putter forward at X mph for 2 feet or X mph for 4 feet, aren't you imparting the same amount of force?

My unqualified advice would be that imtomtomim practice with a metronome.  I found that to be incredibly helpful.  I try to take away on tick and strike the ball on tock.  In that case, by thinking maintaining that tempo, but lengthening the swing, my stroke is faster with a longer backswing but that's without thinking--i'm just concentrating on far i bring it back, and maintaining the tick tock tempo.

So I know that with that tempo (i think i use 60 beats per minute or something close to that), if i bring the club back to my big toe the ball will roll about 7-8 feet.  I can extend that to my little toe and it will go maybe 12 feet.   I dont know if those distances are right, but I test it out on the practice green before each round.  This has helped me tremendously with distance control.

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Originally Posted by iacas

That may be true, but I wouldn't say it's definitely true. What about controlling the face angle - is that not tougher for some people.


I would think that just in terms of what is more important in putting, speed versus direction, speed would easily be more important.  I don't know whether you trying to say the opposite, but I'm sure that if you had proper distance control but poor direction, I think the worst scenario distance you'd end up with would be 6 or 7 feet left or right of hole on a 40 foot putt.  But if you could have great direction and poor distance control, I think the worst scenario distance with that 40 foot putt would be more like 15-20 feet.

Albeit, I'm sure there are people in both categories of that, but I think if one can get distance control down, regardless of direction, it'll improve putting (more for higher handicappers than lower).

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Originally Posted by imtomtomim

I was wondering if anyone uses a pendulum motion to control their putting distance instead of hitting through the ball?  To clarify a bit, I mean controlling your distance by how far you bring it back and kind of just dropping it through the stroke, as opposed to guiding it through the motion.  I noticed that my pitching control is best when I use this kind of technique and for the beginning of last season, it worked pretty well in my putting.  I gave up on it because I ended up jamming a bunch of putts way too long but I've noticed I jam putts too long all the time!  I guess I just need to commit to one style more, but I guess I was looking for confirmation in this kind of technique.


That's the way I putt.  I'm not a great putter and struggling lately, but I've always maintained an average of less than 2 putts per hole.  When the putts get long, it gets easier to take a big stroke and just add a little acceleration.  You have to keep it rhythmic and not get too quick on the putting stroke.  Another great drill for developing feel is to drop your right hand down the shaft a little, or take a baseball grip and practice hitting up hill, then down hill to a spot or hole.  You'll dial in the green speed really quickly that way.  The hand separation gives your brain signals that are easier to interpret.

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Originally Posted by Kieran123

I picture rolling the ball towards the hole with my hand. I was on the practice green on Saturday and was doing this, then I actually rolled the ball with my hand 3 times and all of them ended up close to the holes I was aiming at.

Don't know how it works, but it works.


Interesting, and I do think it makes sense. When you throw a ball, you swing your arm with an accelerating motion. And a gentle underhand toss should have only mild acceleration, which is what you want with a putt--as discussed endlessly above. I am always looking for good mental images of physical acts I'm trying to perform. I think you have come upon a very good one.

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I think I was personally taking this thread off topic. So I digress and apologize. My original post is in the spoiler but, again, please don't respond to it.

Originally Posted by CalBoomer

Regarding face angle, I think that modern putters have given us a lot of help in that regard, but not to suggest that it is easy. I do think, and have read in a lot of places (no references) that distance control is even harder. And that is my personal experience.

Well, be fair now, I could say my personal experience is the opposite, and where does that get us? Not trying to be mean or rude... just saying.

Do you realize how small an angle you have to hole even a five-foot putt? If the putt rolls about a foot and a half past the hole, you have only +/- 1.1 degrees to hit the ball and make the putt. Anything outside of that and you've missed.

So, as a percentage margin of error, I could argue that face angle is by far more difficult.

Originally Posted by CalBoomer

With regard to acceleration and backswing. I try to keep my putter swing such that it has constant gradual acceleration. So the longer the backswing, the longer the period of acceleration, and the faster the putter head is moving when it contacts the ball. An analogy would be a full swing vs half swing with a regular club. If the acceleration is relatively constant, the club head is moving faster at contact with the full swing than the half swing because of the longer time of acceleration. The real trick in putting is creating a putter stroke that does indeed have constant gentle acceleraton irrespective of the length of backswing used. Having said all that, I think some people try to use a backswing of similar length and "adjust" the acceleration, which in non-physics parlance is like jabbing the ball. I think that is much harder to reproduce consistently for different distances.

I would agree with all of that. :-) I think and hope that what I've said is in line with that.

Originally Posted by dsc123

Well isn't that the whole point?  If you swing with the same speed, wouldn't the ball go the same distance regardless of the length of the swing?  If you're moving the putter forward at X mph for 2 feet or X mph for 4 feet, aren't you imparting the same amount of force?


I don't think anyone's going to disagree with that.

Originally Posted by dsc123

My unqualified advice would be that imtomtomim practice with a metronome.  I found that to be incredibly helpful.  I try to take away on tick and strike the ball on tock.  In that case, by thinking maintaining that tempo, but lengthening the swing, my stroke is faster with a longer backswing but that's without thinking--i'm just concentrating on far i bring it back, and maintaining the tick tock tempo.

I like that. In the end I prefer what David Edel calls a "radial" putter... a very pendulum like motion. The time of the stroke is roughly the same, but the length controls the distance. As opposed to what he calls a "linear" putter - someone with more of a "pop" stroke or a "hit" stroke.

Originally Posted by dsc123

So I know that with that tempo (i think i use 60 beats per minute or something close to that), if i bring the club back to my big toe the ball will roll about 7-8 feet.  I can extend that to my little toe and it will go maybe 12 feet.   I dont know if those distances are right, but I test it out on the practice green before each round.  This has helped me tremendously with distance control.

Good tips.

Originally Posted by phillyk

I would think that just in terms of what is more important in putting, speed versus direction, speed would easily be more important.


Is speed always more important? To what amount? Is missing your line by five degrees equivalent to getting the speed off by four feet? Is it the same from 10 feet as it is from 40?

Things like this are too abstract to really discuss without any defined metrics. In general, I'd agree. But that might only be true 57.83% of the time. On a three-foot putt speed is less important than it is when it's a 40-footer. On a putt that has to ride a ridge (and, if it falls off, could end up 20 feet away), the line might also be incredibly important.

Originally Posted by phillyk

I don't know whether you trying to say the opposite, but I'm sure that if you had proper distance control but poor direction, I think the worst scenario distance you'd end up with would be 6 or 7 feet left or right of hole on a 40 foot putt.  But if you could have great direction and poor distance control, I think the worst scenario distance with that 40 foot putt would be more like 15-20 feet.

Are those equivalent misses? Because I don't think they are. If you miss a 40 foot putt by 20 feet, what's the equivalent miss in terms of line? That's a 50% error! Is a 50% error in line missing the line by 25 degrees? Because you could very well end up farther than 20 feet away.

We can't really have this discussion because how can you quantify the results? What's a 50% error in path?

I'm going to mute myself though because I think I'm single-handedly going off topic here. So shame on me. I'll stop now.

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Originally Posted by dsc123

I wouldn't think of it as dropping it through the zone, but rather swinging it at a constant tempo, i.e., the same amount of time for a short stroke and a long one.  Then the only variable is the length.



I think of putting this way.  I try to swing back and through at an even pace.  I rock my shoulders and except on vary long putts make no effort to actively accelerate the putter. I am convinced that focus on tempo keeps things simple and gives the best distance control. I really  believe thoughts like accelerating, popping, etc encourage over thinking.  I often wonder if this is why so many people get the yips.

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I look at the hole and make practice strokes to get a feel for distance. Then, when I focus on the ball, I replicate the tempo and feel of the practice stroke. I read about this technique somewhere (possibly here) and it's really helped my putting. I also employ the same technique when chipping and on short pitch shots.

The key is to not hover over the ball once you finish your practice strokes. Just get on with it.

ot: I sunk a 40 footer for birdie yesterday. It ruled.

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Originally Posted by CalBoomer

Interesting, and I do think it makes sense. When you throw a ball, you swing your arm with an accelerating motion. And a gentle underhand toss should have only mild acceleration, which is what you want with a putt--as discussed endlessly above. I am always looking for good mental images of physical acts I'm trying to perform. I think you have come upon a very good one.


I have even seen it suggested that you go as far as to mime a "practice" toss toward the hole each time as part of your setup to fix in your mind the sort of speed you're looking for. Never really tried it because, well, there's the whole looking-like-a-loon thing.

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for distance control I have 2 stock putts - one that feels comfortable (it doesnt matter how hard or soft it is just that it can be reproduced) and one that feels about twice the distance.

Before I go out to play I measure the stock putts on the practice green in steps (my usual is 7 steps or on slow greens 5 steps) - just a comfortable walking step that is reproduceable.  When I am on the course I walk beside a line which i want to hit and measure the steps.  Depending on the green I take off steps or add others on: if it is up hill i take off 2 steps, or if it is down hill i add on two steps and those is the distances of the stock putts.  Then hit accordingly, a little or below what it feels comfortable.

e.g. Stock putt 1 is 7 steps and stock putt 2 is 13 steps.  Its an uphill shot worth 2 steps = new putt is 5 steps for stock puttt.  The ball to the pin is 7 steps. I will be 2 steps short so I need to hit it a little harder than usual to get there but no where near as hard as double.

I have found that it also helps with aiming as you know the speed it will go so it cuts down one variable as the break depends on the ball speed (which is known, sortof).

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My putting stroke is a little odd but I use one arm, my right arm would be left arm for a righty, as my "Pendulum" I try to apply no force at all with it. My other hand is slightly lower down the grip and this is my "Pace Hand" this is motor of my putting stroke. It pulls the head back and applies all the force. I find this to be a very consistent method of using a pendulum like stroke to control pace. My pace is the best part of my putting I am rarely off on pace and as a result I rarely 3 putt.

I also however rarely 1 putt. My struggle is controlling the face of the club. My bodies alignment is fine I think the club is strait at my target and my puts end up 3-4 inches off to the left or right. I cant tell you how many times Ive hit a beautiful put from 8+ feet that missed the hole by less then 2 inches and leaves me a 8-10 inch tap in. Its nice to be able to 2 putt a lot but so frustrating to miss by so little so much.

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