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Valleygolfer

Putting.....watch the putter or the ball

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  1. 1. Do you look at the ball or watch the putter

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I noticed that my accuracy increases considerably when I watch the putter, ensuring a consistent plane, but my touch for distance is affected somewhat. I think with practice can get the touch down. I am wondering others do this and if anyone can forsee any looming issues with doing this.

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The best putter at my course watches nothing but the hole - doesnt work for me, but he is one hell of a coach when I have been paired with him in tourneys.

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You forgot "neither."

Dave Stockton, in "Unconscious Putting" asks you to look at a spot along your initial line in front of the ball. I've found it smoothes out your stroke and makes you less ball conscious.

And if you're looking at the putter, you're effed, if that means moving your eyes or head around.

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I watch the spot where the ball lies.  Before I strike it, I watch the ball.  After I strike it, I'm looking at the spot where it was until it's well on its way to the hole.

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I've always watched the putter. It's just ingrained to me, and I would recommend it to anyone who's struggling with their stroke.

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Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond

And if you're looking at the putter, you're effed, if that means moving your eyes or head around.

I can't agree with that, for the majority of putts (considering moderate to fast greens), you're only moving the putter back 3-4" at most.  It's quite easy to do without moving your head.

I used to just look at the ball, and couldn't putt to save my life.  Since I started watching the putter, it's smoothed out my stroke and made me more consistent with distance, especially on fast greens.

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Originally Posted by Bullitt5339

I can't agree with that, for the majority of putts (considering moderate to fast greens), you're only moving the putter back 3-4" at most.  It's quite easy to do without moving your head.

I used to just look at the ball, and couldn't putt to save my life.  Since I started watching the putter, it's smoothed out my stroke and made me more consistent with distance, especially on fast greens.

Each to his own, but having read studies over the years about eye movement and putting ... the probability of watching the putter helping you, is low. If I'm looking at the putter, if the arc is off a little or too much, I'd be thinking, "I'm effed" before I even touch the ball.  But perhaps, it helps you because of some other issue, as you mentioned. Looking at the ball, people say, makes you too ball focused, and some think it may give you the yips as you get older.

And all of the above are the reasons I have transitioned to Stockton's view - a spot on your initial line in front of the ball - it is less ball or putter path conscious. It is not an easy transition, but for me, it has smoothed out the stroke where I'm just rolling the ball.

Good luck in finding whatever helps you...

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Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond

Each to his own, but having read studies over the years about eye movement and putting ... the probability of watching the putter helping you, is low. If I'm looking at the putter, if the arc is off a little or too much, I'd be thinking, "I'm effed" before I even touch the ball.  But perhaps, it helps you because of some other issue, as you mentioned. Looking at the ball, people say, makes you too ball focused, and some think it may give you the yips as you get older.

And all of the above are the reasons I have transitioned to Stockton's view - a spot on your initial line in front of the ball - it is less ball or putter path conscious. It is not an easy transition, but for me, it has smoothed out the stroke where I'm just rolling the ball.

Good luck in finding whatever helps you...

Agreed.  I think the truth is that putting is such a "feel" part of the game, you must do whatever works for you.  Just look at how many different types of stances, grips and styles there are between the pros we see on TV.

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Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond

And if you're looking at the putter, you're effed, if that means moving your eyes or head around.

The putter head never leaves the peripheral vision. It's just a matter of tracking it with your eyes as it goes back while keeping your head still. It's not difficult.

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Originally Posted by zipazoid

The putter head never leaves the peripheral vision. It's just a matter of tracking it with your eyes as it goes back while keeping your head still. It's not difficult.

Didn't say it was difficult.

I mentioned that studies have proven that tracking it with your eyes is not good.

At the same time, do what works for you. Good luck with it.

But if it doesn't work, and time changes technique - try Stockton's tip - he is the putting guru du jour.

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But you're saying you're 'effed' if you move your eyes. I disagree.

I'm only using my own experience. It's worked for me for years regardless of what studies say. Obviously, it's an individualistic thing so I wouldn't go by what studies say - or even what Stockton says. Just try it - If it works it works. If it doesn't it doesn't.

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Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond

Quote:

Originally Posted by zipazoid

The putter head never leaves the peripheral vision. It's just a matter of tracking it with your eyes as it goes back while keeping your head still. It's not difficult.

Didn't say it was difficult.

I mentioned that studies have proven that tracking it with your eyes is not good.

At the same time, do what works for you. Good luck with it.

But if it doesn't work, and time changes technique - try Stockton's tip - he is the putting guru du jour.

I tend to agree, and it goes against most instruction.  Even moving the eyes can be a detriment to making a consistent putting stroke, and I don't know how anyone can do that while keeping the head rock still.  I honestly don't see how anyone could be a good putter doing that.  If it works for someone, well then it works for them, but I would never recommend it to anyone.  There have been some very good putters who never moved their eyes until they either heard the ball fall in the hole, or enough time had passed for them to know they had missed.  The average person is going to tend to continue to follow the putter as it goes through the ball, and that almost inevitably causes the head to move.  That is a serious no-no.  To avoid that I just don't move anything until well after striking the ball.  There is no good reason to watch the putter as you can't do anything good if you are rerouting the putter during the stroke.

Trust your stroke - practice good fundamentals, then trust them on the course.  There isn't as much individuality in a good putting stroke as many people think there is.  Like any golf stroke, if you ignore fundamentals, you will usually be inconsistent at best.

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I look at the spot where the ball is.  Id worry that watching the putterhead would cause a person's head to move and make it harder to make consistent contact.  As far as watching the hole, thats just silly to me.  Does the hole move or something? LOL

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Do what works, but I've never seen an instructor that advised watching the putter.

While you may be a good putter by watching the putter, you do have to ask yourself, would you be a better putter if you worked with a pro to get comfortable not watching the putter?

Some people are decent putters and have a stabbing putting stroke.  But 99.9% of them could improve their putting by not stabbing at the ball.  You'll get the occasional person who makes a very unorthodox method work (i.e. Furyk, Trevino in the full swing), but they're rare.

But, if your putting stats back up that by watching the putter you're not just a decent putter, but a fantastic putter, then by all means stick with it.

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Originally Posted by GaijinGolfer

I look at the spot where the ball is.  Id worry that watching the putterhead would cause a person's head to move and make it harder to make consistent contact.  As far as watching the hole, thats just silly to me.  Does the hole move or something? LOL

Bob Rotella advises watching the hole in his putting book.

On 3-footers or less, I do it and it makes making those little putts much easier.  I don't do it on longer putts though.  Although I've tried it and had some success with it, I would mishit the putt more than I wanted so I started waffling back and forth.  So, I decided to go back to a traditional method for all but the shortest putts.

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A few years ago, an article in one of the golf magazines suggested that newbies watch the hole if the putt was over 25 feet and your muscle memory does the rest.  I tried that and was rewarded when the ball lagged near the hole.  Of course, anything in those articles works once or twice. These days, I watch the back of the ball where the putter is gonna hit.

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I agree with "what ever works for you." I for one do not look at the ball or the putter. Once I line the putt up I look at the path I want the ball to follow. I don't look at a spot but rather the path I visualize during my alignment. I stroke the putter as if the ball isn't even there, it just gets in the way of the putter during the stroke. I practice by making two lines of tees in the practice green, about a 1/2" on either side of my putter. I practice strokes between the tees to assure I'm making straight strokes. If I don't I'll hit a tee and know wasn't stroking the putter straight. Works for me..

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Ball. This year I started putting more like I chip and hit a bladed wedge. I look at the back of the ball and think about my target. I was more likely to chip in than sink a long putt until just recently.

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