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newtogolf

Straight Back Straight Through - Is it really possible?

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I've been working on my putting which has led me to do quite a bit of reading on putting techniques.  I have been trying to use a SBST based on Pelz but in my research I found many people claiming that it's almost impossible to be SBST with most of todays putters.  I'm wondering what technique the Sand Trappers use and why.  Thanks.

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Its impossible because you cant swing something around a fixed point in a straight line.  Every putting stroke has an arc.  Now, it is possible to be SQUARE back, square through with some manipulation but true straight back, straight though?  Impossible.

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I think it's possible, but very contrived, to go SBST and never been convinced that it's worth it.

I know Pelz lays it down in his book as his strong preference, but how many of his pro students putt that way? Kite didn't, and Phil doesn't - both practice and preach an arcing stroke. If you like Pelz, I'd go with what his best students actually do, rather than what he theorizes.

Either way, I don't think the putter design matters one way or t'other.

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Originally Posted by birlyshirly

I think it's possible, but very contrived, to go SBST and never been convinced that it's worth it.

Ditto.

And it's definitely possible - the ONLY real way to go straight back and straight through is if you can get your upper torso (your upper back, your "lower neck" - the point between your shoulders) parallel to the ground, then rotate around them.

If you have any angle at all there away from 0° horizontal, you're going to putt in an arc if you don't manipulate things with "shoulder shrugging" or hand/wrist manipulations.

Harold Swash prefers to teach an almost horizontal upper back, I believe: http://www.haroldswashputting.co.uk .

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Theory is the putter would require a 90* lie angle in order to truly putt SBST.

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

I think it's possible, but very contrived, to go SBST and never been convinced that it's worth it.

I know Pelz lays it down in his book as his strong preference, but how many of his pro students putt that way? Kite didn't, and Phil doesn't - both practice and preach an arcing stroke. If you like Pelz, I'd go with what his best students actually do, rather than what he theorizes.

Either way, I don't think the putter design matters one way or t'other.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

Theory is the putter would require a 90* lie angle in order to truly putt SBST.

That's not true. All of these putter heads would go back SBST if the golfer swung his arms around the axis illustrated by the black line (blue is your arms) and maintained the same relationships (i.e. didn't roll his wrists, or bend his elbows, cock his wrists, etc.):

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I am relatively new to golf myself and that's why I asked the question.  I've learned that this seems to be a "hot topic" and people have strong opinions on this.  SBST is how I putt and I believe that it's very possible/real.  People seem to get very technical on this but in my mind it all comes down to the putter face itself.  People bring up shoulder rotation, spine axis, and all kinds of things.  Their points on those items may be very true but I've found that if I get too technical with putting that my performance suffers.  I focus on keeping that putter face as square as I can straight back and then straight through.  The goal is to make the putt, right?  With that being said if my focus is on my shoulders or spine angle or anything like that then it's not on the putter face and I think we can all agree that the putter face at impact is the most important thing.

Those that argue against it will bring up the geometry and angles.  The issue that I have with that is that this argument (lets assume we are only talking about the putter face going SBST) would only be valid imo if the cup was only big enough so that the ball would go in exactly.  We all know that this is not the case and the cup is much bigger than the ball.  Thus you can have a SBST stroke where the ball still goes in the cup (which is all that matters) even if the geometry is not 100% perfect.  When you raise the argument that I just did then you will get the argument that you just proved that SBST is not possible because the geometry is not 100%.  My answer to that is that the whole point is to get the ball in the cup so if my SBST is not 100% perfect geometrically I do not care as long as the putt goes in.

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I think its technically impossible to do exactly SBST, but I don't think that means SBST is not helpful.  SBST is really just straighter than other methods, not necessarily straight.  Getting caught up in whether its exactly straight isn't really important, IMO.  I think this becomes a sideshow that distracts from a real conversation about the merits of the two methods.

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If you read Pelz's Putting Bible he makes an argument that not only is it possible but it's the most best method of putting because it's the simplest.

The issue I'm having is that to be accurate with SBST your shoulders and hips have to be perfectly aligned to the aimline so the putter face is perpendicular to the aimline and the ball must hit the putters sweet spot.  In the past I've been lazy with my alignment and used face path and angle to compensate for misalignment.

Originally Posted by dsc123

I think its technically impossible to do exactly SBST, but I don't think that means SBST is not helpful.  SBST is really just straighter than other methods, not necessarily straight.  Getting caught up in whether its exactly straight isn't really important, IMO.  I think this becomes a sideshow that distracts from a real conversation about the merits of the two methods.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

If you read Pelz's Putting Bible he makes an argument that not only is it possible but it's the most best method of putting because it's the simplest.

The issue I'm having is that to be accurate with SBST your shoulders and hips have to be perfectly aligned to the aimline so the putter face is perpendicular to the aimline and the ball must hit the putters sweet spot.  In the past I've been lazy with my alignment and used face path and angle to compensate for misalignment.

After reading Pelz I was SBST for a while.  But that doesn't really change anything.  You're swinging a club around a fixed point, unless you're horizontal, like in Erik's diagram, you can't go exactly SBST unless you're moving your hands away from your body (outward/forward/in the direction you're facing) in addition to right/left, then back in at contact and back out in the follow through.  But like I said, I don't think that's really a significant point because trying to go SBST could be a good method.

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Originally Posted by bjwestner

I am relatively new to golf myself and that's why I asked the question.  I've learned that this seems to be a "hot topic" and people have strong opinions on this.  SBST is how I putt and I believe that it's very possible/real.  People seem to get very technical on this but in my mind it all comes down to the putter face itself.  People bring up shoulder rotation, spine axis, and all kinds of things.  Their points on those items may be very true but I've found that if I get too technical with putting that my performance suffers.  I focus on keeping that putter face as square as I can straight back and then straight through.  The goal is to make the putt, right?  With that being said if my focus is on my shoulders or spine angle or anything like that then it's not on the putter face and I think we can all agree that the putter face at impact is the most important thing.

Those that argue against it will bring up the geometry and angles.  The issue that I have with that is that this argument (lets assume we are only talking about the putter face going SBST) would only be valid imo if the cup was only big enough so that the ball would go in exactly.  We all know that this is not the case and the cup is much bigger than the ball.  Thus you can have a SBST stroke where the ball still goes in the cup (which is all that matters) even if the geometry is not 100% perfect.  When you raise the argument that I just did then you will get the argument that you just proved that SBST is not possible because the geometry is not 100%.  My answer to that is that the whole point is to get the ball in the cup so if my SBST is not 100% perfect geometrically I do not care as long as the putt goes in.

Fine if you want to redefine SBST in terms of putter face angle, rather than stroke path - although personally I think that's confusing (and not what the OP asked about).

However, in terms of the simplicity of the stroke, an arcing path in combination with a constantly-square-to-the-start-line face angle requires forearm/wrist manipulation. To my mind, that's a more complicated stroke pattern than an arcing path and a face square to the path.

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Originally Posted by dsc123

I think its technically impossible to do exactly SBST, but I don't think that means SBST is not helpful.  SBST is really just straighter than other methods, not necessarily straight.  Getting caught up in whether its exactly straight isn't really important, IMO.  I think this becomes a sideshow that distracts from a real conversation about the merits of the two methods.

But to discuss the merits of the two methods you surely need to define both. Now SBST isn't straight, it's just straighter . So how much of an arc do you need to have before you have an arcing stroke rather than a S(traighter)BS(traighter)Through?

Utley teaches an arc that only moves an inch to inch and a half off the line over a 3 foot length - which isn't a massive amount of curve IMO.

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Originally Posted by birlyshirly

But to discuss the merits of the two methods you surely need to define both. Now SBST isn't straight, it's just straighter. So how much of an arc do you need to have before you have an arcing stroke rather than a S(traighter)BS(traighter)Through?

Utley teaches an arc that only moves an inch to inch and a half off the line over a 3 foot length - which isn't a massive amount of curve IMO.

Agreed.  Just like if you say "this road is really straight", it's only "straight" if it goes perfectly straight (technically speaking) but people will/still do say things like that.  Same thing with putting in my opinion.  I was suprised to see how "touchy" of a subject this was with some people though!

Lots of different ways to be a succesful putter I am learning.

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The pendulum movement should allow for SBST for on 1' - 15' putts.  On longer putts I can see why it's more difficult to maintain SBST.  I'm also wondering if a putter like the Odyssey Backstryke is better suited for SBST given Pelz indicates the ideal ball placement is about 2" forward of the midpoint of your stance.

Another area that I found contrary to what I've seen and read is that Pelz believes the putter should strike the ball on a slight upward motion.  I've noticed many people use shaft lean to de-loft their putter which I thought would cause the ball to be hit with a slight downward motion.

Quote:

After reading Pelz I was SBST for a while.  But that doesn't really change anything.  You're swinging a club around a fixed point, unless you're horizontal, like in Erik's diagram, you can't go exactly SBST unless you're moving your hands away from your body (outward/forward/in the direction you're facing) in addition to right/left, then back in at contact and back out in the follow through.  But like I said, I don't think that's really a significant point because trying to go SBST could be a good method.

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Ive always felt like the notion of SBST is more of a feel and a mental image than it is reality.  The thought is that you dont want too many moving parts in your putting stroke or too much face manipulation, so if you tell people to just bring it straight back and then straight though, its a much simpler mental picture.

I actually used to do SBST but then I started to notice that my putting stroke has a slight arc to it and that trying to do SBST felt like I was forcing my stroke to be something that it didnt want to be, so I just allowed it to be what it wants to be: a slight arc where the face opens slightly going back and then closes coming through the ball.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

The pendulum movement should allow for SBST for on 1' - 15' putts.  On longer putts I can see why it's more difficult to maintain SBST.  I'm also wondering if a putter like the Odyssey Backstryke is better suited for SBST given Pelz indicates the ideal ball placement is about 2" forward of the midpoint of your stance.

Another area that I found contrary to what I've seen and read is that Pelz believes the putter should strike the ball on a slight upward motion.  I've noticed many people use shaft lean to de-loft their putter which I thought would cause the ball to be hit with a slight downward motion.

Quote:

I am experimenting with de-lofting the putter at impact.  When done correctly I believe that striking the ball with a de-lofted face angle is better because it puts a better roll on the ball and minimizes the backspin that the ball has.  A great book that I read explains this concept in detail, it's the "The Three Degree Putting Solution" by Michael Breed.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

Another area that I found contrary to what I've seen and read is that Pelz believes the putter should strike the ball on a slight upward motion.  I've noticed many people use shaft lean to de-loft their putter which I thought would cause the ball to be hit with a slight downward motion.

De-lofting doesn't mean you necessarily hit the ball with a downward motion at all.

My putting stroke is 1-2° up with a delivered loft of 1° or so (putter loft is 4°, so forward shaft lean is 3°).

The low spot of the putter is typically near the sternum or ever so slightly forward of that.

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