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@vangator instead of going by what players feel like they did, why don't you go get on a SamPutt lab and do some testing. Make strokes where you accelerate through the ball and make some strokes that are more pendulum like, where the maximum speed is at or slightly before impact. See what stroke produces the best roll.

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Here are three graphs of putting strokes. The s axis is "speed" and the "t" axis is time. We'll take a look at each of these in a moment, but consider first how putting can behave like a pen

It doesn't. It eliminates what, for lack of a better word right now, I'll call "manufactured timing." A pendulum will have its own timing, and it's a very "natural" timing because it's just obeying gr

I just read this, and it's really good...the graph hits home on showing why a bad stroke is bad & a good stroke is good. I've never been one to think 'accelerate through' the ball. My stroke

Posted Images

I suspect looking at slow-motion videos are of little use and that you can't see such subtle differences.

I saw Erik's Sam PuttLab results , but since we are talking about pros, is there any material from Sam or someone else showing the graphs of professionals? Or even an article summing up their findings?

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Just wanted to how you'd comment on these 3 above average putters.

I'm not terribly interested in what it "seems" or "looks" like they were doing. I'm far more interested in what they were actually doing. I've laid out my case and have based it on experience of seeing a few thousand golfers on SAM PuttLab. I apologize, but it's going to take more then video and guessing to sway my opinion. Also, I've never said you can't be a better than average putter accelerating into the ball; just that it's far less likely.

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Are these SAM Putt labs located at places like Golfsmith or Dick's? I'll have to look. I'd be interested in seeing what I actually do.
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Are these SAM Putt labs located at places like Golfsmith or Dick's? I'll have to look. I'd be interested in seeing what I actually do.

Not typically, here's a list of places that has SAM in Florida

http://www.scienceandmotion.com/locations_us/index.php?lang=en#Florida

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One of the best pieces of advice on putting was from a book I have. It said that when putting the movement should be so smooth in the pendulum that the golf ball simply "gets in the way" when you make contact.
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One of the best pieces of advice on putting was from a book I have. It said that when putting the movement should be so smooth in the pendulum that the golf ball simply "gets in the way" when you make contact.

Thanks.  I use this thought sometimes.

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I just make a few practice strokes and make sure the ball is a little ahead of my low point. That way I can pretty much guarantee that I'm not accelerating through or stabbing and I also hit slightly up on the ball for a nice roll. It also helps to make sure the backswing is a little longer than I think it should be which subconsciously let's me now that I don't need to "power through", just let it swing back and through with it's own natural momentum. Feels like the swing will be too big but it's usually pretty spot on.

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It's so important to get the timing right with putts. I like the "getting in the way idea" that I mentioned earlier. I like to feel smooth when I putt.
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So I tried the three coins drill and I noticed on the follow stroke that it was weird for me to make it to the last penny. It was more natural of me to not get to that last penny. So would that mean I am the opposite of what most people do? Maybe that explains why a lot of my mid range and long range putts are short of the hole.

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So I understand what the OP is saying but what is the reasoning behind it? Why is it the case that you want to have the putter head at maximum speed before impact? I saw you mention for one to promote a positive AoA but is there more to it?

I guess my question is, if one were to putt in such a way so that the putter head was accelerating into impact and had a positive AoA do you claim that they would have issues with distance control? If so, why?

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So I understand what the OP is saying but what is the reasoning behind it? Why is it the case that you want to have the putter head at maximum speed before impact? I saw you mention for one to promote a positive AoA but is there more to it? I guess my question is, if one were to putt in such a way so that the putter head was accelerating into impact and had a positive AoA do you claim that they would have issues with distance control? If so, why?

The problem with accelerating into impact is you have to have perfect timing on your acceleration. If you accelerate to early you will have to much power on the putt and hit it to far. If you are late with your acceleration you will leave the putt short.

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The problem with accelerating into impact is you have to have perfect timing on your acceleration. If you accelerate to early you will have to much power on the putt and hit it to far. If you are late with your acceleration you will leave the putt short.

I agree with this. It is easier to control a object that is slowing down than it is trying to speed one up. How do you know your acceleration is going to give you the club head speed to get the distance you want. Remember acceleration increases velocity. If you get the putter to max out at velocity just before the ball, it is way easier to gauge distance because you know that velocity will be near max at impact, or just slightly before.

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The problem with accelerating into impact is you have to have perfect timing on your acceleration. If you accelerate to early you will have to much power on the putt and hit it to far. If you are late with your acceleration you will leave the putt short.

I don't see your point. It seems clear to me that one must have timing down. How does guaranteeing the maximum speed of the putter head occurring before impact eliminate any timing of acceleration? Would you not still have to time your stroke in such a way to get the proper acceleration so that the putter head maximizes at the correct speed at the correct distance short of impact and decelerates thereafter into impact the proper amount? To me it seems like the two techniques both involve an element of timing and if we can agree on that then why would the technique suggested by the OP offer more margin for error or be easier?

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There's too much overthinking in this thread The velocity thru impact is very steady and I t's minimum deceleration The other factor is overlooked is that the collision of the ball will cause the putter to slow down So even though the feeling is of acceleration (which is what is taught universal and what I now believe ) the collision will cause the deceleration pattern as observed by SAM testing So feel isn't real. I will still go with feel And the feeling is still acceleration I do not want to purposely decel. When I mean acceleration I don't mean push the pedal to the metal accel but more gentle increase in velocity
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I don't see your point. It seems clear to me that one must have timing down. How does guaranteeing the maximum speed of the putter head occurring before impact eliminate any timing of acceleration? Would you not still have to time your stroke in such a way to get the proper acceleration so that the putter head maximizes at the correct speed at the correct distance short of impact and decelerates thereafter into impact the proper amount?

To me it seems like the two techniques both involve an element of timing and if we can agree on that then why would the technique suggested by the OP offer more margin for error or be easier?

See the quote bellow,

The best putters almost all tend to have a decelerating putter head at or even slightly before impact. Their putting stroke resembles a pendulum, reaching maximum speed at or slightly before impact.

-@iacas

A pendulum is a device under the constraints of only gravity. Meaning when the pendulum is moving towards its low point, it gains speed due to acceleration (gravity). When it then passes the low point (its max velocity), and proceeds upward again, it looses speed do to an application of gravity but in the opposite direction.

Downstroke = adding speed

Bottom of Stroke = Max Speed

Forestroke = loosing speed

This thread was primarily created to bust the myth of accelerating through impact. Iacas has demonstrated that the best putters tend to have a pendulum stroke. In this regard they are primarily allowing gravity to accelerate the club. They are NOT adding acceleration with their hands.

Iacas also pointed out that the optimal impact is hitting slightly upward on the ball. So to kill two birds with one stone. Just place the ball slightly forward of the bottom of the swing arc. You now have conditions were the putter is traveling back upwards, and the putter is at max speed or slightly deaccelerating.

If you wanted to, you could add acceleration (add speed) to the strike and still hit up, by why would you want do. You would be taking a simple and effective approach to putting and making it more complicated by adding more human error to it.

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(edited)
I don't see your point. It seems clear to me that one must have timing down. How does guaranteeing the maximum speed of the putter head occurring before impact eliminate any timing of acceleration?

It doesn't. It eliminates what, for lack of a better word right now, I'll call "manufactured timing." A pendulum will have its own timing, and it's a very "natural" timing because it's just obeying gravity, physics, etc. It plays out all on its own.

Two scenarios for you:

1) If you had to be traveling 55 MPH +/- 3 MPH in your car when you crossed a line, would you rather get to 55 MPH and maintain that speed or would you rather be at 45 or 50 MPH just before and try to accelerate right before the line to hit the speed?

2) If I had you lob a baseball underhanded into a garbage can 20 to 50 feet away, would you rather be allowed to make as long of an arm swing as you want, or would you rather have to stand with your heels and back against the wall so your hand couldn't travel back behind you?

In both cases you'd perform better with the first choice.

To me it seems like the two techniques both involve an element of timing and if we can agree on that then why would the technique suggested by the OP offer more margin for error or be easier?

But here's another simpler reason. This may be, for some, the ultimate explanation/reason. Here's an acceleration profile. There's no ball, it's just a person's putting stroke.

Timing is important. There's some timing in every stroke, whether you're accelerating or not. There's timing in the baseball lob and the car thing too.

If your timing can vary as much as those segments (maybe that's a tenth of a second or something), with impact occurring somewhere in between those two lines, the question becomes this: do you have more consistent speed between lines A or B?


Clearly your speed is more consistent between B.

There's too much overthinking in this thread

I disagree with that. Make a pendulum stroke with roughly equal length backswings and follow-throughs. That's all that's being said.

The other factor is overlooked is that the collision of the ball will cause the putter to slow down So even though the feeling is of acceleration (which is what is taught universal and what I now believe ) the collision will cause the deceleration pattern as observed by SAM testing

That's incorrect.

Someone accelerating through the ball will see a pattern quite like the red one in the picture in the first post:

You can see where the putter impacts the ball, and you do get a near-instantaneous deceleration, but then the putter rebounds slightly and accelerates once again.

This is poor, and virtually always leads to poor distance control.

Feel is not real, on that we will almost always agree, and you're free to "believe" what you'd like, but physics are real, and these are how they look and act.

I will still go with feel And the feeling is still acceleration I do not want to purposely decel. When I mean acceleration I don't mean push the pedal to the metal accel but more gentle increase in velocity

Again you're free to do as you wish, and maybe you have a perfect pendulum motion that "feels" like it accelerates, but I've made my case. If you don't agree, or don't wish to follow the advice, that's okay by me.

A pendulum is a device under the constraints of only gravity. Meaning when the pendulum is moving towards its low point, it gains speed due to acceleration (gravity). When it then passes the low point (its max velocity), and proceeds upward again, it looses speed do to an application of gravity but in the opposite direction.

And to be clear, I'm not advocating a "pure pendulum" swing - you'd often have to take your putter back quite far to hit even a 20-foot putt - but one in which your muscles fire to mimic a pendulum motion, or basically, to have a smooth acceleration curve that peaks (reaches max speed) at or before impact with the golf ball.

It's a "muscle aided" pendulum.

This thread was primarily created to bust the myth of accelerating through impact. Iacas has demonstrated that the best putters tend to have a pendulum stroke. In this regard they are primarily allowing gravity to accelerate the club. They are NOT adding acceleration with their hands.

Well again they are, but many won't feel like they are. The point is to have a curve that maximizes your margin of error:

That's the same graph, re-done to show the "timing" required to be within the same "one block" speed. "One block" might represent 1 MPH, or maybe a ball with +/- 3 feet of distance control.
In fact, I take back what I said above: this image, more than any other, demonstrates my point. I probably should have included it in the first post. I'll add a link to it now, though.
Iacas also pointed out that the optimal impact is hitting slightly upward on the ball. So to kill two birds with one stone. Just place the ball slightly forward of the bottom of the swing arc. You now have conditions were the putter is traveling back upwards, and the putter is at max speed or slightly deaccelerating.

If you wanted to, you could add acceleration (add speed) to the strike and still hit up, by why would you want do. You would be taking a simple and effective approach to putting and making it more complicated by adding more human error to it.

I agree.

Edited by iacas
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