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amishboy51

Natural Born Putter?

Natural Born Putters  

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  1. 1. Are great putters born or made?

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I’m going to try to express this in a more positive way than I think it. Do you believe (as I’m beginning to suspect) that some people are just naturbetter putters than others? I don’t mean that they don’t practice, but they just seem to “get” putting. If it’s not already obvious, I guess what I’m saying is that putting seems like a fairly simple action from a me

Sorry...

seems like a fairly simple action from a mechanical standpoint, but things like reading the line and controlling the speed are pretty hard for many of us. Anyone have similar thoughts, suggestions, etc.?

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Nah. Some people naturally have a better motion, but all people can be trained to putt better, and some of the better putters I know now are people who were bad but put in the effort.

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It's a skill.  One of the easier golf skills for most people to learn.  As such, it can be taught, to those who're willing to listen...

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Some people have more aptitude to begin with than others, but nobody is great at putting without a lot of work.

Edited by Pretzel

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Okay, thanks, I guess, for the encouragement, although I’m not sure that I buy putting being an easy skill to learn. 

So if the basic takeaway is that I just need to listen more and put in some work, are there any specific lessons or videos, either here on TST or elsewhere online, that you can recommend? Thanks.

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2 hours ago, amishboy51 said:

Okay, thanks, I guess, for the encouragement, although I’m not sure that I buy putting being an easy skill to learn. 

So if the basic takeaway is that I just need to listen more and put in some work, are there any specific lessons or videos, either here on TST or elsewhere online, that you can recommend? Thanks.

Don't expect too much, though. It's possibly not your putting skill that's bad?

At a clinic I went to recently, the instructor gave us a simple way of understanding what is realistic, by example. He took a bunch of balls and set them 50 feet from the hole, then told each of us to make that putt. We all missed by a lot. Then he put tees 3 feet from the hole and told us to put the ball somewhere inside the tees. We all put it within 4 feet, mostly within 3. Then told us how many putts would it take you to get it in the hole from that distance? We all answered 2. The next thing he did was put a bunch of balls 6 feet away and had us putt. We collectively made half of them. He told us that's about as good as it gets. In a simple 10 minute demonstration, he made a pretty decent point that no one putts so well that they can expect to make 50 foot putts or even 6 foot putts except, jokingly, Jordan Spieth. For long putts and chips just get it in a 3 foot circle around the hole.

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17 hours ago, amishboy51 said:

seems like a fairly simple action from a mechanical standpoint, but things like reading the line and controlling the speed are pretty hard for many of us. Anyone have similar thoughts, suggestions, etc.?

 

2 hours ago, amishboy51 said:

although I’m not sure that I buy putting being an easy skill to learn. 

These two statements contradict each other. You admit putting is a simple action (which it is) but then you state that putting is not an easy skill to learn?

If putting is a simple action from a mechanical standpoint, it would make sense that it is an easy skill to learn. A more complex action (hitting a driver long and straight) would be a more difficult skill to learn.

Distance control is not hard. Develop a repeatable stroke that allows you to strike the ball in the center of the clubface each time. Then simply adjust how far you take the club back based on how far you want to hit the ball. Pretty simple.

Green reading isnt all that difficult either, relative to other things in golf, like hitting a driver consistently 300+ yds and in play for example. If you really want to get better at green reading, I suggest taking an AimPoint class, or at least watching some videos and read some articles on the topic. I have not taken the course, but I have started to read the greens with my feet and my green reading has improved just from doing that. Im sure it would only get better if I actually took the course.

It is much easier and takes less time to get better at putting than it is at any other full swing shot.

Edited by klineka

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2 hours ago, klineka said:

 

These two statements contradict each other. You admit putting is a simple action (which it is) but then you state that putting is not an easy skill to learn?

If putting is a simple action from a mechanical standpoint, it would make sense that it is an easy skill to learn. A more complex action (hitting a driver long and straight) would be a more difficult skill to learn.

Distance control is not hard. Develop a repeatable stroke that allows you to strike the ball in the center of the clubface each time. Then simply adjust how far you take the club back based on how far you want to hit the ball. Pretty simple.

Green reading isnt all that difficult either, relative to other things in golf, like hitting a driver consistently 300+ yds and in play for example. If you really want to get better at green reading, I suggest taking an AimPoint class, or at least watching some videos and read some articles on the topic. I have not taken the course, but I have started to read the greens with my feet and my green reading has improved just from doing that. Im sure it would only get better if I actually took the course.

It is much easier and takes less time to get better at putting than it is at any other full swing shot.

Well, I guess I can see how you could think that; what I was trying to say was that moving a putter a few feet is a simple mechanical action, but "putting," which would include reading the speed and line correctly, is a skill. And despite watching videos and reading articles, with many hours of practice, a skill that I still haven't come close to mastering.

Regardless, thanks for your input.

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20 hours ago, Pretzel said:

Some people have more aptitude to begin with than others, but nobody is great at putting without a lot of work.

Oh, I worked like the Devil at my putting back in the day! When your tee to green game is lights out and you only score 1or 2 strokes under par consistently, it becomes obvious that you can't putt! So I resolved to work at it.

I developed the uncanny knack of rolling the ball on the perfect line to within 4 to 6 inches short of the cup! But, I didn't make any more birdies! So much for working at it.

6 hours ago, Lihu said:

Don't expect too much, though. It's possibly not your putting skill that's bad?

At a clinic I went to recently, the instructor gave us a simple way of understanding what is realistic, by example. He took a bunch of balls and set them 50 feet from the hole, then told each of us to make that putt. We all missed by a lot. Then he put tees 3 feet from the hole and told us to put the ball somewhere inside the tees. We all put it within 4 feet, mostly within 3. Then told us how many putts would it take you to get it in the hole from that distance? We all answered 2. The next thing he did was put a bunch of balls 6 feet away and had us putt. We collectively made half of them. He told us that's about as good as it gets. In a simple 10 minute demonstration, he made a pretty decent point that no one putts so well that they can expect to make 50 foot putts or even 6 foot putts except, jokingly, Jordan Spieth. For long putts and chips just get it in a 3 foot circle around the hole.

I like the idea of realism, and realistic expectations. I golf with some guys who expect to make every 10 footer they see! I'm not sure, but I think the Tour average is somewhere between 30 and 40% on those! Why should we amateurs expect better?

And as far as the 3 foot circle goes, I once read an article that strongly contradicted this. It said to try to make every putt you look at. It corresponded to archery training. "Aim small, miss small!" Better to leave it a foot away rather than 3-4 feet! I'm just as liable to miss those as a 10 footer!

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1 hour ago, Buckeyebowman said:

And as far as the 3 foot circle goes, I once read an article that strongly contradicted this. It said to try to make every putt you look at. It corresponded to archery training. "Aim small, miss small!" Better to leave it a foot away rather than 3-4 feet! I'm just as liable to miss those as a 10 footer!

I kind of wondered about the logical fallacy of trying for a 3 foot circle? At least the way we implemented it, it seemed like it was a mental game you play on yourself to alleviate some of the pressure in putting into a tiny hole. I'll have to ask the instructor the specifics of that next time I see him, because that seemed odd to me as well.

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I think it's both natural, and self made, and would have voted that way. I remember folks in the know saying John Daly was a natural born putter in his major winning days. Palmer, in a book I read, was self taught. I suspect it's the same in the weekend warrior, amateur ranks. Some have it, some learn it, and some don't have a clue. 

Myself, I had to teach myself to be pretty good at rolling the ball on my chosen line I saw to the hole. That said, I have not always seen that correct line. This is why I have  been a "good", but not "great" putter of the golf ball. 

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19 hours ago, amishboy51 said:

Okay, thanks, I guess, for the encouragement, although I’m not sure that I buy putting being an easy skill to learn. 

So if the basic takeaway is that I just need to listen more and put in some work, are there any specific lessons or videos, either here on TST or elsewhere online, that you can recommend? Thanks.

Putting has three aspects

1. Reading the correct line
2. Starting the ball on your target line
3. Controlling the speed

The first I recommend finding an Aimpoint Express class. The second, start hitting putts down the length of a yard stick. If you can keep the ball on the yard stick for it's entire length then you are starting the ball on the line. The third, try making the back stroke as long as the forward stroke. This could also be a putter issue. An putter not fitted for you can cause distance control issues.

Compared to improving the full swing, and the amount of time needed, putting is very easy to learn.

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On 10/19/2017 at 11:13 PM, Lihu said:

I kind of wondered about the logical fallacy of trying for a 3 foot circle? At least the way we implemented it, it seemed like it was a mental game you play on yourself to alleviate some of the pressure in putting into a tiny hole. I'll have to ask the instructor the specifics of that next time I see him, because that seemed odd to me as well.

I recently read a tip somewhere to use something like a traffic cone as a putting target, rather than a cup, or a 3 foot circle. It's a "tweener" target. Quite a bit larger than the cup, quite a bit smaller than the 3 foot circle. But if you can cozy up to it regularly, you will be in like Flynn on lag putts.

And to refer to Saevel's last reply, I think part of the pressure of putting comes from being so close to the hole! You are no longer 200+ yards away, you are now 2+ yards Being that close, you might expect good things to happen! Plus, the game is played along the ground, not through the air. Thus, bugs sticking their heads up to have a look around can affect the roll. Putting is it's own unique game.

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I voted "Made" but hey, I'll add a twist... MAYBE the reference to "natural born" is actually referencing eye dominance. 

I'm right handed but left eye dominant so, when I'm over the ball and I peek towards the hole I'm seeing the line "natural" or, straight on with the dominate left eye mostly.

On the other hand, if I putted LEFT handed and peek towards the hole i would see the line just slightly to the left with the "weak" right eye mostly. . 

The above reference is to a straight line putt.. no break, etc.

Eh, but what do I know LOL...  I'm just relating back to when I shot competitive archery instinctively.. AKA no sights, eyes only.

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16 hours ago, CT207 said:

Eh, but what do I know LOL...  I'm just relating back to when I shot competitive archery instinctively.. AKA no sights, eyes only.

I'm a lefty with lefty eye dominance, and find that that doesn't really inhibit my putting in any way. If I was right eye dominant, I suppose it could possible affect my putting? I don't really see why since I use a centered putter anyway?

Off topic about archery:

Spoiler

I used to shoot traditional a bit, but I always used a point on the riser to set my distance. I used a Black Widow 42# for my competition and it had maple fiberglass limbs on it and shot Easton XX75. I would vary the height where I looked above and below that reference point for distance and temperature/humidity and calibrate on a 30 yard target. Never got that good at traditional though. My best archery was FITA indoor 18m and outdoor at 30/50/70/90m with Shibuya Sights and Easton AC arrows Hoyt Riser with Hoyt 50# maple/carbon limbs for a 70" setup.

 

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@amishboy51, I don't know your specific experience with golf in general and putting in particular, but I can tell you that when I started golf around 15 years ago, I was the worse putter the world had ever seen. Even as I was able to hit the green on some (relatively few) short par 3s in regulation after a while, I took me years to get my first par, because I was 3 and 4 putting nearly everything!

Fast forward to now when I have been tracking my game with lots of statistics since 2011: I can tell you that in those last 6 years, I dropped around 1 shot per round in putting (counting the number of putts per round), every year. In truth, the putting improvement is probably even better than that as I am finding more greens now than 6 years ago. I average just over 30 putts per round now (it was briefly in the high 29s), and it was at around 36 putts per round 6 years ago.

I have worked a little bit on my putting, but it's been by no means an obsession. But, it is no longer the weakest part of my game, and probably is now the strongest part.  I am nothing special in that regard and you too can achieve that, following the advice given above (Read, Bead, Speed), with speed being the most important in my view, unless you can't hit the center of the putter face to save your life...

Edited by sjduffers

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Interesting post sjduffers! My buddy introduced his Brother to the game just a few years ago. Let's just say that this guy has "issues" and leave it at that. My buddy showed him golf to get him back out in the world. He's a hell of a nice guy, just a little off.

Anyway, during good weather he will spend most of his day chipping and pitching to various targets in his back yard. And he brings it to the course. His Brother calls the shot, and he hits it!

But, this guy can't putt worth a crap! He can hit a 5 foot putt 3 feet short or 10 feet long! God only knows what he could do if he had a putting green in his back yard!

And Lihu, I have equated golf with archery on many occasions! Both involve a stationary shooter with a stationary target in an endeavor where accuracy is greatly desired! Form faults are looked for, dissected, and corrected!

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I second taking an aimpoint class.  It takes a lot of mystery out of green reading.  I am still using the book (pre-express) which I am comfortable with.

After you have a read it becomes line and speed.  Those two are easier.

One putting tip.  I see a lot of people swinging their arms, it is not swinging the arms but rocking the shoulders.  That's what works for me anyway.

Keep it up!  There is nothing like standing over a 10 footer and feeling you are going to make it.

 

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