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Caveman59

Short, Downhill Breaking Putt Strategy

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3 minutes ago, Caveman59 said:

This wasn't intended to be a debate. But I'm sitting here watching Gary Nicklaus at -5 in a Champions Tour event.  

It wasn’t meant to be a debate as there really isn’t a debate about it. It was just being advised that tour players, including the ones you mentioned didn’t have the video analysis we have today and often describe their ‘feelings’ of how they executed a shot. Feel ain’t real and often they didn’t do at all what they thought they did. I was just mentioning this to say that what they actually did is more important than what they say they did. 

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1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

It wasn’t meant to be a debate as there really isn’t a debate about it. It was just being advised that tour players, including the ones you mentioned didn’t have the video analysis we have today and often describe their ‘feelings’ of how they executed a shot. Feel ain’t real and often they didn’t do at all what they thought they did. I was just mentioning this to say that what they actually did is more important than what they say they did. 

 

The reference of debate wasn't directed towards you, V. 

Edited by RandallT
Removed accidental. redundant quote

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4 minutes ago, Caveman59 said:

 

The reference of debate wasn't directed towards you, V. 

What ever method you chose to follow, you have to practice that method. Fast, downhill breaking putts are hard enough without having to adjust to striking the ball in a different position.

in Crenshaw’s time, greens were different as were putter heads. If he used a bullseye style putter, the MOI was completely different than today’s Anser or mallet style putters. Today’s putter are designed to resist the twisting of off center hits and reduce the effects. So Crenshaw’s strategy may not work well at all.

I think it would be better to keep your same current putting stroke, which works well for you I hope, and practice these type with shorter backswings.

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6 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

 hat ever method you chose to follow, you have to practice that method. Fast, downhill breaking putts are hard enough without having to adjust to striking the ball in a different position.

in Crenshaw’s time, greens were different as were putter heads. If he used a bullseye style putter, the MOI was completely different than today’s Anser or mallet style putters. Today’s putter are designed to resist the twisting of off center hits and reduce the effects. So Crenshaw’s strategy may not work well at all.

I think it would be bettero keep your same current putting stroke, which works well for you I hope, and practice these type with shorter backswings.

Crenshaw has used a Wilson 8802 on and off for over 40 yrs, one he received as a 15th birthday present.  I use a Wilson Tour Special ll, which is a very similar putter.  I have a Wilson 8813 and a Ping Pal 2 BeCu.

There is no doubt the game has changed...clubs are better, training is better, courses are more groomed than they used to be.  The changes in technology is mind boggling.  Video was just starting to creep onto the scene back in the mid 70's.  We didn't have rangefinders, swing analysis software, etc.

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4 minutes ago, Caveman59 said:

Crenshaw has used a Wilson 8802 on and off for over 40 yrs, one he received as a 15th birthday present.  I use a Wilson Tour Special ll, which is a very similar putter.  I have a Wilson 8813 and a Ping Pal 2 BeCu.

There is no doubt the game has changed...clubs are better, training is better, courses are more groomed than they used to be.  The changes in technology is mind boggling.  Video was just starting to creep onto the scene back in the mid 70's.  We didn't have rangefinders, swing analysis software, etc.

Those are classic putters. Mickelson used something similar for a while. If you can aim it really well, I would still consider just practicing center hits on those putts. There is less forgiveness with that style and it will be hard to be consistent hitting an off center spot without a lot of practice.

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If you don’t care what other people are doing on these parts why do you have to keep chiming in about hitting it off the toe @Caveman59?

Your best clutch putter of all time doesn’t hit balls off the toe. 🙂

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2 hours ago, boogielicious said:

Today’s putter are designed to resist the twisting of off center hits and reduce the effects.

There's still going to be a reduction in energy transfer from a center strike vs a slightly toed one, but if you're good enough with the putter to be able to control distance and point of contact, then you're already good enough to control distance simply from hitting the center anyway so it seems like this strategy is just adding an additional unnecessary variable.

Just make a shorter stroke if the putt may run out too far downhill. I've hit 4' puts with 6-12" weight before, it's really not that hard. It's more a matter of committing to it and trusting that gravity will get the ball to the hole without the need to assist it with my stroke.

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On 2/8/2019 at 12:30 AM, Caveman59 said:

Everyone has a different strategy and methods for all types of putts.  I'm curious as to strategy on short, downhill breaking putts. Ben Crenshaw advised playing these type of putts, more off the toe,  instead of the sweet spot.  I have always used this method and it has worked pretty well.  He said that a person tends to decelerate the club head on these types of putts and that he played the putt in this manner.   Just wanted to see what everyone else thought about this subject. 

I never hit a putt off center on purpose.  Good putting depends so much on good technique that I have found that using the same routine for every putt is key for me to get the ball rolling on the right line.  What I do for those slightly longer (10-15 feet) downhill putts is to take my read, then pick a point on that line somewhere short of the hole (how far short depends on just how slick that putt actually is), then I try to hit the putt with the speed that my brain feels is needed to reach that spot on a flat green.  

With the new rules, on a 4-5 footer I'll just try to pick a line to hit the center of the hole, then try to hit the flagstick, like I'd do if I was on the practice green.  That doesn't mean that I'll bang it in...but it does let me be a little more aggressive and take at least some of the break out of the putt. 

But above all, I'll focus on making a smooth stroke, hitting the ball squarely, and following through.  For me, short putts are all about the takeaway and the follow through.  A slight wobble at the start or a stab with a short follow is almost always going to result in my failing to execute almost any putt, but it just increases that potential on those short fast downhillers. 

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18 hours ago, Lihu said:

Interesting, I wonder if putting a mark at that spot would be enough to get any kind of consistency. I wonder if that’s allowed?

Did you mark it up with a sharpie? What kind of consistency were you getting for those 3’-6’ putts. Also, I meant the same distances too. A breaking downhill putt doesn’t take a lot of tap for it to really get going on some of the greens I play. Ask @tehuti about some of those greens at San Dimas 😂

And some of the CC in our area have really brutal greens 🥺

 

Those greens at San Dimas are ridiculous. Three and four putts are not hard to do.

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3 hours ago, tehuti said:

Those greens at San Dimas are ridiculous. Three and four putts are not hard to do.

Yeah, pretty brutal for a public course! 😂

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On 2/8/2019 at 10:47 AM, klineka said:

Or you could just putt it slower and still hit it out of the center?

I've never heard of this method until this thread. It doesn't make sense to me.

That'd be like me saying a stock PW is my 140 club, but I only want this one to go 130 so I'm going to hit it off the toe on purpose. 

Why would you want to mishit a club on purpose? Wouldn't hitting the putter on towards the toe make the putter more likely to twist/rotate which would make it harder to start the ball on your intended line?

It would depend on the putter... BUT- I use a fairly firm grip and since it is downhill anyway, you are striking with more 'gentle' hit. And it might only need to be touched to get it going downhill towards the hole. Using the toe side gets it off the 'sweet spot' so it doesn't jump off and run away. 

In my case, I have an Odyssey 2 ball that has some weight to it, so a gentle tap for downhill putts has very little effect on twisting. But a lighter blade putter using a light grip would certainly be a different story.

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@caveman,

Hey brother, I'll throw a theory at you. I have no idea if this is true, but I'll chuck it against the wall and see if it sticks. I think the method you describe is more of an "old school" thing. It seems to me that putters of late have been designed to stop doing exactly what it is you describe. My putter for example was advertised as producing the same speed no matter where on the face you hit it. (I'm sure that's a marketing exaggeration, but I think you get my drift.)

So, my theory is not only is what you describe difficult for those of us who don't practice putting (or don't practice enough putting), but also newer equipment is designed to make it even harder to do. 

By the way, fun topic. Good discussion. 

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1 hour ago, RayG said:

Using the toe side gets it off the 'sweet spot' so it doesn't jump off and run away. 

Using the proper amount of power on a center strike would prevent it from jumping off and running away too.

Like others have mentioned already. If you have enough skill to consistently hit putts off the toe at the appropriate speed then that means you have the skills to be able to hit the same putt out of the center of the clubface at a slower speed. 

IMO hitting the ball out of the toe on purpose to reduce the speed is a band-aid for not wanting to take the time to practice proper pace control.

Edited by klineka

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On 2/8/2019 at 10:35 PM, Caveman59 said:

I listen to Nicklaus (greatest clutch putter of all time),  Seve (best short game ever), Crenshaw (overall greatest putter all time), Trevino (greatest shot maker/shaper)  

 

Why do you think Trevino is the greatest shot maker? Honestly, Tiger could be argued for all those. Anyway, still good choices.

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47 minutes ago, Swooshgolf said:

Why do you think Trevino is the greatest shot maker? Honestly, Tiger could be argued for all those. Anyway, still good choices.

I'm with you. Trevino had one shot shape: a low fade.

But… let's please stick to the topic, which is about putting.

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22 minutes ago, iacas said:

I'm with you. Trevino had one shot shape: a low fade.

But… let's please stick to the topic, which is about putting.

Sorry again.

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