Category Archives: Putting

How Phil’s Win Can Help You Play Better!

Congrats to Phil, what a spectacular win yesterday at Pebble Beach. 

Here are 2 things you can learn from his victory:

1.  He has been practicing great over the last 6 weeks and yet until this week, his results have been less than desirable……  

Phil knew that his training was top level.  He had tremendous confidence in what he was working on and just kept plugging away….. 

We can all trust that results will follow!  Sometimes it seems that the drills will never kick in on the golf course.  Sometimes we have a bad stretch of golf, or the proverbial ‘worst round of our lives….’, even while practicing consistently….  Phil showed us again that the past does not equal the future.   If your training is solid, YOU WILL SEE RESULTS! 

Stick with the drills.  And BELIEVE!

2.  Phil stopped thinking about mechanics with his putter.  It’s hard to believe that a golfer as gifted as Phil continually falls into the bad habit of THINKING MECHANICS while on the course, and even worse in competition….  He made the decision a few weeks back to simply look at the putts and trust.  Commit to that mind set and the strokes will become more fluid and reliable!!!!   Practice, but more importantly,  LOOK AND REACT! Don’t think about your putting stroke!

*Especially in the winter, when every mistake is magnified, it’s easy to think you need to change or fix your swing too much….  What you need is CONSISTENT AND SYSTEMATIC TRAINING!!!!  And then you need to TRUST YOUR SWING. 

Merry Christmas with a Dash of Great Advice!

Merry Christmas to you all.  I really appreciate your comments and questions, and certainly your participation in my blog. 

Here’s to a fantastic golf year in 2012!

When it comes to training, there is no one I respect more than my wife, J.  She worked harder on her game than anyone I’ve had the privilege to be around in the game.  She also has a great golfing mind.  She’s played competitive golf at the highest level, so when she offers advice on golf, I’m thrilled to share it with you. 

She sent this comment to me after she read my blog on Putting advice:

“Great blog indeed. I always felt it helped me not only to try making those short putts but also to try to make them dead center. (While training and playing)Step up the bar by making your putts dead center… and put a premium on getting the speed perfect.”

Simple advice on focus and confidence. 

Putting Advice For a Beer….

I’ve been thinking a lot about putting lately, for several reasons, so it was a cool surprise to get this question from Rob recently:

“Recently I have been trying the “Phil” method of putting 5′-10′ putts in a circle around the hole. On some of the big breaking putts we have here, I don’t even scare the hole. Before I totally lose my confidence, I return to straight putts which I can make 10 out of 10. Can you talk about different putting drills for us to do on the putting green? Thanks for all of the help, good luck with the rehab and the next Sam Adams is on me!”

I want all my putting drills to answer yes to 1 or more of the below questions: 

1.  Are they improving your skills of starting your ball on your intended line?
2.  Is it improving your ability to roll the ball at an optimal speed?
3.  Is it providing clear feedback?
4.  Is the drill competitive in nature?

So many drills are a waste of precious time on the putting green.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who enthusiastically spends enough time on the putting green.  

I’m not criticizing, rather I’m pointing out that what little time we do spend on the putting green better be spend with SUPER HIGH QUALITY DRILLS if we expect to get anything out of our training.  

Right now, I think the two drills you mentioned above are excellent.  Here’s how I would ‘kick them up a notch’ in terms of QUALITY. 

Begin your training by putting 4 foot straight putts (Golfers with handicaps over 8 should be doing this drill from 3 feet in most cases).  How many in a row can you make?  Spend 10-15 minutes creating new records of 4 footers in a row.  You can stop at 100 in a row if you would like….  The repetition of putting a straight putt is fantastic for motor learning.  You’re body will learn how to make A STROKE.  You’ll learn how to start your ball on your INTENDED LINE… 

Here’s how I would have you do the ‘Phil Drill’.  One day, work on putts from 4-10ft to a quarter or a ball marker.  You’re focus is on rolling the ball over the marker, but more so on DISTANCE CONTROL.  Yup, even on short putts, it’s critically important to roll the ball at a consistent speed.  Especially at your club, where the greens are severely sloped, it’s vitally important for this reason:  SPEED DETERMINED LINE!

So spend 20 minutes going around in a circle, putting putts from 4-10 feet with the intent of rolling the ball past the marker 4-15 inches past the hole with great consistency…..  As your speed control improves (and it will with this drill, because you will see all putts roll out rather than fall into the cup….), your skill of green reading will improve

The next day, putt ‘around the world’ from 4-5feet.  Take just 5 balls and ‘randomly’ toss them around the cup approximately 4-5 feet away*.  Now putt these 5 balls and repeat 10 times.  In my head, I like to keep track of how many out of 10 putts (or two reps) I make.  After 50 putts, figure out how many out of 50 you made.  Now you have a record (and a percentage of putts made) and you simply try to beat that record next time around.  If you can get up above 70% of makes, you’ll be putting great on the course!!!

Yikes, that was a bigger blog than I intended for this morning…. The good news is that just with these two drills, you’ll see big improvements on the green!  We’ll discuss how to finish up your putting training in the weeks to come. 

As for now, I’m done for the day….  And this blog was better than expected, so it will cost you at least 2 Sam Adams! 

*putt one ball from the STRAIGHT line.  Find a straight putt and place a tee near by so each run around the hole, you can putt one perfectly straight putt to make sure you stroke stays true!

Tossing ‘A Bomb’….

The Belly-Putter is all the rage these days.  

Watching young professionals putt fantastically with the Belly-Putter is throwing the media into a frenzy!
It’s unintended marketing genius!!!
A Belly-Putter in a great putters hand is very similar to Taylor Made giving the R-11 driver to Dustin Johnson and Camilo Villegas.  
Why are we falling for this one so hard?
…..To be continued

Putting Advice

“Thinking the way you have always thought will almost certainly assure that you will putt the way you have always putted.” -Dr. Bob Rotella

I made a decision in 1993 that I was a good putter.  Since then, I have been a good putter.  Even through a bout with the yips, I made a good deal of putts, and more importantly, my belief kept me putting with confidence and training in the very best ways. 

There is nothing much worse than listening to someone complain about their putting…  It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. 

Golfers should not seek lessons because their putting is bad. It almost never works, and more likely, they find new ways to convince themselves that they are not good putters…. 

They should train, research and take lessons to get better.  There is a huge difference in attitude between the two.  

The answer should always be; “My putting is getting better.” or “Next time the putts will go in.”

Poor training and Lack of training are about the only excuse for poor putting.  A bad mind set is too easy to change.  It should NEVER be the reason for putting poorly. 


Gravity Putting

Simple.  Weight leaned into forward pivotal axis.  Pop the tension out of your arms with a small heave.  As the arms and club run out of momentum in the backswing, they are slung forward by a pivoting forward leg.  The arms and club work on an arc, sending the ball on a tangent.

It’s exactly the same as a small chip, pitch, etc….  Centrifugal force keeps the arms and club in motion and on path. 

*Yes, there is a small counterfall. 

Why Putt On The Arc?

Right up front I want to make it clear that I am extremely aware that today’s blog is limited in its scope.  The purpose of the blog is to express a few thoughts on ‘GRAVITY PUTTING’, not a full blown discussion.   

Straight back, straight through putting make sense.  It also looks neat, clean and simple.  The putting stroke is a simple enough motion that many people have had success putting straight back and straight through.  
Problem is, it takes more muscular involvement.  It must be created and controlled by the body and mind every time! The body is not designed to move a club straight back and straight through, just as the body is not designed to move the putter on a vertical pendulum….  That means that it might look good, it might even produce good results if you can do it (and very few can), but it is truly more difficult!!!
I putt on the arc because it complies with the laws of physics.  I putt on the arc so I can use gravity and centrifugal force to keep my putter on path.  I believe in the GRAVITY PUTT because the less muscular movements involved, the more predictable one can be.  As we age, that becomes enormously important.  How many golfers do you know that maintain their putting ability as they age?  Not many!  Almost all deteriorate as they lose their hand/eye coordination… Worse, a large percentage of them get the yips due to mis firings of the small muscles….
I absolutely think that people should putt on the arc, like David Toms.  
I also know that some things are very difficult to change, even if a better method is clearly available.  Getting people to putt on the arc, with pivotal rotation may prove to be more difficult than getting Americans trained in the metric system… 
In my next blog, I’ll discuss the major elements of the GRAVITY PUTTING STROKE.   

Gravity Putting

An avid student, let’s call him ‘Joe’ sent along this comment about David Tom’s putting:

We all know that David Toms is playing fantastic golf. I believe you would agree that he has a gravity golf swing, but among the touring professionals his putting has to be the closest to gravity putting. What do you think?
Putting is not a common topic on your blog. Now is your chance.

I just spent the last 10 minutes looking at video of David’s putting stroke.  He is most definitely putting ‘on the arc’, an important piece of the gravity stroke.  Even on short putts, it’s very clear that his putter head swings on an arc, and the ball takes off  tangentially. 

I would say that David Toms and Y.E. Yang, another golfer you and I have talked about, have the most easy to see GRAVITY PUTTING STROKES in the game right now. 

While watching today, pay close attention to 2 things… 
1.  David will rotate his body on the followthru of his putts.   He ‘releases’ or more specifically moves the arms and the club with the pivotal rotation of the left axis.  It will often give the look like he is ‘coming out’ of his putts, something someone will inevitably say when he misses a putt.  (even though he is consistently one of the best putters on tour with that same move…)

2.  Watch how the putter clearly works on an arc.  NO LINEAR motion in the stroke, which put together simply complies with the laws of physics compared with straight putting. 

I’ll spend more time in the next blog or two talking about why a GRAVITY PUTTING stroke is so AWESOME, what goes into a GRAVITY PUTTING STROKE, and how to begin training it…. 

Thanks Joe!

AimPoint Putting

Thanks to my good buddy George Connor, I got a glimpse into a new and powerful technique used for reading greens!  It a concept developed by a group called ‘Aimpoint Technologies’ and it’s quite fascinating. 

George was only able to share a small dose with us, but it has already had a positive affect on my confidence over putts.  It takes the intuitive skills of green reading and makes it more scientific/mathematical (but not in a confusing way). 

I’m intrigued….