Posts Tagged ‘putting’
I had the opportunity to watch the 2010 British Open Champion and 2012 Masters Runner-Up Louis Oosthuizen play a few holes last summer and was very impressed with his putting prowess. Take a look at the following video to see what positive aspects from his stroke you might be able to incorporate into your game (please note that he has switched to cross handed, but the philosophy and approach are exactly the same):
View my article on the Proper Putting Set-Up here.
This week the PGA Tour adds a new stat Strokes Gained – Putting. The number-crunchers at the Tour say the reason is simple — Strokes Gained-Putting takes out the bias of the old stats. The new statistic isn’t impacted by what you did to get to the green; it only reflects what you did (against what your opponents did) once you got there. I love the idea. Similar to the ideas used in Michael Lewis’ Moneyball (about baseball statistics) what truly goes into each statistics is being brought into question and as a result, being understood that much better.
Initially developed by Professor Mark Broadie of Columbia Business School and further analyzed in collaboration with a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by Professor Stephen Graves, Strokes Gained-Putting measures a player’s putting performance relative to his fellow competitors in a tournament and will offer a more accurate portrayal of his overall putting performance.
Strokes Gained-Putting takes into account putting proficiency from various distances and computes the difference between a player’s performance on every green — the number of strokes needed to hole out — against the performance of the other players for each round. This ultimately shows how many strokes are gained or lost due to putting for a particular round, for a tournament and over the course of a year.
Steve Evans from the PGA Tour called the new stat an “evolution in the way we understand the game.“ Brad Faxon, long known as one of the Tour’s best putters, said the statistic “moves us well beyond where we have been in the past in our ability to measure, teach and explain putting performance.”
Here’s how the new statistic is computed:
For example, the average number of putts used to hole out from 7 feet, 10 inches is 1.5. If a player one-putts from this distance, he gains 0.5 strokes (1.5 – 1). If he two-putts, he loses 0.5 strokes (1.5 – 2). If he three-putts, he loses 1.5 strokes (1.5 – 3).
For the final statistic, a player’s strokes gained or lost putting is compared to the field. For example, if a player gained a total of three strokes over the course of a round and the field gained an average of one stroke, the player’s “Strokes Gained Against the Field” would be two.
Here are a few interesting points:
- The top 5 putters for 2011 using the new stat are Merrick, Chalmers, Snedeker, Stricker and Glover. If all the players in the field hit the ball the same this group would finish a combined 19.44 strokes ahead of average.
- The bottom 5 putters for 2011 are Cejka, Trahan, Slocum, Weekley and Els. They would finish 21.608 strokes behind average and lose to the lead group by more than a whopping 41 strokes! That requires a tremendous amount of great ball striking in order to compete.
- The Tour’s most average putter is Harrison Frazar.
- The best handful of putters over the last few years (2004-present) on the PGA Tour have been: Tiger Woods; Brad Faxon; Luke Donald; Aaron Baddeley; Greg Chalmers; Steve Stricker; Brandt Snedeker; Ben Crane and Brian Gay. So these are the guys to imitate….
- Less than 6 percent of putts are made from more than 25 feet.
See the complete list of players from 2011
Here are a few “baseline” points against which the golfers will be measured:
- A player’s chance of one-putting drops 20 percent when moving from 3 feet back to 5 feet.
- Just under 8 feet: At the 7-foot, 10-inch mark, it’s 50/50 whether players will one or two putt.
- Players have a 1 in 3 chance of one-putting from 11 feet (34 percent).
- Players have a 3 in 4 chance of two-putt or better from 14 feet (75 percent).
- Players have a 1 in 10 chance of one-putting from 25 feet (10 percent).
- 33 feet is the point at which a player is expected to two-putt. This is interesting because while there is an 88 percent chance of a two-putt from this distance, it is the point at which a player is equally likely to one-putt or three-putt (6 percent each way).
- Players have a 1 in 10 chance of three-putting from 40 feet (10 percent).
- Players have a 1 in 3 chance of three-putting from 73 feet (33 percent).
- It is estimated that a players chances of a three-putt are not 50/50 until 120 feet. In general, greens on the PGA Tour are not large enough to provide a player with a 50/50 chance of three-putting.
Thanks to some very smart people and the PGA Tour, we now have a statistic that truly does measure putting prowess. Let the games begin…..
I always ask my students which is more important in putting: distance or direction? I am pleased to report that about 60-70% of them correctly side with distance. Think about it this way; are you more likely to hit a 30 footer 10 feet beyond/short or 10 feet wide of the cup? Hopefully your answer is beyond/short, because if it was wide you have serious additional issues.
Much of the information I read on putting today is directionally oriented; the arc of the stroke, face rotation and balancing, path and face and so on. Is this information correct and valid? Yes! I just don’t believe it should be the priority. Think about the last round of poor putting you had (hopefully you cannot remember!) – I can almost guarantee you it was due to poor distance control. When you practice focus on speed control as a priority and you must start to encounter better results. Good distance control comes from; a solid and centered strike where the appropriate amount of energy is transferred to the ball and a backstroke that closely matches the through stroke (most golfers are short back and long through!). Here are a few things that will help.
Watch the HD video lesson HERE
Drills and Teaching Aids that Work:
This is an excellent drill to help you acquire the feel of a solid strike: Gather a dozen balls in the center of a green and quickly and casually “hit” them back to a point off the side of the green — just like when you are clearing a putting green by hitting all the balls off the green with your putter. Do not emphasize a target; don’t take time to set up; just pop the balls off the face of the putter. When done correctly, you should be able to feel how efficient the stroke is. There should be a minimal amount of follow through, the strike should feel crisp, and the sound should be louder than what you are accustomed to. When I see a golfer struggling with the putter, they are almost always overemphasizing the “stroke” element and have lost the concept that there needs to be some impact or “hit.” The problem most often is that their motion is long, slow and overly mechanical. You should be able to sense the ball compressing off the putter face.
An excellent training aid that conveys the feel of the correct strike on the ball in putting is the Ball of Steel from Eyelinegolf.com – each ball weighs 5x what a golf ball weighs and you had better transfer energy efficiently if you want to even have a chance of making a 3 footer with the ball steel. I have found it works really nicely when alternating between a real ball and a heavy ball, but be sure to stay within three feet. After using this teaching aid your putting stroke will be more compact and efficient and thus more consistent.
When putting key in on distance first and your results will improve dramatically – I guarantee it!
Ball of Steel product TOUR
To purchase the Ball of Steel click HERE (be sure to use the code IMPACTBOOK for a discount)
I see far too many golfers that set-up poorly to their putters. This is something that is quite easy to improve and in this article I will isolate a few important keys to help you improve your set-up when putting and ultimately reduce the numbers of putts you take on the golf course. Remember that a good stroke is first built by having a solid setup.
Putting priorities: (view the complete video lesson HERE)
- The putter shaft should be an extension of the forearms. To do this the club must be gripped substantially more in the palm of the hands than it would be with an iron. The picture below illustrates how the grip of the club should run along the lifeline at the base of the palm of the hand.
- Once you are in this position you can now grip the club as shown above, making sure that the shaft is also held parallel to the ground.
From the above position simply bend/tilt down from the hip joints until the putter reaches the ground. Make sure that as you tilt forward that you do not straighten your arms out - be sure to maintain the flex in the arms that you established during the set-up drill. If your putter does not reach the ground you can flex your kness a little or your club is too short for you. I am 6’1″ 5’11″ and I use a 36 inch putter. This helps me to keep my elbows in to my side during the stroke.
- Once you are set-up properly you should notice that the upper arms are linked to your sides, the club is in the palm (this might cause you to feel as if your wrists are raised at address), the shaft is an extension of your forearms and your eyes are just slightly inside the ball (over the heel of the putter).
View the complete video lesson HERE (there is a little choke though!)
And then its off to practice….
Additional information on putting and the set-up:
Improving your putting by Todd Sones
Putter Setup – Golf Video | Golf Channel by Brad Brewer
There is so much information out there about golf clubs, yet I never seem to see much data relative to putters. I recently had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Mike Shannon, noted putting guru from Sea Island and here are a few of the many interesting things he shared:
60% of all the grass on putting greens today did not exist 30 years ago and as a result the mow height on greens is 50% lower than it was 20 years ago. Greens are much faster than they used to be.
Faster greens mean shorter grass and shorter grass means there is no longer the need for 4 degrees of loft (the traditional loft) on putters. Most PGA Tour golfers have an effective loft of somewhere between 1 and 3 degrees. This means that when they add the loft of the putter face to the amount of loft added during the stroke it comes out to somewhere between 1 and 3 degrees. Consequently very little flight time and early roll mean less bounce and skid – a good thing! Zach Johnson actually has -1 degree of loft on his putter face.
Speaking of early roll – grooved face putters get the ball rolling 18-24% sooner than smooth faced putters. Not only that, they deter the ball from sliding up or across the face on poorly struck putts too. Sign me up for some of that help.
Keep in mind that there are essentially two genres of putters – face balanced and toe weighted. If you currently use a face balanced putter and are considering making a switch to a toe weighted version (pictured at the top of the page) keep in mind that your new putter will provide you with an additional 6-8 degrees of club face rotation or “toe float” as Scotty Cameron calls it. Toe float is the amount of rotation in the face from the backswing to the follow through. The top putters on the tour have 6-8 degrees of rotation from 6″ back from the ball to 6″ beyond impact.
Most putters are heel powered – that is, the motion is generated from the heel, which is where the shaft enters the putter head. Unless of course the putter is center shafted. This is pertinent because as the energy/power in a stroke dissipates (decelleration), the toe will have a tendency to continue closing. If there is too much acceleration through impact the toe will have a tendency to remain open and leads to missed putts to the right (speaking as a right hander). If you tend to accelerate (too much!) or decellerate through impact you might want to try a center shafted putter.
The average weight of store bought putters is a swingweight of D3-D6. The average weight of putters on the tour is E0-E5. Heavy putters are better for faster greens and vice versa for slower greens. If you need to add weight to your putter be careful when adding lead tape – you don’t want to change the balance characteristics of the putterhead. The best idea might be to get a reputable club builder to take care of it for you. Fit your putter weight to the speed of the greens you customarily putt on!
Regarding alignment: offset putters will work better for golfers who tend to aim left and non-offset putters will work better for right aimers. This is due to the manner in which a golfer sees the line of a putt. It really does work!
Before you run out and pick out your next weapon on the greens please consider some of the above advice- it really does come straight from the experts mouth!
Related articles and sites: