Do you three-putt a few times during your round of golf? Are you the one who hopes your playing partner gives you that 3-footer? No such luck in a tournament. Try this exercise: place yourself on the green without any club (including the putter) and try to put the ball in a hole that is 25 feet away from you. Well, I guess you will face that hole and toss the ball underhand toward the hole. So why don't you putt that way?
Dear Pat (or Patrice?),
My new putter arrived on 12/5 as scheduled. I was delighted by the craftsmanship, the materials and the beauty of it; it is a first class putting instrument. In that regard it can easily hold its own with putters from major manufacturers. In addition, I was born and raised in Durham, NC, so it’s neat to have a custom (boutique?) putter made in Raleigh. I consider it a good omen that the first putt I tried on our course was a 40 footer that I drained! My wife’s jaw dropped. I just shrugged.
I’m a 71yo retired physician (Duke Med School ’66) living in CA to be near our son and his family. We live on a golf course in a 50+ seniors development. Not that long ago I carried a single digit handicap, but for the last year I have suffered from the yips. I do have a mild intention tremor affecting mostly my left hand, but I became unable to control my right hand in the putting stroke. I would miss a 40 foot putt by 10-15 feet to the right due to an uncontrollable spasm in my right hand. I had to grind over two foot tap-ins, and I began to record 40-putt rounds. The birdies I once made became a thing of the past. I stopped competing because I was only contributing to prize funds, with no chance of winning anything. My handicap is now in the 12-14 range, and recently I often couldn’t come near playing to that. Of course I tried everything: left hand low; claw grip; belly putter; Kuchar lock to left forearm; Michelle Wie bizarre crouch; mid-length counter-balanced shaft, etc. After watching your video, I tried using my belly putter face-on. Although the shaft angle is much greater than 10 degrees, I immediately improved, but as you might guess, I had lots of topped putts because the heel was too high off the ground. You have provided me with a device that is designed for face-on putting and is even customized for my height. I’m on my way. The worst part is the furor that develops when my buddies see me putting face-on for the first time. Lots of trash talk that is distracting: “What the H…?”; “That’s not legal, is it?”; “Wait until 2016!” and so on. I’m telling them “Leave it for the 19th hole, will you? I don’t carry on like this when you putt!’” I’ll let you know how my handicap drops.
I just want to drop you a line to let you know that: a) I got the putter and b) I think with just a little practice my putting will improve tenfold! I have been playing for 55 years now, and have always been a pretty good to good ball-striker, but my putting is ridiculous. I once had a putting lesson at my club in Dallas, TX from the pro who knew that I hit the ball really well, and he told me confidently that he would have no problem helping me with my putting (for some reason, instructors seem to feel that if you hit it well it will be easy to get you to be a good putter–NOT SO!). He had me hit a few putts toward a hole about 30 feet away in a level part of the putting green–just to get a feel for where I was. After about 3 of them he said to me “Are you trying?”. It’s never got much better, even with 7 summer’s worth of teaching for Dave Pelz (I can observe you putt and make sound recommendations as to technique and procedure, but I have never been personally able to get the line and speed together). Enter your method. I have tried it a few times on the practice putting green this week, and the results have been unbelievable. Originally, I had a bit of difficulty aiming (until I reviewed your website and watched you set up. I was keeping my head more or less centered over my body. Now, I am having no problem lining up the head and my direction is virtually never off now (I used to miss 5 foot putts +/- 6 inches on a routine basis with conventional putting–my face rotated way more than I wanted it to, obviously. I am no longer pushing or pulling my putts–even the long ones. My distance control has also been much, much better. I started with the short putts (around 6 feet as you suggested) and got good at them quickly. I felt I had to try the stroke on longer putts to see if it would be as easy to keep the balls on line. I am already able to hit my 3 balls from 40 to 45 feet inside a 3-foot circle pretty routinely (I still have the occasional mishap, but even then it’s within make distance for the next putt), and often burn the cup and occasionally hole one of those. Even on the practice putting green, that rarely happened to me–even with all of my experience. I have tried very short putters, body putters, long putters, wrist (or pop) putting, left hand low, split grip, different tempos, wide stances, narrow stances, mallets, blades, shoulders start putt, arms start putt, looking at the hole while putting, eyes closed, even left handed! I even tried the side-on putting once, but my technique was poor and I found that I got the putter shaft hitting my torso and the arm not being able to go back far enough to hit a putt over ten feet. In short, if there was a method out there, I probably tried it and with little to no success. Back in the days when I used to keep my stats on putting more than I do now, I used to 3-putt one green in four that I hit in regulation. Or, roughly 3 to 4 three putts a round.
One more thing of interest (well, I found it interesting). Since you end up tilting the shaft to vertical, your putter can be used as either a left handed putter or a right handed one. See for yourself the next time that you are out playing around on the green. It may look a little odd as you are setting up, but after you do get set up, it’s the same. For a right hander to tilt the shaft to vertical, he leans the shaft 10 degrees from slightly across his body to upright by pushing the handle toward the side of his body. If you use the putter left handed, you must pull the shaft from away from your body toward you. But, the result is that the shaft is straight up and down, the toe is down and the heel is up (although the toe is now close to your body), and the ball is centered in the putterhead. If you try it, you will see that from that point on, it doesn’t make any difference. If I am missing something, please let me know. That’s it for me. I am going to have my brother try this method (this weekend will be his first effort). If possible (well, it is) he is even a far worse putter than I am. He has a lot of hip motion in his putts (he uses a body putter now–with little to no success), rotates the putter an enormous amount during his stroke and almost never, ever gets a putt over 20 to 25 feet inside 4 feet! From over 30 to 35 feet, he often can’t get the ball within ten feet of the hole! I believe that your method will almost force him to quiet down his body (there isn’t even a hint of a need for body motion using this method of stroking the ball), and he should be able to keep his face very square to the line during the entire putt. He is my height, but a left hander, so it will be interesting to see if he can use my putter while he is learning the system (his putter has a pretty flat lie angle and I think that getting his shaft straight up and down will leave the putterhead way too tilted.) We’ll see. I am sorry to go on so long but you have made me a total convert after less than one week of trying the putter. I anticipate great success after I have had time to really acclimate myself to the putter and the method. Thank you again.