Modern Putting Instruction contains one big flaw..

This exercise helps to identify it.

This description  for the Evaluation Exercise is written as if you were right-handed – left-handers please convert (as you always have to!)

Please do each “Task” in the order shown before reading further. It is very important in this explanation that you do not influence yourself by reading forward to the “Observation” for each task.

GO AND GRAB 3 OR 4 GOLF BALLS..

Find yourself a section of carpet – about 8-10 feet or more will do.

If you have a suitable piece of carpet near your computer that’s great, otherwise print this out.

PLEASE DON’T READ ANY FURTHER UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO DO THE EXERCISE OR YOU WILL SPOIL THE OUTCOME FOR YOURSELF AND LOSE A VALUABLE LESSON!!

Task 1
– Choose a target at least 8 feet away and roll the ball by hand at the target. Concentrate both on distance and accuracy.

Done?

Observation
– you will have rolled the ball at the target using a “tenpin bowling” stance with your body and eyes facing the target, and you will have used your right arm and hand to release and roll the ball.

Conclusion
– it is natural for you to face any target and also to look directly at the target to assess distance. Also it was natural for you to use your right arm and hand.

Task 2
– Now take another ball, but this time, turn 90 degrees away from the target (the same as if you were using your putter) so the target is off your left side. Bend over a little, the same as when you are putting.
Release the ball to the target, but this time look at a point somewhere in the middle of your stance along your throw line (about where the ball would be normally when putting) – and remain looking at it until you have released the ball. Obviously you will not be able to reach the ground with a slightly crouched position, so the ball will have to be released a couple of feet from the ground.

Done?
How did you feel compared to Task 1 when you were looking at and facing the hole?

Observation
– This time it was a little different wasn’t it? You had to work harder didn’t you?

For one thing, you had to start thinking about things. This didn’t happen during Task 1.
You will still have released the ball using your right hand and arm, but in general your feeling will have been of some awkwardness.

As you were setting up, and when you were actually throwing the ball, whenever you were looking at the point between your stance, you would have been having to try to retain a picture or feeling as to the distance (and to a lesser degree, the line) to the target. Strangely, this feeling is generally associated with an area somewhere on the left side of your face, close to your left ear.

Conclusion
– Both, turning sideways from the target as you set up and having to take your eye off the target as you implement the shot, are unnatural, create extra work and under pressure can produce a form of anxiety that is related to the fear of getting it wrong (don’t worry, I am not ever going to suggest that you putt whilst facing the hole – I just wanted you to be made aware of it)

Also, (take note) in both previous tasks you have ONLY needed to move your right arm and hand to get the job done – I didn’t tell you to do it and you didn’t think about it – you just did it, naturally.
OK, let’s move on –

Task 3
– Repeat Task 2 but this time add your normal shoulder turn that you probably use when you are putting and maintain the same angle between your right shoulder and your right arm all the way through the action, i.e. don’t let your right arm act independently of your shoulders.

Done?
How did you do?

Observation
– Wow! – haven’t things now started to get really awkward and uncomfortable (and unnatural)!
You will have found that the result of trying to maintain the same angle between your right arm and your right shoulder effectively “deadened” the feel in your right arm (try it again if you missed it).
Also, you will probably have felt your left side influencing the action of the shoulder turn.
And on top of this – you are also trying to “see/feel” the target out of your left ear!

Conclusion
– Just how hard are we trying to make this game?!!
Unfortunately, there’s more……

Task 4
Repeat Task 3 but this time hold your right wrist with your left hand (roughly the position you assume with your putting grip).
Same thing – maintain the angle between both your arms and your shoulders during the action.

Done?
How did that feel?

Observation
OK, that made your right arm feel more stable, but did you notice how much the left side has started to take over? The right hand is losing control of the action. This action is now effectively killing all 100% of the “feel” (which Task 1 proved is naturally in your right hand/arm) that you need in order to able to judge distance correctly on a consistent basis.

Conclusion
– We have now succeeded in removing just about everything natural from the stroke.
– Look how far away from Task 1 we are, i.e. the no-brain, just roll the ball action…..
– Or to put it another way, we are now using a manufactured, unnatural stroke.

The consequence can only be inconsistency in feel, with excess and UNNATURAL effort needed to implement a good shot and, like the pros, you’ll need loads and loads of practice to try and perfect and maintain your “unnatural” action!…

THE BOTTOM LINE

You know, it always amazes me that one of the most recommended exercises for learning to judge distance on a green, is to roll balls up to the hole without using your putter, i.e. by hand.

Then we are told to play actual putting strokes using a shoulder turn or tilt!…

I’m stunned at how obvious the contradiction is (Star Trek’s Mr. Spock would say “not logical Captain”).

Shoulder-turning/tilting during putting is a compromise action used in an attempt to try and maintain the correct position of the putter blade at impact. That is its only function.  It has absolutely nothing to offer the speed or “feel” of the putt.  I’ll say that again:…
It has absolutely NOTHING to offer the speed or “feel” of the putt. 

I don’t know who first recommended using a shoulder turn/tilt for the putting action, but I’ll bet he was not a good putter. It must have been a reactive “solution” to a desperate problem.

You know, it wouldn’t be so bad if today’s recommended shoulder turn (or “rocking”) allowed natural movement of the arms, but it doesn’t. Everyone is telling us to move the putter this way on the backswing, or that way on the backswing. Straight-back, straight-through (50+% of players now try to use this) and all that stuff…

This is manipulation you don’t need, or want to be doing when you are putting! Under any kind of pressure it will break down!  Especially if you don’t have the time to maintain this type of stroke in the same way as the professionals who use it.  Remember, most pros have their own practice putting greens/surfaces at home as well. They spend hours and hours ingraining this movement every week!..

You’ve seen the exercises where you try and move the putter straight back and straight forward, using a club on the ground as your guide or two parallel rows of tees and you try and move your putter between them.
This is supposed to give you a “pendulum” putting action. I’m sorry to say although it may feel like you have the correct action, it effectively kills nearly ALL your feel, and distracts your attention from your true aim., which is to strike the ball at the correct speed AND have the blade in the correct position.

Consider this – If the putter head is only moving say six to eight inches from the ball on the back swing, your hands have moved even less, perhaps two to three inches. There is no normal human being on this planet who cannot move his hands two or three inches – with this movement under TOTAL control – just by using the arms alone. To rely on a shoulder turn for this tiny action is like using a howitzer to shoot flies.

Try handing your putter to a raw beginner or a non-golfer i.e. someone who has no concept of the “correct” putting action. I’ll lays odds that they just use their arms to play the stroke with minimal or no shoulder turn/tilt (until instructed otherwise by a well-meaning tutor!).

O.K. so now we’ve pretty well covered one of the major putting problems, destruction of your natural feel when using the modern putting action.  So how do we recover this?

Well this is where Impact Putting come in – basically, your putting action is now converted from a dull, unnatural feeling action, into:

· Putting with a natural full right-handed action. Note. If you use a tilting action during your putting stroke, don’t worry, you can still use it.. I simply add an adjustment ..

· Removal of the unnatural “feel” needed to be applied to send the ball the required distance. You now know exactly how hard to hit the ball (no more looking out of your left ear, trying to remember or visualise the putt!).

And the problem of correct alignment of the club face at impact is completely resolved, without using an unnatural shoulder turn, by using a facility that is natural to everyone and far more accurate.

Please Note.. Although I advocate as little use as possible of the tilting or rocking action of the shoulders during putting, if you presently do use a “pendulum” action it doesn’t matter. With a small mental adjustment you can use it with Impact Putting.

Go over the exercises a couple more times. Pick up on the awkward and unnatural “feelings”.