Monday, May 23, 2011

Confidence Putts Technique Drill

Here is a little drill to smooth out and level your putting stroke.  Grab your sand wedge and 5 balls.  Putt the balls by striking with the leading edge of the wedge from 5 feet until you make all five.  If that was easy for you, make 10 in a row.  This is a great drill if you are a player who releases your hands too early in the stroke.  This will keep your hands leading the handle and the club face through the stroke. 

Here is Jiminez putting with a lob wedge in competiton.  This drill will help you smooth out and level your stroke, but it could also come in handy if your temper gets the better of you, as Jiminez' did on this day.

Do you believe that putting is situational?  For example, many have said that Tiger's true talent when he was dominant was his clutch putting.  What made him so clutch?  Was it his stroke, his focus or his competitiveness?  Did his ability to make a putt under great pressure mean that he didn't putt as well when he wasn't in contention?  Great putters are great all of the time.  They understand whats important and they do those things on each and every putt.  The fact that Tiger seemed to be a great clutch putter is probably somewhat misleading.  Tiger was a great putter all the time. 

The reason that great putters are great all the time is, they control the speed of their roll extremely well.  Check out this video by Geoff Mangum on the speed needed for a ball to fall in the hole.  I have referred to this video in prior blogs, but this guy knows his stuff.  I have long known that putts which are moving slowly when they hit the hole have a good chance of being "sucked in" by the cup.  In other words, the cup seems to be bigger if you die your putts than if you hit them firmly.  Mangum's use of the physics of a ball falling into the cup clarifies that there is an optimum speed if you want the hole to be as big as possible.  It also debunks the idea that there is an optimal distance past the hole for missed putts. 

Whenever a player tells me he is a poor green reader, the first thing I look at in his game is his speed control.  It seems as though players who can control the roll of gus ball are good at reading greens, even though the two skills seem unrelated.  Perhaps it is the ability to visualize that links the two skills or just a good old fashioned work ethic and a wealth of experience on the practice green. 

The majority of the players on the PGA Tour are great at controlling their speed, but of course, some are better than others.  Tiger is one of those who is better.  Stricker is another who has great command of the speed of the roll.  It isn't that they putt better under pressure or in certain situations.  They putt well all of the time.  Every putt you roll is worth one shot, whether it is for birdie, par or bogey.  There is no such thing as being a clutch putter or a situational putter.  Instead, you should work to be a great putter all of the time!

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