After my stop last week at the Nationwide event in Georgia, I planned to return to the PGA Tour for the Wells Fargo Championship. However, after a little coaxing from my Champions Tour students I made my way west to Shoal Creek for the first major of the year, the Regions Tradition.
This week’s major championship is being overshadowed by the devastation of recent tornados in the Birmingham area. My heart goes out to all those affected and I hope for a quick rebuilding and a timely healing for all that had lost loved ones.
Arriving on Tuesday morning, I quickly toured Shoal Creek. I know I say this a lot, but it is a wonderful golf course and it is in exceptional condition. In fact, when you consider how much damage there was in the area, Shoal Creek was fortunate to be relatively unaffected except for a handful of downed trees.
I spent Tuesday afternoon and most of Wednesday watching over many of my students and friends. In particular, I spent some time with Bruce Vaughn, Mike Goodes, Don Pooley, David Eger, Rod Spittle and Peter Jacobson. During the week of a major, no one wants an overhaul, so instead we work on the fundamentals.
In a previous blog, I discussed the importance of good posture. This week I would like to discuss the role of the grip in putting. Since starting this blog I have received several emails asking me to reveal the grip that will help you make the most putts. Well, unfortunately there is no perfect grip. In fact, my research shows there is little to no correlation between great putters and a specific putting grip.
To improve your putting immediately, make sure the shoulders and forearms are square to the intended target line. This will give you the best chance to be square at impact no matter which grip you use.
However, if you suffer from the yips, a grip change might be exactly what you need. Much of my putting research has been focused on the yips. One way I have dealt with students who have the yips is to get them to try the saw grip (or a variation of this grip). To apply the saw grip (assuming you are right-handed), place your left hand on the putter where it would normally be and then with your right hand pinch the shaft between the thumb and three fingers (the hand will be parallel to the ground).
One of my most successful students who tried the claw grip was Mark O’Meara (pictured). Back in late 2003, Mark’s game was excellent, but he was struggling on the greens. His swing instructor Hank Haney and I persuaded Mark to try the claw grip. In 1994, he won the Dubai Desert Classic over a very strong field, including Tiger Woods.
I would also like to congratulate a couple of my students for their recent success. First, David Eger (along with partner Mark McNulty) on his victory at last week’s Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. This was David’s fourth career Champions Tour victory and second in as many years. Also I would like to congratulate Matthew Goggin for his consistently good play on the Nationwide Tour. Matthew now holds the No. 1 position on the money list. Matthew has been a long-time student and friend. I wish both David and Matthew continued success in 2011.
Please email me questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. As always check out my website at www.mariusgolf.com and sign-up for the free member section. I also want to thank all the readers who have purchased my new Automatic Putting package (3-disc DVD set, Marius Putting Belt and Marius Metronome). I have gotten several hundred emails from folks sharing their stories of improvement which is very rewarding to me. Keep them coming.
Until next time….cheers!