I recently gave a nine-hole playing lesson to an amateur named David. Before we teed off, David mentioned that he considered himself a decent putter but very streaky. During the nine holes we played, David made every putt inside 6 feet and a couple of 10-footers as well. I thought David was a good putter and given his results you would assume he had a nice putting stroke. Unfortunately for David, his putting stroke path better resembled a figure 8. However, at the moment of impact his putterface was square to the target, he was adding loft and he was releasing the putter head through impact.
My point is if David had seen his putting stroke before we went out on the course he would have been very conscious of his disastrous putter path. Instead, David accepts that his path may not be perfect, but his stroke shares the characteristics of some great putting stokes and that improves his chances of making putts.
Don’t fall victim to paralysis through analysis. Evaluate your putting performance while you are playing by the most important indicator -- is the ball going in the hole or not? If you aren’t making putts, then videotape your stroke and begin to make some changes. If you are making putts, go have a beer and watch golf in the clubhouse. Focus less on the appearance of the putting stroke and concentrate on making the putts. Function over form.
In the past several months I have received more than 100 emails asking variations of the same question: How would I describe my putting method? It is an interesting question and one I have dodged for many years for fear of being pigeonholed to the idea that there is only one correct way to putt. There are several ways to make a stroke. For example, when someone says they putt straight-back-straight-through most golfers would think of Dave Pelz. Or maybe you think of Stan Utley when someone talks about arc putting.
My putting method is not a style, but rather an effort to educate my students. Using my research of more 700 tour professionals, I provide my students with scientifically proven data of what the best putters in the game are doing. Using this information, my students apply the research using drills and determine which characteristics apply best to the way they like to putt. The only consistent application I have across all my students is that I like to see the elbows or upper arms more connected to your torso as opposed to having the arms becoming separated throughout the stroke. My research shows the most consistent way to putt is using the core muscles, so for those who must have a name for the method, let’s refer to it as Core Putting.
As a thank you to my readers at Golf.com and in Golf Magazine I am offering my Automatic Putting Package for $59.95 for the month of July at MariusGolf.com. Thanks for all your support and kind words of encouragement. Email questions or comments to email@example.com.
I wanted to conclude this week by thanking David DeNunzio of Golf Magazine for a wonderful article he put together discussing some of my research as well as my career. Part of the article regarding the myths of putting can be viewed here. To view the complete article please read the August issue Golf Magazine (on newsstands now).
Until next time…cheers! (Photo: Angus Murray)