I received more emails regarding my last blog post on the belly putter and the long putter than I have for any other topic discussed in this blog. Most of the emails were angry because people thought I was anti-belly/long putter. Allow me to clear the air because I am neither pro- or anti-long/belly putter. I support 100 percent whatever putter helps you make more putts and ultimately shoot better scores. It doesn’t matter if that putter is a 34-inch Scotty Cameron, a 43-inch TaylorMade Ghost or a shovel you found in your garage. If you still don’t believe me, consider the fact that I have been working with tour players for more than 20 years and I have never accepted a club endorsement deal. The reason for that decision has not been lack of opportunity — rather, it is that I pride myself on trying to remain independent from endorsing one particular brand or another.
This week’s question comes from Kai in Tokyo, Japan. Kai asked me to explain proper ball position with your putter and how to make sure that this position is correct if you have no one else to watch you putt. I tell all my students that correct ball position is crucial for the ball to leave the clubface in balance.
What does that mean? When a ball is placed on the green it lies in a gravitational indentation. To get the ball out of the indentation and to get the ball rolling it is best practice to strike the ball just below the equator with an ascending blow.
So how do you get your putter to strike the ball below the equator with an ascending blow? You need to make sure your ball position is just left (for right-handed putters) of the bottom of the putting arc. To determine the bottom of your putting arc simply begin taking practice strokes with the putter hovering over the ground. As you continue to make strokes, slowly lower the putter until the putterhead brushes the grass beneath it. The point just left of where your putter touched the grass is your ideal ball position.
Another option in testing ball position is to take your address position over the ball, and then take another golf ball, place it over your left eye (if you are right-handed — over your right eye if you are left handed) and drop it to the ground. If your ball position is correct, the golf ball dropped from your eye should land on top of the ball you addressed on the ground. If the dropped ball misses the ball on the ground, simply adjust your ball position back or forward in your stance until the ball you are dropping from your eye hits the ball on the ground.
Now before I leave you for another week I thought I would help slow down the number of bandwagon jumpers. You know who you are. The folks who abandoned your trusty conventional-length putter 40 minutes after Keegan Bradley made his putt on the 17th hole for birdie at Atlanta Athletic Club. Before you write off the conventional-length putter like the persimmon wood or the 2-iron, consider that the top five putters in the PGA Tour’s Stroke Gained-Putting statistic all use traditional putters.
Thanks for all the emails folks! Please keep them coming to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you have only a couple more weeks to order the Automatic Putting Package for the promotional rate of $59.95. After Sept. 15, it will return to $99.95. Please visit mariusgolf.com for more details.
Until next time…cheers!