Tour and News

The Putting Professor: The high-tech teaching of Marius Filmalter, 53, helps hackers and pros make more putts

Photo: Angus Murray

"I've worked with Tiger Woods, Hunter Mahan and Mike Weir. I started teaching putting over 20 years ago, when a friend came to me with the yips, which are painful to watch. I've seen guys whiff three-footers!

"Technology can help. I co-developed a computer system to see scientifically what the yips look like. I've since helped develop the TOMI system — it stands for 'The Optimal Motion Instructor' — a cell-phone-sized device that uses an infrared transmitter to record motion and show precisely what happens in your stroke, including clubhead speed, alignment and clubface position. It's revealed surprises.

"We're taught to accelerate the putter through impact, but the best strokes reach top speed before impact and maintain that pace through the hitting zone. Poorer putters' swing speeds peak after contact. So thinking 'Accelerate through' can hurt you.

"How do you get better pace? I think of the putting stroke as an airplane. You have two wings. One wing is vertical release — the pendulum-like release of the club in your hands. The other wing is the rotational release [of the putter] that comes from your arms and torso. These wings must be balanced. That balance can be fairly even, like Tiger, or weighted more toward one wing — lots of wrist with little body turn — like Arnie used to have. But there must be balance. Otherwise, your plane makes a crash landing, and you come see me."

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