No more crazy gimmicks.
I have discovered a magical putting tip that has held up for dozens of hours so far. It may not be what you need, but it is certainly the key I have been searching for.
I will first begin at the beginning. I started my focus on putting by laying aside my brand new putter that totally betrayed me last season. I instead chose the old brass Ping Zing I had loved from the late ’80s until something happened around the turn of the century. I cleaned it up spectacularly and slid on a slightly oversized Winn grip.
Next, I simplified my stroke. One, two. One, two. One, two. You get the idea. No Snedeker pop stroke for me. One, two. Virtually the same length back as forward. I don’t really think about it, except that I don’t want to go too far back or I’ll decelerate on the forward stroke. Every once in a while, for some reason, I feel my right hand playing in to the forward stroke. This doesn’t seem to hurt accuracy, but I don’t even think about it.
Even though pro teachers say that to improve putting one should focus on speed, not line, my problem is line. My speed has always been good. Furthermore, my problem isn’t on seeing the line–oh, I see it fine from behind the ball–it’s on setting up to the line and seeing it sideways.
After observing myself for many putts, I realized that I had the same success whether my feet were too far open or too far closed. My real problem was where my toes were pointing. That would change where the ball was in my stance. Not good for me.
How to clean this up? It was like magic.
Since I could aim the putter accurately on my line, why couldn’t I also aim my feet? But how?
Then it dawned on me: line my feet up parallel to my putter face. If the putter was aimed correctly, then just aim my feet correctly. Then my eyes, shoulders, hips and knees had a better chance of synergy.
And it worked. It still works. This has been all indoors here in Virginia, so I can’t wait to get out on the putting green.
Again, I have a putter I do not doubt, my stroke is under control, I have confidence in my choice of line, I can feel the distance to the hole, and now I trust my set up to make it all happen.
Summary: I started with fundamentals. I made certain my putting stroke was solid and I didn’t sway, ingraining a one-two tempo to my stroke, finding the right grip and the mental notion that makes it happen (I push away with the back of my left hand, and I lead the putter through with the back of my left hand, traditional right hand low grip, with thumbs parallel down the face of the wide grip).
It’s really odd the things that can improve your game. Two other things have helped me in my full swing: 1) picturing my hands and and wrists like Lee Trevino’s at the top of my swing, then 2) swinging like Steve Stricker with no wrist action at all. Neither of those things truly happen, but they are controls that work for me.
So I suggest, with any swing improvement you are trying to make, be as visual and position-oriented as you can. It is a lot easier to picture Lee Trevino’s swing in my mind than to force my own hands into someplace around my head.
Good luck this season. And keep it fun and fast.