Very quickly SPi instructors are beginning to be recongized as a leader in putting instruction. Below is another fine example of how they are obtaining this. If you need a putting lesson or never have taken one, find your nearest SPi instructor - HERE. Our 230 and growing global SPi instructos WANT to give you a putting lesson.
Last month I tried to persuade readers to treat the flat stick with respect when it comes to practice and lessons (You can read it here). In this follow up, I’ll address the so-called fundamentals of putting — grip, alignment, posture and ball position. You’ll also find some useful drills to help you practice putting with concrete objectives and feedback at home or at the course.
Keep in mind that while this piece is somewhat long, many of these ideas are the ones that have been the foundation of great putting careers of players like Payne Stewart and Zach Johnson and countless players who used the SeeMore putting system only in training because their staff contracts with other equipment manufacturers.
We only need to turn on the Golf Channel, or read articles about ongoing debate over anchoring to know that the putting grip is the most hotly debated topics in golf right now. I am not going to address the validity of belly or long putters here, because that’s not the purpose of this article. As far as a conventional putting grip goes, rule No. 1 is that the hands should oppose each other (as if palms were facing each other) because we don’t want either side fighting the other.
It’s notable that Tiger Woods recently regained his putting prowess after Steve Stricker pointed out that the stronger left hand grip Tiger uses for his full swing had crept into his putting. Once Tiger neutralized his grip so his hands were facing each other, he started putting lights out again. Rule No. 2 is that the club should rest in the fingers of both hands with minimal tension. A phrase I use with my juniors is “hot dog in the bun.” This will have a few positive effects — it will prevent your rear hand (the right hand for right handed golfers) from rolling over the front during the stroke, which can easily happen when you hold the grip in your lifeline. It will also get the shaft of the putter to look like an extension of your forearms (when viewed from behind) — a key to a consistent stroke. What many golfers don’t know is that good posture at address can greatly reduce the effect of the rear hand in the stroke, but I’ll get to that in a moment. So, to summarize, the keys to a conventional putting grip are hands facing each other and grip cradled in the fingers with minimal tension.
There are great players who have not lined their body up parallel to the target line when they putted. Jack Nicklaus used an open stance and Jim Furyk stands closed to the target line. The point I try to make to my students (as kindly as possible) is that none of them have the combination of a PGA Tour player’s long-term muscle memory, practice time and physical gifts. Most amateurs need a simple and neutral putting stance because that makes it easy to repeat under pressure with a limited practice schedule.
Standing parallel to the target line with your eyes and shoulders parallel sets you up to make a simple and repeatable stroke without any manipulation. The real alignment key is that the putter absolutely must be aimed at your intended target because face angle, not path, exerts the majority of control over the direction the ball travels.
The first step is to figure out whether you are in fact aiming at your target. The first thing I do with my students is measure their alignment using a device made by SeeMore called the Triangulator which can be purchased for $15 on the company’s website. There are a variety of laser aiming devices that are much more expensive, but the Triangulator does the job just as well. The vast majority of players I work with, including low handicap amateurs and a few professionals, aimed substantially wide of their target on a ten foot putt when I first measured them.
Once you establish what your aiming fault is, you can begin working to correct the alignment of your body and the club face. I use a SeeMore putter and encourage my students to do the same because they are the only putters that help a golfer learn to consistently line up the club and their body while they practice, and keep them on track while they play. So, if you wanted two catch phrases for the keys to putting alignment, they are “putter face aimed at the intended target” and “eyes, shoulders and feet parallel to the target line.”
Paul Kaster is the Director of Golf at High Bridge Hills Golf Club in scenic Hunterdon County, N.J. He learned the game on Chicago’s only 18-hole public golf course, Jackson Park G.C., and went on to play Division I college golf, and on mini tours including the Tar Heel Tour (now EGolf Tour), and the 2001 Golden Bear Tour (now Gateway Tour). After leaving the golf business to successfully pursue a career in law, Paul returned to his first love to share his passion for the game and for learning with his students. He is a Certified SPi Putting Instructor with the SeeMore Putter Company and a member of Bridgestone Golf's professional staff.
Here are some great stats of Z vs. field in the 2007 Masters.
He dominated the field. Yet his Master's score is an asterisk as
highest winning total at Masters. So I compared same exact comparative
stats in 2010 Colonial, where his winning score also dominated field and in
this case was the all time low record for that event.
Very Interesting! He was 3.3 shots on average better than
the field at the Masters, and 3.8 shots on average better than the field at
Colonial. So very close! More interesting, his great final round of
64 at Colonial was 4.5 shots better than the field average for the week.
Which was fantastic. He made 100 feet of putts on the back 9 Sunday
to shoot the 64.
But his Masters final round of 69 was 6.5 shots better than the
field for the week! That final round 69 at the Masters must go down as
one of the great final rounds to win the Masters in History!!!!! 27 Putts
in final round (a chip in birdie on 8 and 5 putting birdies). On maybe
the toughest greens ever at Augusta.
SeeMore Putter is unveiling two putters for the 2013 golf season, and company co-owner Jim Grundberg is pursuing another venture that aims to bring together teachers and golfers to discuss and dissect putting.
What most golfers know about SeeMore is the red-dot method, called RifleScope Technology: Line up the black bottom portion of the SeeMore shaft between two white lines so the shaft covers the signature red dot on the heel. Once this is accomplished, the hands, arms, shoulders and eyes should be in proper alignment with the putter face.
There is, of course, much more to the SeeMore putting system. The purpose of SPI is to initiate and continue communication among golfers and instructors. Take a close look at PGA Tour players on the putting green: They might practice every day, but they rarely do it alone. They have incessant dialogue with coaches and observers.
It's the putter made famous by the late Payne Stewart, and if used properly, it teaches the player who uses it. Today, another major winner, Zach Johnson, is the most famous player to wield the SeeMore Putter, which is not only gaining resurgence after disappearing for a few years but gaining momentum.
The unique aspect of the SeeMore Putter is the red oval on top of the head. The idea is to hide the red dot with the black part of the shaft throughout the stroke, ensuring proper path and plane. It's really self-evident for anyone who uses one, but now SeeMore is taking it a step further, having created the SeeMore Putting Institute.
The Institute employs certified instructors who help players learn to maximize the benefits of their putters. It goes beyond the basic concept, of course, teaching other attributes of good putting, including pace, rhythm and distance control.
It’s not news to you that tour players are looking to gain confidence in putting like the rest of the golfing world. While at the Honda Classic last week, I watched some other putter companies emphasize the importance of alignment by stating that certain designs are the solution to great alignment. From different manufacturers, you may be seeing promotions containing a variety of different messages. How do you communicate the keys to great alignment?
I’d love to receive your feedback on this message that I communicate to customers.
Perfect alignment down the target-line accurately synchronizes the putter face, the eyes and the rest of the body. SeeMore’s patented RifleScope Technology (RST)makes it the only putter in the world that helps reinforce that complete system of alignment. Through using a SeeMore Putter, you will build confidence by consistently applying a natural system in putting as RST serves as an indicator.
to reinforce perfect alignment on every putt. All players
(including a “feel player"
need a simple system for game improvement. Golfers are often skipping simple steps in their development, and here is the simple formula for you to build confidence in your alignment.
Theory + Application + Belief = Confidence
The definition of confidence is the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something. It’s the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
Like many things in life, confidence in golf comes from belief in the application of a theory.
Application and belief are essential components in putting. Golfers often buy into a theory and expect confidence, but do not gain it because they were not taught to reinforce the correct application. And who can believe in anything without application?
SeeMore Putter Institute (SPi)team members are sharing the truth that SeeMore is the answer for golfers to follow each essential element to build confidence in putting.
Passionate SPi Team Member, Chris Carfangia (Pine Lakes Country Club in Hubbard, OH) articulates RST’s capabilities to reinforce both theory and application.
“The most wonderful part about the SeeMore Putter Line is the fact that IT IS THE ONLY CLUB ON THE MARKET that promotes the “THEORY” and the “APPLICATION” of the theory…which blend nicely into the SeeMore Putting System. To elaborate, we all know what the “THEORY” is. It is getting our body, arms and head in the correct position to build a consistent stance, posture, alignment, grip and ball position to make a repeatable putting stroke. The “APPLICATION” is just that, the Riflescope Technology. It is how to apply all that we teach and know about our set up to be successful.”
If you have not visited SeeMoreSPi.com, click here. You will find great information on putting instruction, video and instruction tips. Visit the SPi forum page and learn what our SPi instructors are talking about. Find your putting instructor at SeeMoreSPi.com. Our SPi instructors want to teach putting and will give you a system to improve your game.