[ TomTuckerGolf.com Tips ] Issue 30 - Date 09/12/12
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Tom's Featured Tip: Putter Fitting - What's Important
- Tom's Bonus Tip: More Putting Tips
- Lesson Comments: http://www.tomtuckergolf.com/testimonials.html
- Sponsors: The Batavia Country Club, Chestnut Hill CC
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For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from
a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do :-)
Tom's Featured Tip - Putter Fitting - What's Important
I get a lot of questions about putter fitting, and here's the first thing you
should know - you should have a firm idea of how you want to stroke putts before
you get fitted. If you don't, take a putting lesson first before you dump money into
a putter that might not be optimal for your personal stroke preferences.
In other words get a putting stroke before you get a putter or get fitted for a putter.
Once you have an idea of your preferred technique, here's a brief synopsis of how you
should be fitted. BTW, I'll be doing putter fitting indoors over the winter at Plum Creek.
This might be the most important factor, because without the correct length for your
particular style, your wrist and elbow angles will be incorrect and will effect your
actual stroke. It also helps determine your posture. In the past, the industry
standard for length for male putters was a putter with a 35" shaft, but more off the
rack options are available now.
Players that favor a straight back and straight through stroke would need a shorter
shaft than those that prefer an arcing stroke path.
I often recommend a longer shaft (not belly length) with a long (belly) grip, because
I teach an inside to down the line stroke for longer putts, and a straight back and through
stroke for very short putts. The longer grip accommodates different hand positions
for the different strokes.
The lie of the putter is determined by the correct length, posture, and eye positioning.
Lie angle is not as critical with putters as some may lead you to believe, but I do like the
putters to sit flat on the green at address. Robot testing shows that putts from 5 feet to
25 feet are not affected by different lie angles, even when extreme.
However, lie angle is more important for players using belly or broomstick length putters to prevent
fat hits. Yes, you can hit putts fat.
The average manufactured loft of a putter is 3.5 degrees, but actual playing loft varies
according to the players putting technique. Ball position, angle of attack, forward
press etc., all come into play.
Loft is needed to reduce the skid zone on a putt, which is the transition stage
from back to top spin, and is the most unstable period of the putt.
Phil Mickleson has putters that are identical except for different lofts for different
green conditions, some as low as one degree of loft. John Daly used to use a
putter with over seven degrees of loft when he used to employ an extreme forward
press with his stroke.
Many modern putters have grooves on the face these days, yet many major
manufacturers have not gotten on board. Limited research seems to indicate that
grooves can help a ball get into pure roll quicker, so I would be inclined to
be open minded towards them.
Unfortunately, there still are not a lot of manufacturers that offer a wide variety
of putter headweight options. Swingweight is not as important to a putter as total
weight, because it is the total weight that gives balance and feel.
This is where the variety of options is almost overwhelming. The main function of
the grip is comfort, but it also can influence the wrist action during the putting stroke.
Larger grips reduce wrist action, smaller grips enhance it.
The shape and style of a putter is extremely personal, but research has shown
that mallet heads are the most forgiving. The head style can also effect balance,
which should be fitted to the stroke. Face balanced putters work best with
a straight back and through stroke. Toe hang putters work best with an arcing stroke.
The player should bear in mind that really is no right and wrong in a putter, it's
totally a matter of personal choice, and trial and error is not a bad idea for
choosing this particular club.
Enjoy your golf,
Tom's Bonus Tip - More Putting Tips
I recently saw a putting tip in Golf Digest - actually it was more of an edict than
a tip - with the usual stuff on alignment - you know: everything square to the aimline.
That's actually a bunch of bullhooey.
The only thing important about your alignment is that it permits you to start
your ball directly on your aimline every time. Tiger sets up a little open, Azinger
used to set up a little closed, and there are countless other great putters that have
setups that are not square to the aimline.
Set up comfortably, then test yourself to make sure that you can strike the putt
with a clubface that is square to your aimline, and that it stays square to your
aimline for one or two inches past impact.
Here's an easy drill to test yourself to see if you are starting your putts on
your intended aimline.
Stick a flat marker into the ground, then stick two tees in the ground 18 inches
in front of the marker. Make the space between the tees about 1/4" wider than
a golf ball, then start stroking putts from the marker through the tees without
touching either tee.
If you can do that 8 times out of 10 consistently, your stance and stroke are
You can get double bang for your training time by also practicing your
"core" putting stroke length and tempo while you do this drill.
If you are looking for a putting method recommendation from me, here it is:
- try setting up a little open, it's a comfortable way to visualize your aimline
- position the ball forward in your stance
- grip the putter in the lifeline of your hands, much more palm than fingers
- flatten your left wrist so that your left wrist and forearm have less angle to
the putter shaft, I like to see the shaft and the forearm aligned almost straight
- then execute your stroke by rocking your shoulders
Putting is the most individual of all strokes, so find what works for you and use it.
And don't forget to think positively, because in the words of the great Vince Lombardi
"You Defeat Defeatism With Confidence".
Great putters knew they were great putters before they actually became great putters.
Enjoy your golf,
I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link with info here: http://www.tomtuckergolf.com/
Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
Batavia Country Club - http://www.bataviacc.com The best greens in WNY
Chestnut Hill CC - http://www.chestnuthillcc.com Low greens fees, great course!
All the best,
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
Cell: (716) 474-3005
Success Loves Preparation