[ TomTuckerGolf.com Tips ] Issue 32 - Date 09/26/12
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Tom's Featured Tip: Putter Performance - Hosel and Shaft Optimization
- Tom's Bonus Tip: The Best Putter Test
- Lesson Comments: http://www.tomtuckergolf.com/testimonials.html
- Sponsors: The Batavia Country Club, Chestnut Hill CC,
Plum Creek Driving Range and PGA Golf Simulator
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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 Performance - Hosel And Shaft Optimization
Before I present this tip, if you want to test your putting stroke preference
compatibility with various hosel styles and shaft placement options, please contact me
to set up an appointment. I have the three basic hosel styles available in a putter head,
with the ability to adjust the shaft placement from heel to mid to center. Call my cell
(716 474 3005) or email me at email@example.com for details or to make an
appointment. It can be done indoors or outdoors, so weather conditions are not a
When I conduct a fundamental putting lesson, I cover setup, developing good
stroke mechanics, striking the ball directly down an intended aimline, touch
and feel drills, and a "high conversion" short putt technique.
During a productive putting lesson last week, I observed something that prompted
the topic for this tip.
This particular student was assimilating all of the information extremely well, and
when we got to the aimline test he struck six or seven putts perfectly through
the gate without touching either peg. I rarely have any student do that drill
as perfectly as that.
He brought two putters, but only used his old trusty Zebra mallet putter with a double
bend shaft for the lesson. His other putter made me drool - I have an absolute
weakness for cool looking putters. It was a more compact version of the putter
I have had in my bag for about a month. His was a Ping 1/2 Wack-E, center shafted
with a straight shaft. Really a sweet looking putter, I'm still coveting it even though
I know it won't work with my stroke. My current putter a Ping Wack-E with a larger
head and a double bend shaft.
I really wanted to see him stroke that putter, so after his lesson was done I set him
up at the aimline station to see if he could match his performance with the Zebra putter.
He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with that putter, and his misses were mostly to
the right. It then made sense to me why he was so successful with the Zebra, and
this may help some of you that are struggling with getting the ball started straight
down your intended aimline consistently.
The hosel style and shaft placement on his Ping putter were incompatible with his
natural putting stroke preferences, and the Zebra was perfect.
Here's an explanation of how the hosel type and shaft placement on your putter head
influences your putting.
THE HOSEL STYLE INFLUENCES THE FACE AT IMPACT
Here are the three basic hosel styles:
Plumber's Neck Hosel (sometimes called a Gooseneck Hosel)
There are a few more esoteric hosel styles, but the three above are the most common.
If you tend to push your putts to the right, you are most likely leaving the face
open at impact. Offset hosels (plumber's neck) tend to close the clubface. The more
the offset, the greater the effect.You would be a candidate for a plumber's neck hosel
or a putter with a double bend shaft, which provides the same offset effect.
If you tend to pull your putts, a straight hosel will work best for you.
If you are square at impact, a slanted hosel would be best.
I'm a bag snooper. That means when I observe a good player I pay close attention
to their equipment choices. In person as well as on TV.
As a bag snooper, I've observed a correlation between the iron types a person uses
and their putter hosel as follows: players that prefer offset in their iron heads tend
to use putters with an offset hosel or double bend shaft.
My observations have also shown that players that play blades with no offset do
not use a putter with an offset hosel, and usually use a straight shaft.
Once in awhile I've seen players playing blades using a putter with an offset
hosel, but rarely have I seen a player playing offset irons using putters without
a plumber's neck hosel or a double bend shaft.
And yes, some touring pros do play offset irons.
THE SHAFT POSITIONING IN THE HEAD INFLUENCES STROKE PATH
Players who prefer a straight back and through putting stroke perform optimally
with a center shafted putter and a face balanced head.
Players who prefer a pronounced arc putting stroke perform optimally with
heel shafted putter and a full toe hang balanced putter head.
Players who prefer a slightly arcing putting stroke perform optimally with
mid shafted (between heel and center shafted) putter and mid hang balanced putter head.
Can players putt well with less than optimal equipment?
I would say that over time, a player could learn to compensate and putt reasonably
well, but probably not to the level that they could with the equipment that fits their
natural stroke preferences.
Either by sophisticated testing or by trial and error, most really great putters eventually
gravitate to a putter hosel and shaft combination that's optimal for them.
And don't think that there's not plenty of trial and error going on at the top levels of
the game. Even with all the sophistication available to top level pros, many of them
still do things the old fashioned way - trial and error.
Just like your run of the mill golf junkie - kind of gives you a warm fuzzy feeling doesn't it :-).
Enjoy your golf,
Tom's Bonus Tip - The Best Putter Test
I always preach that the most important thing in putting is speed, but starting the
ball on your intended aimline is perhaps even more important for short, makable putts.
The best test for that is using a tool like The Putting Fork, which I use at all
of my putting lessons. Photo: http://www.tomtuckergolf.com/puttingfork.html
I'm glad I bought several because the site is currently down. In any
event - although I like them professionally, for the more frugal reader (I wish
I was in that group but it's not in my DNA) here's a really inexpensive
Of course there are many training aids out there that you can buy to
duplicate the drills below, but what I am suggesting works just as well
for a miniscule cost, and the durability is outstanding.
I always like training aids that give me triple bang for my buck, so if you
have the same mindset, just keep two 24" 2" x 4"'s in your trunk and
use them for the three putting practice drills below. Use tees to anchor
the boards in place after they are set up for each drill.
THE BEST TEST: For aimline practice, put the boards end to end with just
enough space between them for a ball plus 1/4" (1/8" when you get good at 1/4").
Then place a ball straight back 18" from the opening and stroke putts through it.
It will help you get the ball started straight down your aimline, but if your misses
are consistent you may even discover that your hosel and or shaft configuration
on your putter is less than optimal.
For straight back and straight through stroke practice (which I require from
my students for short putts) place one board flat on it's 4" side, and one standing
on it's 2" side with just enough space in the lengthwise channel of space between
the boards to fit your putter head in between. Position the heel of your putter near
the flat board and the toe near the taller board and practice stroking putts with a
straight back and straight through stroke travelling between the boards. Set
this up 3' from a hole with a straight line (no break) , and just keep stroking putts
firmly into the hole. The confidence you'll gain from this drill will blow you away.
For distance control, place one 2" x 4" board (or both boards end to end) 8"
past the hole to form a blockade against putting too far past the hole. Research I've
seen indicates that an actual physical blockade like this is superior to anything
else for getting this feeling into your brain. Then practice stroking putts to that hole
from different distances for each putt. Just keep moving away from the hole for each
successive putt, or even go shorter, longer, etc. to keep challenging your ability to
adjust your stroke to fit the distance. This is the easiest and best drill for distance
control that I know of, but note that it's very important to actually have a visible
physical barrier set up past the hole - don't skip that part.
BTW, there are a lot of different speed (distance past the hole) recommendations out
there. I chose 8" on the basis of a body of work by Geoff Mangum, because a ball
travelling at that speed "gives luck a chance" for the ball falling into the side of the
hole if half of it goes over the edge of the hole. The actual speed he recommends
is 8" to 10" past the hole according to his research.
Don't be embarrassed to drag these boards out onto the putting green and use them,
just do it. The next time you're out there practicing you might see a few other
serious players practicing the same way.
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.
If you want to test your putting stroke preference compatibility with
various hosel styles and shaft placement options, please contact me to set up an
I have the three basic hosel styles available in a putter head with the ability to
adjust the shaft placement from heel to mid to center. Call my cell (716 474 3005)
or email me at email@example.com for details or to make an appointment.
It can be done indoors or outdoors, so weather conditions are not a factor.
Batavia Country Club - http://www.bataviacc.com The best greens in WNY
Chestnut Hill CC - http://www.chestnuthillcc.com Low greens fees, great course!
Plum Creek Driving Rage - http://plumcreekdrivingrange.com Play golf all winter
on the indoor simulator. Courses, leagues, professional lessons, practice time available!
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