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I suck at putting- Lessons, videos, training aids?? All of the above?


pldbryan
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I am currently an 8 handicap and have decided by far the biggest area for improvement in my game is with the flat stick. I have read through all sorts of topics and still can not decide on best path forward. For regular swing help, I think lessons are the best route, hands down. But what about putting.

Does an in person lesson bring the same benefits as a full swing lesson, should I follow some of the online videos or do I invest in some putting aids and practice with them regularly, or is it a combo for all of the above.

What helped you take a big step forward in your putting game???

 

If it helps, my misses seem to be leaving putts short or just straight missing it left or right.

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I'm a little biased because I am a teaching pro, but I do think putting lessons can be extremely valuable if you get a good instructor. They're actually my favorite kind of lesson to give because they can lower scores quicker than anything.

 

Online video lessons can be good, but they also aren't super personal. Everyone's swing is different and, I believe, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to the golf swing...there are a lot of putting strokes that can work great.

 

Sometimes I think we make putting too complicated. Putting is just aim and speed, so I'd focus on those two skills. Get some sort of laser that you can put on your putter face to make sure you're aiming where you're intending to aim. Then, spend time lag putting with a ladder drill (5ft, 10ft, 15ft, 20ft, etc.).

 

Doesn't matter what you're swing looks like. If it's comfortable and you can consistently line the putter face up correctly and lag it the correct distance...you'll be a better putter. That just takes repetition.

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Agree with the above. I’m not a pro but a good putter. I’d get fit first. Make sure the stick you’re using fits your eye and stroke. Then practice speed and direction. Over and over. Don’t over complicate it with thoughts.

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Being fitted into a putter was an eye opening experience for me, and with the accompanying lesson(s) has changed my whole approach. the dreaded 3 putt is a thing of the past, and anything inside 2m (6 feet - 8 feet) is a now in my mind as a 'genuine makeable putt'

 

But.

 

I was leaving a few inside 2m short, by like an inch, and way too often the longer ones from 3 to 5m ... on line, so read was good, but just short.

 

So, I changed my alignment to a spot about a foot before the ball and ONLY concentrated on THAT spot as I executed the shot. HUGE change with many now sliding by the hole, and an increased % now dropping from the 3-4m range.

 

As a hacker, I need a good short game to score, and often find I'm putting for Par, or need to get one to stay at only a bogey. The last few rounds, using the new '1 foot in front of the ball' routine has really saved any doubles, and many many bogeys from hitting the scorecard.

 

Now, to just start hitting some green with the irons and wedges.

 

It was a

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Start with step 1. Make sure your putter design fits your putter swing. Dont make sense stroking a putter designed with lots of toe hang straight back and straight forward. If you get that, move on to step 2. Focus on distance before break because it dont matter where you aim if you never get there. That brings us back to step 3. Its not where you are aimed but the path the ball has to take to get there. Learn to understand the apex of your target line and that will be a good start, if you never reach your apex of your target line, you will never have a chance at making it in the hole (Miss it low side) Step 4. Do not develop the technique of a long back stroke. Imagine your putting stroke as a smaller rendition of your golf swing. The stroke should be a short stroke with a complete follow through. Stay away from long back strokes then decel on the follow through. Better to have a shorter back stroke and full stroke forward. Similar to a golf swing where your back swing can be shortened but your follow through should always be the same. Step 5. is very important as the rest and that is dont peek or do not look up. Keep your head down and listen for the ball to fall into the hole. If you look up, your tendency is to have the face slightly open on impact and sure enough miss the hole. Those 5 Steps may seem daunting but if you work on it long enough, it becomes second nature. Good luck

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I am all for a putter fitting and lessons. Seems I need to try to find one in my area here. I am a member at a club and not sure they have someone who can “fit” putters. I think there is a SAM lab, it sounds like this may be a good option? Any experience.

Thanks for the responses so far, it confirms what I was thinking I should do. Now I need to find a place that does a quality fitting and lesson.

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Two things have helped. First was finding a good grip. Been playing since I was 5 and have been poor to average putter most of my life. In last couple of years, I finally found a grip that really allowed me to control the ball much better. Second was putting tempo. Mine is just a simple One-Two count. Finding a good stroke tempo that is the same helps a lot with distance control.

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Putting is all about confidence in my opinion. You have to find a way to build up confidence. Get an eyeline putting mirror. You can find them on ebay for about $30. Then go to your course and find a straight uphill putt from about 6 ft. This will validate your setup, aim and can usually help a lot with letting you know whether your putter is a good fit for you. Practice these a lot and build up your trust and confidence in what you are doing. Make 10 in a row, then 20, etc and really ingrain proper setup. Then practice distance control and do the 3 ft putting drill until you are blue in the face. It's amazing how many longer putts you make when you aren't afraid of a 3 footer if you miss.

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Being fitted into a putter was an eye opening experience for me, and with the accompanying lesson(s) has changed my whole approach. the dreaded 3 putt is a thing of the past, and anything inside 2m (6 feet - 8 feet) is a now in my mind as a 'genuine makeable putt'

 

But.

 

I was leaving a few inside 2m short, by like an inch, and way too often the longer ones from 3 to 5m ... on line, so read was good, but just short.

 

So, I changed my alignment to a spot about a foot before the ball and ONLY concentrated on THAT spot as I executed the shot. HUGE change with many now sliding by the hole, and an increased % now dropping from the 3-4m range.

 

As a hacker, I need a good short game to score, and often find I'm putting for Par, or need to get one to stay at only a bogey. The last few rounds, using the new '1 foot in front of the ball' routine has really saved any doubles, and many many bogeys from hitting the scorecard.

 

Now, to just start hitting some green with the irons and wedges.

 

It was a

 

Hey, Hack...

So are you focusing on the spot one foot ahead of the ball when executing the swing instead of the golf ball?

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1. Get a lesson(s) with a good instructor to make sure that you are lining up correctly, etc. Build a solid grip, stance, and routine, with the right putter and then STAY WITH IT! Don't change stuff every time you have a putting day that you aren't happy with.

 

2. Practice 3'-5' putts in a "pristine" environment; a putting mat, and/or on straight, flat putts on the practice green. Practice these putts A LOT; build a stroke that repeats and that you KNOW rolls a ball straight. All the stuff about green reading and lag putting won't help until you can get the ball started on the line you've picked.

 

3. Practice rolling 30' putts at what Geoff Mangum calls "perfect pace", which takes the ball 4 or 5 rolls past the hole. (30' is an average first putt distance.) There's a great game called "30 for 30"; hit a 30' putt and give yourself 1 point for a two putt, 2 points for a 2 putt IF the first putt got past the hole, 3 points if you hole the first putt, and deduct 3 points if you three putt. The goal is to get 30 points before you hit 30 first putts. Great way to learn pace and build confidence, and an excellent pre-round warmup; takes about 15 minutes, and really works.

 

4. Read Mark Broadie's stuff about what is actually happening with pros and made putts. Great putting is about 3 putt avoidance; the pros don't make 50% until they get to about 9'. Knowing what's realistic might make you go a little easier on yourself; I can absolutely guarantee you that "I suck at putting" is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

5. Take a hard look at your stats to see if putting really is the issue. You're an 8, which is good golf by any reasonable standard. So how many fairways are you hitting? How many GIR's? If you're hitting 11 or 12 greens a round and you're an 8, then maybe it IS your putting. But if you're hitting 8 or 9 greens per round, then you might look elsewhere. Try keeping track of your first putt distances, and see if you can connect that to "strokes gained" measures to get a better idea about what is really going on. (Disclaimer: You might have already done this; if so, ignore!)

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Lessons will always help, always a good idea to have another set of eyes.

If you want to help yourself, I suggest you find out what the problem is first.

Do you miss a lot of short putts? Do you leave yourself a lot of long second putts? Or Both?

Short putts, use a chalk line or 5footer.com training aid on the green and practice 6 foot putts until you can make 95% of them.

Long putts, ladder drill, drop a ball every 4-5 feet and putt worrying just about distance control. Putting to the edge of the green is another good drill, drop a couple of balls between 10 to 20 feet and just see how close you can get to the edge of the green. Don't worry about line just distance.

Home made training aids:

chalk line

1 meter metal ruler-putt on top the ruler try to make the ball stay on ruler whole way down

bandaids- place bandaids on toe and heal of putter leaving only sweet spot exposed. Hit short and long putts. This will tell you if you are missing the sweet spot

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