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When practicing with a specific target goal, at what point are you doing more harm than good?

 

Say you set a goal to make 30 4 foot putts, and for every putt you make you then miss the next 3-4 straight. Eventually you will reach a point or time where you are doing more harm with your practice than benefit, correct? When do you accept that you either need to change your goal or stop the drill you are working on? Do you go work on something else for a little while and then try and come back to your initial drill?

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14 hours ago, WestCoastGolf said:

When practicing with a specific target goal, at what point are you doing more harm than good?

 

Say you set a goal to make 30 4 foot putts, and for every putt you make you then miss the next 3-4 straight. Eventually you will reach a point or time where you are doing more harm with your practice than benefit, correct? When do you accept that you either need to change your goal or stop the drill you are working on? Do you go work on something else for a little while and then try and come back to your initial drill?

I get it.  And I agree to a point. I’ve practiced putting at times and just walked off the green because I was missing 2 out of 3 abd it was absolutely just reinforcing the “ you suck “ in my head. 
 

The thing nobody mentions is that some days you just wake up - off.  No real reason you can pinpoint. Whne that happens, I firmly believe it’s best to just lay it down for the day.  100 % of the time you’ll wake up different tomorrow.  Maybe not fixed. But in a better place.  This is how my putting goes anyway.  Some day I can just see it.  And feel it. Some days I have no feeling and I don’t see anything going in.  When I say nothing I mean nothing.  
 

So yes. Try briefly to figure out a better setup position , but if you can’t.  Stop.  Watching 100 putts lip out isn’t productive.  It leads to watching 100 more lip out tomorrow.  

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21 hours ago, WestCoastGolf said:

When practicing with a specific target goal, at what point are you doing more harm than good?

 

Say you set a goal to make 30 4 foot putts, and for every putt you make you then miss the next 3-4 straight. Eventually you will reach a point or time where you are doing more harm with your practice than benefit, correct? When do you accept that you either need to change your goal or stop the drill you are working on? Do you go work on something else for a little while and then try and come back to your initial drill?

I don’t believe in being able to repeat a crappy stroke for the most part. If you are missing multiple 4 ft putts in a row and they are straightish putts not some 4 degree side slope putts…then something is majorly off.  
 

I’d go get a SAM lab putting evaluation or something similar asap. Once it identifies your problem then work on the drills.

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8 hours ago, bladehunter said:

I get it.  And I agree to a point. I’ve practiced putting at times and just walked off the green because I was missing 2 out of 3 abd it was absolutely just reinforcing the “ you suck “ in my head. 
 

The thing nobody mentions is that some days you just wake up - off.  No real reason you can pinpoint. Whne that happens, I firmly believe it’s best to just lay it down for the day.  100 % of the time you’ll wake up different tomorrow.  Maybe not fixed. But in a better place.  This is how my putting goes anyway.  Some day I can just see it.  And feel it. Some days I have no feeling and I don’t see anything going in.  When I say nothing I mean nothing.  
 

So yes. Try briefly to figure out a better setup position , but if you can’t.  Stop.  Watching 100 putts lip out isn’t productive.  It leads to watching 100 more lip out tomorrow.  

Yeah. And that's why I was asking. To keep seeing misses can start to really get to oneself mentally I would think. But it also doesn't do any good if you start to struggle when practicing, and then just decide to stop.

 

You would have to keep trying for a little while to see if you can make somewhat of a fix or not. But obviously you can end up reaching the point where you are no longer helping yourself. Being able to recognize that is the key.

 

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2 hours ago, airjammer said:

I don’t believe in being able to repeat a crappy stroke for the most part. If you are missing multiple 4 ft putts in a row and they are straightish putts not some 4 degree side slope putts…then something is majorly off.  
 

I’d go get a SAM lab putting evaluation or something similar asap. Once it identifies your problem then work on the drills.

My post was an extreme example. I do not have the problem that I put there. The drill that I was actually doing was putting from 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 feet. With the goal of making three putts from each distance before moving back a foot. Miss, and you start back at 2 feet. What peaked my interest, and brought up my question, is in about 2 hours of work I only made it to 5 feet twice. I finally accepted what I was trying to do was not going to happen, but I feel that it is something that I should be able to accomplish. I was getting GREAT work at the 3 footers, and just mediocre work at the 4 footers.

 

I agree though. If someone is completely all over the place with their putting, they have another problem that needs to be addressed. 

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29 minutes ago, WestCoastGolf said:

My post was an extreme example. I do not have the problem that I put there. The drill that I was actually doing was putting from 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 feet. With the goal of making three putts from each distance before moving back a foot. Miss, and you start back at 2 feet. What peaked my interest, and brought up my question, is in about 2 hours of work I only made it to 5 feet twice. I finally accepted what I was trying to do was not going to happen, but I feel that it is something that I should be able to accomplish. I was getting GREAT work at the 3 footers, and just mediocre work at the 4 footers.

 

I agree though. If someone is completely all over the place with their putting, they have another problem that needs to be addressed. 

I think the problem here is you are more focused on result than process… I’ve improved my putting a ton this season and rarely hit the ball at a hole in practice. 
 

I like to do things like work on speed control and tempo, and make sure I’m doing those thing correctly, and I’ve seen them translate to better on course putting results.

 

Grinding 4 foot putts isn’t necessarily going to make you better and it might hurt your confidence on the course…

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Generally, I would say that you can't get hurt practicing a thing too much. Again that's generally. The exceptions would be if you cause injury to yourself or you are doing a drill that requires exaggeration of movement .

 

When I think about Diminishing Returns as it relates to golf is focusing too much practice time on a skill that is nearly maxed out and other skills with more gains to yield are ignored.

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I went through this putting and chipping a few weeks ago.  Inside 3 feet was fine.  Tried a lot of different things, but the thing that helped me was lining the line with 2 dowels little wider than the ball, didn’t try to make just wanted it to not hit the stick.  Then I would hit 10 putts.  If it was greater than 60% I stopped.  If less went back to a distance I wasn’t having an issue for positive thoughts.  

 

I like thePhil drill posted earlier, I also like spacing 3 tees in a line over 20 feet or so and putting to the tee.  If it’s short I start over.

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50 minutes ago, WestCoastGolf said:

My post was an extreme example. I do not have the problem that I put there. The drill that I was actually doing was putting from 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 feet. With the goal of making three putts from each distance before moving back a foot. Miss, and you start back at 2 feet. What peaked my interest, and brought up my question, is in about 2 hours of work I only made it to 5 feet twice. I finally accepted what I was trying to do was not going to happen, but I feel that it is something that I should be able to accomplish. I was getting GREAT work at the 3 footers, and just mediocre work at the 4 footers.

 

I agree though. If someone is completely all over the place with their putting, they have another problem that needs to be addressed. 

Funny enough I did that drill a couple days a week for over a month and I made a good percentage of putts but it did absolutely nothing on the course.  For me personally putting drills that gets you in a rhythm regardless of distance doesn’t translate to the course. I have the tour tempo app and for what ever reason translates to the course very well. 

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17 hours ago, Zitlow said:

You'll have better results if you have fun with it regardless of the outcome. 

I agree.  But the question is how?  Putting is the one part where the expectation is to hole it.  When it’s not happening is when it’s hard to see any fun.  
 

on the flip side.  Wedge practice is always fun.  The expectation is really pretty easy to meet time and time again.  I find wedges fun and putting extremely stressful.  

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9 hours ago, airjammer said:

Funny enough I did that drill a couple days a week for over a month and I made a good percentage of putts but it did absolutely nothing on the course.  For me personally putting drills that gets you in a rhythm regardless of distance doesn’t translate to the course. I have the tour tempo app and for what ever reason translates to the course very well. 

Agree.  I can get on a straight 5/6 footer and make make make. No problem.   Does nothing for the course.  

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21 minutes ago, bladehunter said:

I agree.  But the question is how?  Putting is the one part where the expectation is to hole it.  When it’s not happening is when it’s hard to see any fun.  
 

on the flip side.  Wedge practice is always fun.  The expectation is really pretty easy to meet time and time again.  I find wedges fun and putting extremely stressful.  

 I practice chipping a lot and would always prefer a chip to a long lag putt

 Chipping seems more like golf ( I know that is nuts ) and a lot more fun to hole a chip

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6 minutes ago, miamistomp said:

 I practice chipping a lot and would always prefer a chip to a long lag putt

 Chipping seems more like golf ( I know that is nuts ) and a lot more fun to hole a chip

Agree.  I feel in control of the chip or heck, even a 40-50 yard shot.  But a 40 foot lag putt ?  That’s just wrong. I’d rather miss the green than have that.  The amount of variables to overcome is far greater with the putt.  Many seem to want to get the ball on the ground soon as possible. To me I can cut out variables with a flying ball much easier than a rolling one. 
 

I think the game really is 2 games. 

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7 minutes ago, bladehunter said:

Agree.  I feel in control of the chip or heck, even a 40-50 yard shot.  But a 40 foot lag putt ?  That’s just wrong. I’d rather miss the green than have that.  The amount of variables to overcome is far greater with the putt.  Many seem to want to get the ball on the ground soon as possible. To me I can cut out variables with a flying ball much easier than a rolling one. 
 

I think the game really is 2 games. 

yep

That was Hogan's theory too

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4 hours ago, bladehunter said:

I agree.  But the question is how?  Putting is the one part where the expectation is to hole it.  When it’s not happening is when it’s hard to see any fun.  
 

on the flip side.  Wedge practice is always fun.  The expectation is really pretty easy to meet time and time again.  I find wedges fun and putting extremely stressful.  

 

You answered your own question. If you expect to make it you will, if you expect to miss it you will. 

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16 minutes ago, Zitlow said:

 

You answered your own question. If you expect to make it you will, if you expect to miss it you will. 

I get it. And I know that there is SOME truth there.  But it’s a mind knot I’ve not been able to untangle.  If that makes sense. 
 

 

say I’m practicing 50 yard lob wedges.  My home target is a ball bucket.  I have a fence 3 yards right of the bucket. And tall grass 3 yards left.  A good shot is pin high in the short grass section.   I can stand and hit that good zone stress free all day.  Every once in a while I’ll hit the bucket itself.  It’s not easy for anybody. But it’s also very doable with plenty  of room to miss a little.  And I do hit a few bad ones like anybody else.  But if I’m really paying attention on each ball. It’s rare.  This translates to the course. 
 

 

I can apply the same exact focus etc to a 12 foot putt and  I might make 2 out of 20 ish.  And that’s after seeing the read.  I play on Bermuda.  And you can vary speed 3 inches and watch the line totally change.  
 

i guess what I’m trying to say is this.  I can adjust my expectations on putting to a 18 inch circle being a “successful “ putt.  And I can cut 3 putts way way down.  To NeArly nothing.  But I also will make 0 - 1 putts.   Or then adjust expectations up to what you’re  saying.  Which is make anything.  And watch the 1 putts come back. But the 3 putts go way up.  I find the middle ground to be almost impossible to find.  
 

going over my stats this morning I found that early this season I was at 29 putts per round. I’m in a slump now and have ballooned to 34 plus.   And here’s the catch.  I didn’t think I was putting good at 29.  My scoring average was 71 and I was unhappy.  Mostly because my par 4 and par 3 scoring was over par.  Indicating very few 1 putts.  
 

my winter mission is to learn the game of putting.  It’s not a mechanical deal.  It’s green reading and speed reading ,  plus whatever mental component that  I don’t understand  yet.  

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As long as you can maintain focus, and continually be aware of your mechanics, you're not messing anything up. 

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On 10/17/2021 at 6:06 PM, Myherobobhope said:

I think the problem here is you are more focused on result than process… I’ve improved my putting a ton this season and rarely hit the ball at a hole in practice. 
 

I like to do things like work on speed control and tempo, and make sure I’m doing those thing correctly, and I’ve seen them translate to better on course putting results.

 

Grinding 4 foot putts isn’t necessarily going to make you better and it might hurt your confidence on the course…

But shouldn't you try to focus on result AND process, at least sometimes, while running drills? Obviously if you were making a change of some type, you should be more focused on process and not worry so much about the result. But eventually while practicing or running drills you want to see some result, whether that be holing a putt or hitting your spot your putting to.

 

I agree with speed control and tempo. I work those too and also seen a good translation to on course putting. But when I work on 10 footers and in, I also feel like I have good results on the course. I guess I would consider it a confidence thing. Which in part hits your third point. Just raking a ball over and hitting 4 footer after 4 footer won't necessarily make someone a better putter. I agree with that. As to hurting confidence, that plays in to the original question. Is there a point where you end up doing more harm than good?  

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On 10/17/2021 at 6:36 PM, airjammer said:

Funny enough I did that drill a couple days a week for over a month and I made a good percentage of putts but it did absolutely nothing on the course.  For me personally putting drills that gets you in a rhythm regardless of distance doesn’t translate to the course. I have the tour tempo app and for what ever reason translates to the course very well. 

I don't think or feel like I ever really got in to a rhythm. Each putt was from a different location, and each putt was setup as if I were getting ready to make a putt out on the course. Granted I didn't take a whole lot of time between each putt at each distance. Maybe 30 seconds between each spot before starting my routine.

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On 10/18/2021 at 4:34 AM, bladehunter said:

on the flip side.  Wedge practice is always fun.  The expectation is really pretty easy to meet time and time again.  I find wedges fun and putting extremely stressful.  

Did you ever think you would or could find putting fun? You can have your expectation for putting be as easy or hard as you want it, no? 

On 10/18/2021 at 4:57 AM, miamistomp said:

 I practice chipping a lot and would always prefer a chip to a long lag putt

 Chipping seems more like golf ( I know that is nuts ) and a lot more fun to hole a chip

I used to be the same way. Preferred to chip than putt. Lately I am feeling more and more confident either way, and choose my play according to the situation, where as before I almost always chipped.

 

Question for you both though. Say you are trying to work a certain drill with your chipping/pitching. Landing x number of balls within a 5 foot circle around your target. Landing, not stopping. And you just keep missing your target by a couple feet around what your goal is. In the grand scheme still decent work being done, but you are really trying to hone in a certain distance/shot. Are you content as long as you feel like you are making a good swing on the ball? Could you start doing more harm (eventually) the longer you try to meet your goal?

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10 minutes ago, WestCoastGolf said:

Did you ever think you would or could find putting fun? You can have your expectation for putting be as easy or hard as you want it, no? 

I used to be the same way. Preferred to chip than putt. Lately I am feeling more and more confident either way, and choose my play according to the situation, where as before I almost always chipped.

 

Question for you both though. Say you are trying to work a certain drill with your chipping/pitching. Landing x number of balls within a 5 foot circle around your target. Landing, not stopping. And you just keep missing your target by a couple feet around what your goal is. In the grand scheme still decent work being done, but you are really trying to hone in a certain distance/shot. Are you content as long as you feel like you are making a good swing on the ball? Could you start doing more harm (eventually) the longer you try to meet your goal?

Hard to say.  I feel like meeting the goal of stopping it in a 5 foot circle is pretty easy to dial in.   I don’t think you’d ever get to the point of it being a mental detriment to keep trying.  
 

Now if you’re trying to HOLE  a 25 foot chip , that’s an apples to apples comparison.  You could absolutely drive yourself nuts trying to do that.  Kind of like watching JT and Rory in that hole in one challenge. They got 50 or 100 balls each to try.  The harder they tried the worse shots they hit. A few good ones mixed in.  But mostly they just got mad and hit it worse.   That’s how I feel with putter ,  some days. And some days I wake up and can’t miss.  But ive never been able to capture that and carry it forward.     Currently in a funk where I’ve pressed , tried harder , and lost confidence, got mad and this leads to worse and worse putting.  

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I reach a point sometimes, when I'm hittin how I want and know there's no point in continuing..... I think the benefit is coming back soon within a day or two and gettin back there rather then havin a long practice... and if  you can get back there after your warm up then things are starting to groove...

 

Happens the most with putting for me... I'll be makin short ones and doing good on long ones and realize I'm good now and I would be totally happy if I was playin and puttin this good and can stop if I want

 

 

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55 minutes ago, WestCoastGolf said:

Did you ever think you would or could find putting fun? You can have your expectation for putting be as easy or hard as you want it, no? 

I used to be the same way. Preferred to chip than putt. Lately I am feeling more and more confident either way, and choose my play according to the situation, where as before I almost always chipped.

 

Question for you both though. Say you are trying to work a certain drill with your chipping/pitching. Landing x number of balls within a 5 foot circle around your target. Landing, not stopping. And you just keep missing your target by a couple feet around what your goal is. In the grand scheme still decent work being done, but you are really trying to hone in a certain distance/shot. Are you content as long as you feel like you are making a good swing on the ball? Could you start doing more harm (eventually) the longer you try to meet your goal?

To me there are 2 types of drills. Skill assessment and skill development. If you are doing a skill assessment and you are doing poorly then in my opinion you have two options.

 

1. chaulk it up to having a off day which is entirely reasonable if you have a long prior actual history of being proficient that skill. 

 

2. Determine you need to some of corrective action. In this scenario…you need to determine what is causing you to miss by a couple of feet multiple times. Is the setup the same each shot, were the lies similar, was strike location the same, were the shots the same height, etc.  

 

That’s why videoing your swing or practice session is essential. Feel isn’t necessarily real. Ideally you need to know why things didn’t turn out the way you wanted video and launch monitors can help. 
 

Imo..you are better off doing nothing than to start tinkering if you don’t know what is causing your problems. 
 

 

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21 hours ago, WestCoastGolf said:

But shouldn't you try to focus on result AND process, at least sometimes, while running drills? Obviously if you were making a change of some type, you should be more focused on process and not worry so much about the result. But eventually while practicing or running drills you want to see some result, whether that be holing a putt or hitting your spot your putting to.

 

I agree with speed control and tempo. I work those too and also seen a good translation to on course putting. But when I work on 10 footers and in, I also feel like I have good results on the course. I guess I would consider it a confidence thing. Which in part hits your third point. Just raking a ball over and hitting 4 footer after 4 footer won't necessarily make someone a better putter. I agree with that. As to hurting confidence, that plays in to the original question. Is there a point where you end up doing more harm than good?  

I think if you master the process, the results will follow… why were you missing 4 footers? Bad start line? Tempo? Read? 
 

obviously something was off, so I’d still look at process… I think goals should exist to check and make sure you are working on the right things… if you have a goal of sinking putts from 1-6 feet, you need to make sure your putting process is good… if you keep missing 4-5 footers, instead of getting frustrated at the result you should step back and look at why you are missing them and then work on that.

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On 10/20/2021 at 6:57 AM, Myherobobhope said:

I think if you master the process, the results will follow… why were you missing 4 footers? Bad start line? Tempo? Read? 
 

obviously something was off, so I’d still look at process… I think goals should exist to check and make sure you are working on the right things… if you have a goal of sinking putts from 1-6 feet, you need to make sure your putting process is good… if you keep missing 4-5 footers, instead of getting frustrated at the result you should step back and look at why you are missing them and then work on that.

And that makes sense to do. But one would still have to do some more if they wanted to get real good/proficient at this game, no? Don't pros spend time working on their putting from different distances, not just their process of putting (or short game, approach, etc)? If my goal is to get down to scratch, I'm going to have to do a little more than just working on reads, start line, swing, wouldn't I? 

 

I understand their is a LOT to this game, and it can be tricky to find that ideal balance when we aren't being paid to travel and play the game. But I still see some merit in grinding during the practice time as best as possible on the process AND the result. 🤷‍♂️

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4 hours ago, WestCoastGolf said:

And that makes sense to do. But one would still have to do some more if they wanted to get real good/proficient at this game, no? Don't pros spend time working on their putting from different distances, not just their process of putting (or short game, approach, etc)? If my goal is to get down to scratch, I'm going to have to do a little more than just working on reads, start line, swing, wouldn't I? 

 

I understand their is a LOT to this game, and it can be tricky to find that ideal balance when we aren't being paid to travel and play the game. But I still see some merit in grinding during the practice time as best as possible on the process AND the result. 🤷‍♂️

I think this is the million dollar question... I'm not sure if you listen to podcasts, but Chasing Scratch is somewhat great for this... how do you get better when you don't have the time...

 

Ultimately, even the pros only have a finite amount of time to practice... though I do wonder if the old adage on advertising is true here: 50% of what they do is useful, we just don't know what 50%.

 

For amateurs, we only have so much time and so many resources. 

 

In terms of process and result, you are right, we have to look at both, but to a certain extent, the result SHOULD be indicative of a good process... Personally, I find putting practice to be weird, and hard to do well... I mostly practice away from the hole simply because your miss rate outside of 6 feet is about 50%. I'd rather make sure I'm consistently hitting good speed on that length of putt than I would hole 10 of those in a row. I'm not convinced that holing 10 in a row is indicative of good process.

 

I might be wrong! It might be better to hole 10 putts in a row... I think I said this before, but I do ladder drills and tempo drills...

 

Ladder drills: Set up 4 tees 1 foot apart in a straight line,  set up a marker a 5 feet out, 10 feet out, 15 feet out and 20 feet out... Hit 5 putts from 5-10 feet and leave it between the first 2 tees (1 foot), 10-15 feet between the 1st and 3rd tee, and 15-20 feet between the 1st and 4th tee. 

 

Great for speed control!

 

Tempo Control: This is more specific to me, but I want to take the putter back and forward equally... so I'll set up to the ball, and take the putter back to my back big toe, then stroke through to my front toe... I'll hit 3 balls without looking up and see if they are clustered together... if so, my tempo is good!

 

Both have very specific processes and clear results. I know when I'm doing either well... Every few weeks, I do the DECADE putting combine and see what my putting stats are... It's basically pacing off a number of putt lengths and then recording your score (putts from 2 feet to 50 feet)... it shows me my strokes gained and everything else, which allows me to (hopefully) see progress. 

 

I've spent alot of time thinking about this! I think it's what works for me! My putting is vastly better this year, but I've spent a lot of time on the putting green... so who knows if it was simply time spent or if I was working on the right things... I've never spent this much time practicing or practiced so thoroughly, though.

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As of  10/11/2021

9 Callaway Mavrk Sub Zero with Ventus Black 7X

13 Degree Srixon 3 wood Project X Black 6.5

19 Degree Sub70 939 Pro with Proforce V2

4 Utility Sub70 699u 22 degree Proforce V2

5-GW Srixon Zx5 with Project X 6.5

Sub70 286 54

Sub70 JB Low Bounce 58

SeeMore milled Tri-Mallet fit and built at SeeMore 

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