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Putting - look at the hole


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I was reading one of the magazines in the UK and they had an article in there where they had a group of golfers of varying ability. They were having them putt for a while and recording their accuracy on both line and distance. Then they got them to putt exactly the same, but rather than looking at the ball they looked at the hole. The stats apparently improved across the board. At the time, I kind of dismissed it as being a gimmicky thing, but then playing in my club championship at the weekend, I'd completely shot my bolt for the day and for the last nine holes I gave it a try. I holed two putts of over 30 feet and left another two hanging on the edge of the hole. I very rarely these days hole putts like that. Everything else I left stone dead at the hole side.

 

It's certainly not something that looks normal, but if it works, hey, I'm game. :crazy:

 

Three reasons for my post. One, did anyone else read the article and remember where it was from? Two, if you're struggling with your putting, give this a try. Three, does anyone else do this?

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Yeah, I saw that too. I think it was in GolfDigest.

 

I played 18 using this method (practiced a bit just before the round) but can't say I had less putts than usual. The long putts felt easier to get close though, so the number of 3 putts was less (maybe) but the score was not really affected either up or down.

 

Maybe with some serious practice it would work better, although that could be said for "normal" putting as well...

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I have been putting this way for a long time now before I even read it on Golf Tips magazine. My rational for it is that I can judge the distance better and if my stance and address are correct, the ball path will be true. It works best on putts of longer distances. About 8 feet and over. I still putt with my eyes on the ball on short putts. I guess the logic is the same as when you shoot a basketball. You don't look at the ball. You look at the hoop right? It works real well with distance control.

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I have been putting looking at the hole for over 20 years and yes, it is like shooting a basketball, but I like to think more in line with Hockey. They look at the goal when they are taking a shot not the puck. I too look at the ball about 8 feet and in.

Do you know Johnny Miller won the AT&T Pebble Beach Tourney looking at the hole?

 

Schleeman

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For those of you who look at the hole, what do you do on putts that break a lot?

Do you pick a spot along the line you need to start the putt on and look at that or do you setup to putt it there and then look back at the hole?

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When I did this at the weekend, if a putt was breaking 3 or 4 feet, then I would look at the hole as I figured I would let my subconscious deal with the break, but I had one putt that broke about 15 feet right to left and I had to look at the apex because I couldn't physically keep my shoulders square to the line and look at the hole. Got the putt dead too, which was quite pleasing.

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on big breaking putts, I look at the line but extend it all the way to the hole. I may not be clear with that statement. In other words, if there is say, a 4 foot break, I look at 4 feet to the left or right of the hole depending on the desired allowance.

 

By the way, Schleeman, your comparison to hockey is most appropriate. Didn't get to think of it because it is not a game common to my country.

 

On a sidenote, my friends used to laugh at my putting technique saying that it was so unorthodox. They used to tell me to putt the "right" way so i tried. I could never get my distance control in check. I decided to revert to what was comfortable and now rarely leave myself with a unnecessarily long 2nd putt.

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  • 3 years later...

I'm surprised those of you doing this aren't looking at the hole from close range. I believe this is where the greatest benefit from looking at the hole comes from. I'm a 1 handicap and the biggest problem in my game was not consistently making my 5 foot and in putts, this improved my short putting so much by letting me trust my line there was no way I could go back and that has been two years now. I also make a lot more distance putts too. IMO this combined with left hand low can produce a deadly putting stroke, pretty surprised this isn't talked about more. :partytime2:

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I also putt this way. And to me, it makes a lot of sense, especially with my "let the brain do the complex calculations" mindset.

I don't know about anyone else, but I find that it actually increases my chances on big breaks. I try to visualize the line and then putt along that line. The worst case scenario for me, is that I seem to be closer when I miss.

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[quote name='jb945' post='1933018' date='Sep 4 2009, 05:32 AM']I'm surprised those of you doing this aren't looking at the hole from close range. I believe this is where the greatest benefit from looking at the hole comes from. I'm a 1 handicap and the biggest problem in my game was not consistently making my 5 foot and in putts, this improved my short putting so much by letting me trust my line there was no way I could go back and that has been two years now. I also make a lot more distance putts too. IMO this combined with left hand low can produce a deadly putting stroke, pretty surprised this isn't talked about more. :partytime2:[/quote]

The thing I found this really helped with was pace judgement, which is not really needed with a short putt.

I'm glad you brought this up again though, I had forgotten about it and will have to give it another go.

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I don't do this all the time, but rather either as a practice drill for long putts or when I'm trying to get the feel for the speed of unfamiliar greens. I probably only do it up until about 10 feet or so out, but I do think it works really well for judging the speed. When I do it during play, I'll first read the break to get a spot, and then just line up to the spot and then keep eye on it.

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I saw this on a Shawn Clements video a little over a year ago, and tried it. I has worked very well for me, especially on longer putts. Under 3 feet, I go back to focusing on the ball, but can see the hole out of the corner of my eye. Just looking at the hole on the shorter putts doesn't do as well for me.

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