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Putting Only

This is a page that chronicles Thune's 10 years quest to become a good putter. The major turn towards that end came with the Tiger Woods right hand only drill, and then the discovery of the Horton Smith principles of putting to go with it.   Today, I can say with all honesty, that I am an extremely accomplished putter.

Older articles which appear in order going down certainly get trumped by the newer articles at the top.  That's because the "right hand only" drill is the key to becoming a good putter.

Thune Finds The Putting Secret
(After 9 long years.) 

There is a secret to putting and I will keep it as simple as possible.  First, one must understand that virtually all good putters use the newer "release" stroke where there is flexibility in the left wrist.  You cannot release a putter, if you do not release it, and that means the wrists must have flexibility and swing the putter. To do this and make it go straight you must be aware of the following things.

1.  You must establish an exact pivot point in your left wrist in the crease just above
      your left hand.  This is the crease at the bottom of and on the inside of your left
      forearm

2.  Your left wrist cannot rotate, or move laterally relative to a spot on your forearm just
      below your left elbow.  You must create a perfect hinge with no unwanted left wrist
      lateral slide relative to your upper left forearm.

3. You must relax the outside of your left wrist and allow it to stretch going back in
    order to eliminate this left wrist lateral movement (relative to the upper left forearm)
    during the swinging action.

4.  In a swinging putting stroke, you must understand that everything below the pivot
     point moves further and in an ever increasing lateral amount as you move
     downward. The bottom of your right hand travels the furthest laterally going back
     and then again going forward.

5.  You must set your right wrist while dragging the left hand along with it and allowing
     the outer part of your "relaxed" left wrist to stretch
thus stopping any lateral
     movement of the left wrist relative to the upper left forearm.  This keeps the pivot
     point in a very very accurate and repeatable position much like a very steady hinge
     relative to the rest of your left forearm.

6.  You must stroke forward understanding that the lower part of your right hand will
     travel much further laterally than everything above it.  This again keeps the pivot
     point (left wrist) from sliding laterally relative to your upper left forearm. You must
     keep that pivot point very steady relative to your upper left forearm and without any
     lateral slide taking place.

7.  You must understand that essentially the right hand must move properly in a lateral
      manner as you set that right wrist, to prevent any "stack up" that makes that left
      wrist slide laterally relative to the upper left forearm. Nicklaus used a pumping right
      arm while Utley suggests flexibility in the right elbow.  You must make the left wrist
      a perfect hinge which does not contain any lateral slide relative to the upper left
      forearm.  A "relaxed" outer left wrist which stretches is required to make this
      happen Dragging the left hand back around the pivot point (by allowing the outer
    
 left wrist to stretch), with right hand/wrist set, is a very good way to do this.

The errors occur when that left wrist slides laterally relative to the upper forearm.  This is where rotation happens and the putter gets out of line with the target. This is not the lateral left wrist movement of the stroke itself. This is unwanted lateral movement of the left wrist in the swinging action component only, relative to the rest of the left arm.  This lateral movement of the left wrist is relatively hard to eliminate until you get the hand of it. Then limit that swinging to a minimum just as Tiger does, and you can't miss !!!!   The hinge is so perfect at all times that the putts go straight as a string as you use the left hand as a guide like all good putters do.

Remember above all. You must learn to keep that hinge point at the inside  bottom of the left wrist in a steady position relative to the rest of the left arm as you swing the putter.  Improper hand action causes this pivot point to dance all over the place laterally relative to the rest of the left arm and this is where all the inconsistency come from, mainly from additional twisting of the left wrist that happens as a result of this movement !!!!!!

These touring pros are so accurate because they create this accuracy.  This is how they do it.   I'm now for the first time ever making at least 9 out of 10 from 5 to 6 feet in practice at all times.  This is how I do it.

You've got to keep that left wrist from "dancing" as it swings.  Just move it a few times by itself by flexing your left wrist back and forth alone and watch it dance laterally relative to the rest of that left forearm.  That's the problem which you must eliminate in order to create the accuracy that is needed for straight putting (starting the ball on the intended line) !

Why Tiger Woods "Stands Tall" When He Putts.

Having adopted Tigers' right-hand-only drill, I have always thought that I'm not really putting like Tiger until I find myself with the same problems Tiger faces.  And Tiger insists that he has to constantly remind himself to "stand tall" when putting.  I had no need to do this.  Then it hit me yesterday, like a freight train, why Tiger stands tall.  And on this point, I am now quite certain why it's required.

It turns out that the great Horton Smith revealed his secrets of putting before he passed away.  Horton, a great putter in his own right, and another strong advocate of the right-hand-only drill, insisted that one of his two most important "keys" in putting was to turn his wrists straight down.  Way down !  This, according to Horton, makes any inherent wrist flex emulate a non-rotating flap, exactly like a mud flap swings.  And it does !  So the putts go much straighter when you are keeping the putter handle "flat", because there is little to no wrist/arm rotation when the wrists are turned down. There is only a straight "back and forth" swinging movement like a mud flap swinging in the breeze.   But the problem is,  you look like a klutz when you do this.   It just can't be.  Nobody putts while looking  this way.  So there I am,  standing on the practice putting green with my wrists turned way down, and knowing that this basic concept is absolute dynamite,  but looking like a complete klutz in my setup.  And it suddenly hit me !!!    The thought was, "Just stand up tall like Tiger Woods does you dummy", and "pull it out".  And suddenly with just this one little adjustment alone,  I looked perfectly normal, but with my wrists still turned completely down.

Tiger Woods.... "It frees up my arms to swing better".    BINGO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then I set an all-time personal best of 37 putts in a row with the right-hand-only, from four feet out !!!

 

Putting Continued - As I Zero In....

Geoff Mangum is perhaps the world's leading authority on putting.  It is his life's passion, and he runs the world's largest website and forum (blog) on this subject called "Geoff Mangum's Putting Zone".  Interestingly, we both independently came up with exactly the same solution.   Keep the putter handle flat !  That's the secret......

 

Then if this is true (keeping the putter hand flat), the position of the ball is totally uncritical,  for the most part.  Even Tiger states that he frequently gets too far behind the ball and has to move back "into" it.  It turns out that the absolute worst spot is right at the bottom of the stroke.  That's because this is the most unstable wrist position during the stroke.  Too much is going on in your joints right in that spot.  As one releases on through the bottom of the stroke,  the hands and wrists come back into a much more stable position when you are keeping that flat spot on the handle perfectly flat.  Note Geoff's remark about addressing and hitting the ball right at the bottom.  "This is not good", says Jeff without explaining more about this.   If you get good at the right hand only drill, after a while you will see that he is exactly right about this however.  It's just much easier to release on past the bottom in order to hit the putts straight.   It's that "stability" issue at the bottom that causes this. Tiger actually releases the putter past his hands, as do I.  Actually Geoff does too, even though you don't see it here.  That is covered in another of his videos.

Think not, see this (Both videos are Geoff himself.) ........

 
Geoff's use of the word "flat" in this particular video refers to the putter head, not the grip.
This is not the main issue we are discussing here.  He unfortunately uses of the same
 word,"flat" for a totally different meaning in this particular ball position demonstration.
 The fact that you keep the grip flat is why the ball position is not critical (as demonstrated here)
and that is because there is no timing in this method.  That's why it works and repeats.

Keeping the flat part of the putter grip perfectly flat is not easy to do.  Don't be fooled.  Geoff has admitted to having hit many millions of putts.  The right hand only drill is the shortcut to not having to do that.  That's why tiger practices it so much.  To help you out,  the secret is to very fluidly "release" on through the bottom of the stroke (as Geoff shows you in the video) and on "up" while keeping that handle very flat.  The front side of the putter (ball side) must face "up" (skyward) at the end.  Until you just "zing it" through the bottom, it's not going to happen repeatedly.  Tiger actually "hits" it a bit with his right hand, while sending the putter head past his hands a bit to help this out.  So do I.  This is what they are talking about, when an announcer says, "This guy has a great stroke".

The right hand only drill..... Like it or not, it's the only way to get there.  Keeping that handle perfectly flat is hard to do.  Disadvantaging yourself (right hand only drill) will get you to the very precise magnitude of flatness that is required to be a really good putter.  If it wasn't this way, everyone would be a good putter.  Unfortunately very few people are good putters. And they play on the PGA tour !   Every skilled player can get it from tee to green about equally.  Even on tour that's only an average of about 13 greens hit per round.  Frankly, I can do that too. But those guys out there can all putt.   That's why they are there.

How I Turned Myself Into A Good Putter !
(Nothing more needs to be said....)

Putter Grip - Looking Down.

Thune Putting Woes Officially Over !
(And more importantly how I did it.)

Once being the absolute worst short putter at Black Diamond (by far and away), that has all changed.  That lack of ability to make these short putts is why I essentially quite playing golf for the most part. It just wasn't much fun anymore for me, and I have frankly seen much of the same among many to most Black Diamond golfers. Usually they "buzz it off" as a bad read.   But what's to read for a missed straight-in three-footer ?   I'm a realist.  I just couldn't hit the ball straight and where I intended.

Clearly I now consider myself extremely accomplished at making these short putts once again.  Frankly, the first 9+ years of trying to get out of this mess was a total waste of time.  But then I found Tiger's right hand only drill about two months ago. That's the one that he practices with complete fanaticism all the time until he makes 100 in a row.  That changed everything !  Now I find that about every top-rated putting instructor teaches, and has taught, one to use this same technique to develop a reliable putting stroke for many years.  That list of instructor advocates for this technique goes clear back to Horton Smith, a very accomplished putter, putting instructor, and the first winner of the Masters.

What happens is that one cannot make a significant number of putts in a row,  with that right hand only,  from say,  three feet,  without finding and adapting a sound technique to do it.  Then one finds that the only way to do this is to keep the flat spot on the putter grip perfectly flat and on a single plane throughout the entire stroke.  When one does that,  they remove 100 percent of the timing from the putting stroke.  That's because the putter blade is always pointed exactly at the hole.  One further then discovers that releasing the putter and hitting the ball at a point just beyond one's hands in the through stroke makes the task of keeping that flat spot exactly flat at all times much easier, just as Tiger has very publicly stated he does.

Once again Tiger Woods did not miss a single putt under 5 feet during the entire Players Championship.  The winner Henrik Stenson didn't miss any either.  For Woods that was a repeat of the same unbelievable performance of a few weeks back when he won that tournament without a miss all week.  Yet most avid golfers will recall that just 5 years ago, it was a fact that on the PGA tour the average for the entire field on 5 to 6 foot putts was just 50 percent !  So what has changed.  Well it was Butch Harmon and his conversion of Tiger Woods's putting in 2003.  That is when all this happened on a grand scale. Have you noticed that absolutely no one chokes when coming down the stretch for a win anymore on those short putts.  Now you know why !

Now that you know what to look for, watch the pro's on TV.  Jim Furyk with that left hand low and two thumbs on top is the perfect example.  He keeps that flat spot on the handle so flat it's unbelievable. It's looks like it's riding perfectly flat on a single plane sheet of glass. Most average golfer's unknowingly hit what amounts in tennis to a "top spin" forehand on every putt.  That's why they putt so poorly. Switching gears by 90 degrees on the putter handle, you will also be keeping that leading edge of the putter handle "square" and unrotating and/or unrotated throughout the entire stroke.  For many it will now feel for the first time ever like you are hitting the putt "sideways" because all rotation is now (and probably again for the first time) removed.   The ability to do this is what you develop with the right hand only drill.  And before long, on those short putts, you're going to be just like Tiger Woods....   Bulletproof !


* I think I'm discovering why Tiger allows the putter to pass his hands, &
  this is something I have found to work too. More on that when I'm sure.

If you want to insist on the "old school" technique of putting with a stiff left wrist, well then just go ahead and continue to putt like a chump for the rest of your life.  That's what it really gets down to.  The right hand only drill will train you to not have to do this anymore.  While most the pro's appear to have a stiff left wrist, they have refined this move to what for the most part is not visible on TV.  But it is clearly documented in web-based articles by top instructors that they are really "releasing" the putter to a pivot. The much talked about pro "release" that  literally all of the pros are now using allows you  to keep the putter handle much flatter on a single plane.  That's what it does ! It just  "pivots" over a much shorter distance than when "carried" quite a distance with the old traditional  "hold on" stroke.  The margin for error (handle's twist off of plane) is reduced significantly.  And with the blade going slightly past the hands before impact with the ball (and you also have kept the putter head accelerating down the line with that flat spot on the putter handle remaining perfectly flat), this causes the blade to straighten up even more and on a significant basis.  These things allow that leading edge of the putter to "stay" perfectly square rather than rotate left (as almost every handicap player does).  This "past the hands" impact point is where you should get that very precious "I'm hitting it "sideways with the putter handle" feeling.  But that's only because there is absolutely no rotation of the putter handle ANYMORE in your stroke !!!!  It's no longer a slap shot, or a like tennis's topspin forehand, even though you don't feel this !!!    It's a non-rotating "center punch" with speed and true end-over end" role !!!  And when you get good on the right hand drill, the reason for the use of these same moves will become intuitively obvious.

I now routinely make 7 out of 7 from four feet with the right hand only.  Most of those go in the center of the hole, especially if I'm letting the putter pass my hands a tiny bit just before impact and keeping it moving, exactly as Tiger does.  It's 7 out of 7 balls because that fills up the cup !!!

If you practice this for several weeks like I did, you are going to blow your friends away on the putting greens.  That comes with an iron-clad guarantee.  So don't forget to tell them what they are missing by not coming to this website (If that's the case).  This is the most dynamite article ever published on this website, and is a result of about 5000 hours on a practice putting green and well over a half a million plus practice putts I'm sure.  Just like I did a few years back with my full swing, I wanted to find a putting stroke that carries from the practice area to the golf course, too.  That's what I did here.   Now it's on to chipping where "vision of the shot" is most everything !   I already know that much......

At some point I am going to tell you in a series of articles why Nicklaus and Arnie before him both told you that the first six inches of the takeaway on the full swing is "everything".  It may have taken me many hours on the range to discover why,  but this IS the secret of carrying a range game to the golf course.  It's not as simple as it sounds !!!!!!

 

Why You Can't Peek At A Putt !
(There's a seriously important reason.)

The very first logical explanation I have ever found on this subject.  It is absolutely critical that the angle of one's neck (going out) stay aligned with, and behind, the putter face (as it lies in the address position) throughout the stroke and until the finish. When you change that angle (to peek at a putt) the shoulders instantaneously come around rather than continue on upwards and the putter face then gets instantly misaligned.  Try it....   you'll see. The shoulders just go right along with that "damned" neck (to the left) as you "swing" your eyes to see the putt.  Then just keep that flat spot of the putter handle from turning even one teeny bit through the finish as you go "under" with the putter handle.  Keep that flat spot "Flat" on one plane !  And do not "hold on" as you start foreword.  Release and swing right from the start. A very light grip helps with this swinging action as you use your shoulders only with this stroke.  Do not be too quick at the start forward and the putter face will stay square to the line throughout the stroke  !!!!   And let your arms hang (fully out).

Tiger even turns his head right, thus his eyes, (like a hub cap turns) away from the target to further assure that he holds that neck angle perfectly.   "Out of sight, out of mind".  The golf channel video of this is down right now.

KEEP THAT FLAT SPOT ON THE HANDLE....  FLAT (no rotation) !!!!!

It's all about plane (that flat spot, with no rotation of the putter's handle), and that's how you keep it there as you swing "up" and through the ball with the putter face remaining perfectly aligned to the hole (target).

They did it then, and they still do it now !

"The basic point of all putting fundamentals is squareness. I call it the "box" principle. It means simply that the feet, hips, shoulders and hands must all be square to the putting line. The key is the hand position: the back of the left hand and the palm of the right must always face directly toward the hole. The principle holds true at every stage of the putting stroke. You can achieve the square feeling of the left hand leading the backstroke  and the right hand hitting squarely at and through impact  only when you have mastered the box principle".......

--- HORTON SMITH, Detroit Golf Club

Picacho Hills Golfer Records 8 Birdies
After Starting "Tiger's" One Hand Drill

Since I have shared my findings with several of the "young guns" over at Picacho Hills, one in particular had a personal best of 8 birdies in a single round that he had just completed when I arrived on site yesterday.  Joe attributes this to the one-hand (or right hand) putting drill which several of these young players have adopted.  Not only that, but he also won his PGA card (card carrying PGA member-pro) qualifying tournament over at the NMSU course last week, again crediting much of this to the new stroke which this drill creates.

Three of these young men, who all work at the club, graduate from NMSU this spring not only with a full-blown BA degree,  but a with  a "Class A" PGA (Professional Golfer) card
too !!!!!!!   Now there's a hell of a program.

They have found, as I have found, that the improved role and straightness of the ball right off of the putter face is just to good for this to not be the answer in putting.

I have always said, when asked, is that my putting problems have been a lack of straightness right off of the putter face.  Many people commented that my putting was not that bad.  But it just was not like it used to be when I was younger, and I knew that.  I once was a scratch golfer, and that was gone (big time).  But it was because of the putter !

This solves that problem.  That right hand must learn to properly go "under" rather than around, and stay square longer, in order to master this "right hand (only) drill".  And that then carries to the golf course. It improves one's putting dramatically when that left hand is put back on the club.

In order to get good with the right hand alone, one must "release" the putter head through the ball, and finish the follow-through of the stroke with that right hand almost facing the sky.  That means that the right hand never rotates to the left ***(see below) as almost everyone does !  It must go under, rather than around and pass the left hand just ever so slightly. This is why the roll, and straightness right off of the putter face, gets so much better.  When you get it right, the difference you will see is dramatic !!!!!

That's why the Tiger Man is so good.

***This is not to be confused with the closing of the putter face caused by the shoulder action alone as a result of, and seen in, "arc" putting.  What we are talking about here is the independent rotation of the arms and hands only.  That is why the word "almost" is highlighted in red just above.  "Arc" putters will still see the putter face close, but as a result of shoulder action alone on a tilted plane.  There is a big difference between the two.

One other tip. Keep that stroke short and accelerate.  It is hard to master the right hand drill with a long stroke. Usually you will release too early.  And it is hard to learn to go under with that right hand.  You must stop that right hand rotation and finish with the right hand almost "facing up to the sky" !!!!!!   Dave Pelz advocated this years ago, and with much emphasis and detail.  He devoted a whole chapter to it in his book.  But this is why his system never worked for most people.  He was right,  but most people just never got there all the way with this. They gave up way to soon. The secret is that the right hand drill (using the right hand only) forces you into this proper action, or else you just cannot get good at making putts with that right hand only on the putter.

Tiger Does It Again !

In what might have been his greatest putting exhibition ever, Tiger returned with a victory on Sunday. In the 72 holes for the week, he did not miss a putt from inside of six feet, or roughly 57 out of 57, and did not miss a putt under 10 feet on Sunday.   Add to that the three additional  "snakes" that he made, and it was nothing short of amazing.

His method for putting is clearly revealed on the Internet and detailed below in an article that I just created.  The key is to master his right hand drill.  But remember, you must load something in order to unload a "release" through impact.  If your right hand returns to the impact position unloaded, it yips and breaks down the left wrist too early.  Tiger does this "loading" by a slight cupping of his right wrist going back, and then he "brings it" going forward with a right hand hit past the left wrist and through impact.  The great Horton Smith did the same thing but with a "hooding" of the club going back, and then he "brought it" with an clockwise rotation (rotational undoing) through impact.  You must start this action just as you start forward in the stroke. Smith's action, which seems complicated, was not so dumb (I found out), because it brings the right hand in the direction it needs to go. That would be under,  finishing with the right hand almost facing the sky.

It's all about releasing the clubface squarely to the line, and through the ball while passing the left wrist slightly.  And the better end-over-end roll you get from this technique is beyond description.  And they just come off the club face straighter !

As for myself.  After a successful session with the right hand only, short two-handed putts are automatic.  Then try this same technique with left hand low. That too is amazing.

But remember... You've got to get good with that right hand only, first !!!!!

Your Private and Exclusive Club At $70 Grand A Pop
and another $15,000 Grand A Year...
( I sure am glad to be in at $1500 & $3900 a year, none of this crap, and
no outrageous gate fees to boot. )

"Invitational Memberships"
"As I mentioned in last month’s communication, we have been working on the revamping of our Invitational (non-proprietary) Memberships and I have attached detailed descriptions of each category to include initiation fees, dues, restrictions, etc."

--- Sincerely;  Michael Moore,  Troon Golf Club Manager, Black Diamond Ranch

Opinion - Now just why in the hell would anyone in their right mind move to Black Diamond when they can have all the glory, exposure,  and use of BD's claim to fame for a fraction of the price. ?   It just doesn't get any more stupid than this, and hurtful to the resale value of property for the current residents and property owners ! 

It's The Right Hand...  Stupid !!!!
How  - Woods, Crenshaw, Faxon, Perry (recently), became such good putters.
You can too.  The cat is out of the bag !

It makes no difference if you are Tiger Woods or Joe Schmo.  In putting, it's the right hand... stupid.  It turns out that we were all taught to use a stiff left wrist that does not break down to virtually lock out that balky right hand when putting.  That hand just wants to kick in at the wrong time, roll to the left, not repeat itself, mini-yip,  and just reek general havoc.

So what sets Tiger Woods, Ben Crenshaw, Brad Faxon, Kenny Perry (more recently), and now just about the whole PGA tour apart from the rest of us.  They trained their right hand... stupid !!!!   That should be a no brainer.  But it isn't.

Since 2003, Tiger Woods has used his right hand drill with complete fanaticism.  He putts a revolving alternate rotation of 12 putts (right hand only) and then 6 putts (two hand) until he makes 100 in a row from about  three feet.  He does this at every tournament. With any single miss, he starts over.  He can be seen on television quite often doing this.  In one run (in an article that  I found), Tiger claims only 5 misses from inside 3 feet in 4000 putts !!!

It turns out that almost every single top ranked teacher of PGA players now includes this technique in putting.  This is why you never here any pro player explain "the release".  It's just to complicated for the average player.  The secret is that if you train that right hand, there is no need for the left hand.  And if there is no need for the left hand, then you do not have to keep it stiff.  Instead, the left hand just acts as a guide only as you allow that right hand to release right past it and down the line at the hole.  No fear!!!  That right hand knows what to do.  That's because you trained it !!!!!    It actually hits the ball, just as Tiger has often said he does.   Forget about that forbidden "right hand hit" you hear about.   TRAIN !

And the roll. WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW.  The ball just explodes off the clubface as straight as a string and with that  end-or-end "pro" roll !!!    And it dives into the hole, just like that seen on TV, if it gets even a tiny piece of the hole.  It's not sharply cut cups that's causing this. It's speed and roll. The "old wives' tale" about slow putts falling in more often is a complete myth.  Did you ever think that maybe more ball's might fall out of the hole than fall in,  due to the bumps around the hole and a tendency for the cup to sometimes be mounded.  That doesn't happen when you get your speed up, and your ball going end-over-end with that nice pro like roll.

Tiger Woods had a detailed video showing and explaining all of this on YouTube some time back, and it has now been mysteriously removed.  I wonder why !  The golf channel owns a similar video with Tiger and Butch explaining the same thing in much less detail which is still posted.  It is not anywhere near as good however.

Virtually all the top teachers are teaching the same technique.  That's because it works !!!!!

As for me, it came as a complete fluke.  While reminiscing about that Tiger Woods video that has been taken down, I decided to try it in practice.  On about the 10th putt, with my right hand only on the putter,  the ball just flew off the putter face with that pro roll. And it was as straight as a string coming off of that putter face too.  It was a dramatic difference. That definitely got my attention. Then I noticed that the ball just dove into the hole when it was on the edges of the cup.  I was ecstatic to say the least.  Then I went to the web for about six hours of Google searching, and I hit the jackpot.  It was very clear that this is what virtually ever good putter is doing, and every good teacher is teaching.  Just train that right hand to release past impact and power that ball into the hole.  Just blow it in there and be certain that you have no reservation for five or six inches past impact.  It's no wonder Tiger Woods says over and over again, "You have to commit to the line".  Tiger said in that video he cocks the wrist a little going back and hits the putt with his right hand going forward.  He further stated that he wants the right hand to pass the left at impact, and that the left hand is used as a guide only.  Both Butch Harmon and his his new teacher, Hank Haney, confirm this (see related article links below).

It is documented that many of the tour players use the belly putter, long putter, and claw grip, to get the hang of this.  Now I know why Joey Rassett was practicing so much with the long putter when his putting went south.  That was at the recommendation of his old college coach.  He told me to use the right hand only when doing this drill (with the long putter)  but never told me why. So it had no meaning to me,  For many people,  that right  hand has gotten so "yippie"(micro-yips),  that this is the only way to retrain it and get the right feel.  Count Kenny Perry in this group of people who "retrained" himself using the long putter to get the correct release without a mini yip, and Mark O'Meara did the same with the claw/saw grip.   The pro's say the belly putter really releases nicely with this technique.  And remember, when hitting the ball with the right hand only, on the long putter, you can use the left hand to prevent any CCW rotation, thus making that right hand "go under" on the release the way it should.  This is the "feel" you must attain in the standard right hand drill with a conventional putter.

It has taken me about 3 days to start to get good at this, but WOW !!!!!  Try it and you will never go back.   It's the only way.  The better roll is just "too much" to ignore.  But remember, your not there until you can make about 8, or more, out of 10, from 3 to 4 feet, with the right hand only.  Now, you've got 'THE RELEASE" they all talk about.  It's just fabulous to say the least.

Think I'm wrong ?  See these and then decide !  Click on each link.

[Dean Reinmuth]   Watch that first putt get just the edge of the hole and still go down.

[Jim Flick]

[Tiger Woods]   (Not his really good video that has been removed)
                              Woods uses the 12 - 6 rotation (described above) at every tournament.

[Must Read Article]

[Haney - Let The Putter Release Past The Left Hands]

This is how you become a really good putter.......  It Works !                                                   Bob

PS;
I have a bunch more links to various articles on this subject  to put up here in the coming days.

What Tiger, and Phil, and the like, know about putting...
And You Don't.

It may have have taken me 10 years to find it, but I did find it. Crenshaw said he also "waisted' 10 years before actually learning how to putt.  I have always felt that these people are not that exceptionally blessed with physical differences. They are exceptionally blessed with perseverance, however.  They have been willing to take the time and effort to find a way. And there is a way to be a very good putter which does not rely on overt and even unrealistic timing skills.  And what I will show and explain here (below) is 100 percent compatible with what Stan Utley has now taught to over 100 touring pros.  He is the man. Utley stated, and even emphasized, on the golf channel that the number one thing he works on with touring pros that come to him with balky putting is "plane".  "I get them either "onto" or "back onto", plane, said Utley.  "Plane, is what I look for in everyone who comes to me", stated Utley, on that GC appearance which I taped. Said Utley, "Plane is what I look for, teach, and correct".

It came together for me just within the last two months and after about 10 years and at least 200,000 to 300,000 practice putts.  With so many variables, it just is not that easy to find.  The solution started when I worked all of the rotation out of my arms and forearms.  That just had to be it, I thought.  It makes sense.  What I did not realize then, is that I had transferred  (or at least did not eliminate) this balky non-repeatable rotation to my shoulders.  Then while doing my daily 6 mile walk it hit me right out of the blue and like a gift from God above !   I wasn't even thinking about it when my mind went to....  It's the shoulder's stupid....  Unless they track exactly on plane, that non-consistent and unconscious rotation is still there.  Get both of those shoulders exactly on plane, and there will be no inconsistent rotation left in my stroke, now that I have eliminated all rotation and movement from my arms.

The very big muscles of the shoulders alone just working up and down on the same exact slant (plane) will make the required rotation very very repeatable all the time.  The blade will basically have to be square at impact, now, and 15 minutes from now too, at the next green.  There is no timing here !!!!  Well.... except for what I say in the next paragraph anyway.

Now there is one other thing.  Once you get all of the rotation out of your forearms, do not use your arms in any way, and get both of your shoulders repeatedly on plane, the only one way you can miss a short putt is if the putter head lags behind.  While rotation will still be there, it will be 100 percent shoulder rotation, which is very repeatable.  The blade simply cannot close up in time from the rotation caused by the slanted movement of the shoulders up and down if it is late to impact.  Now comes in the famous right hand hit of Tiger Woods.  Hank Haney (Tiger's teacher), says Tiger "hits" the putt a little ahead of his hands at impact.  Bingo....  That solves this problem.  It's nothing more than a frigg'n insurance policy against a lagging putter head.  Then Ian Baker Finch just this week-end mentioned on the TV telecast that one should not worry about a little right hand "yip" at impact if you have it.  This was thought to be a fatal killer in the past.  "Just go with it instead", said Finch, "and amplify that little "yip" into a big "yip" and release on through with the right hand".  Again Bingo.....

Now I had tried this before and it was a complete waste of time.  But now that I am "on Plane" (with my shoulders as discussed below) it is just wonderful.  It's just a little "bump" with the right hand, but it feels so good !  You just know for sure that you are "there" at impact with the squared up putter head.  It's no wonder so many very low to plus handicap and tour players have incorporated just a little right hand "hit" at impact.  After you get on plane, this just "seals the deal" with a little bit of extra insurance against a lagging putter head and a resultant open putter blade.  Before acquiring this "keep it on plane" skill, any right hand hit is completely worthless as a beneficial effort.  That's because unwanted, unconscious, and inconsistent rotation is still there keeping the blade off line at impact.

 

Major Putting Story Coming !!!!

After almost 10 years of trying, I  have finally learned how to putt, and how to bring a practice stroke to the golf course.  Ben Crenshaw claims it took him about 10 years too.  It turns out that there is a way to putt that works.  While fairly simple, it just isn't that intuitively obvious.  Interestingly,  it exactly parallels what Stan Utley has now taught to over 100 touring professionals.  While Utley personally uses an arm stroke, this method is identical for the shoulder putters as well.  Utley in his personal stroke just substitutes his elbows (of all things) for his shoulders.  It really makes little difference.  For those that missed it, Phil Mickelson made 58 out of 59 putts from inside 5 feet last week, to win at Riviera.  Now for the first time, I can see how someone can actually get that good, while under such pressure. There is a way !

In a pro shop only publication last month, Utley outlined his 3 principles.  I was in shock, when I discovered that this was exactly what I had found by myself.   

Utley's Three Principles.
1. You must stay on one plane only. And that plane will be tilted due to the
     putter shaft tilt angle away/off of vertical.

2.  You cannot rotate the putter relative to the path of the putter head on that
     tilted plane.  The putter head must stay perpendicular to the bending path it
     scribes on the one tilted plane that it is following.  So in a very very
     confusing statement,  the putter blade must then actually rotate open and
     closed in order to do that. 
It's just a natural fact of life.
 
     Utley actually talked about this rotation on his one hour appearance on the
     Golf Channel, and this instantly destroyed his credibility to most people. But
     it turns out he was exactly right.  He just didn't explain in detail how to do it.
     If one naturally assumed it was with the forearms, they were 100 percent
     wrong.  He uses the big muscles of his elbows to follow the plane and cause
     the required rotation to remain un-rotated to the putter's path, while
     retaining the integrity of his un-rotated forearms and hands.  This is a whole
     different animal than what one would think on first blush. 
(Bear in mind,
     Utley is an arm putter, not a shoulder putter, thus the use of the elbows. He
     substitutes his elbows for his shoulders, but it is the
exact same principle
     as used in shoulder putting.)

 
     Just look at a full swing. At both 3 & 6 o'clock, the putter has rotated a full 90
     degrees away from the target line. That's the two positions where the club's
     toe should be pointed straight up and the blade is pointed either 90 degrees
     away from your front side or 90 degrees away from your back side.  In both
     cases the blade is perpendicular to the target, not at it. Full rotation has
     happened.
  In putting it is required too, but on a much smaller scale.

3. You must release the putter through the ball to the same "path on it's plane"
     on the follow-through. In other words, you do not go down the line like most
     of us were taught, but rather you must go inside the line, while continuing to
     rotate the putter on closed.  This takes any little micro-yip out of the stroke,
     and the resultant smoothness of this trumps any attempt to square up the
     putter head and change directions to go down the line.  And also, actually
     making everything go down the line is usually a bad guess at best.

On a side note of my own, and because the plane is going to be tilted (because the rules of golf do not allow for a straight up putter shaft) , I must add this. There is a horizontal component to this stroke because of that tilt.  That horizontal component alone requires that the putter moves to the inside on both the backstroke and the through stroke (follow through), and that the putter rotates open and closed a bit in order for it to stay square to the curved path that it theoretically scribes on the surface of that single tilted plane.  That's just some scientific facts of life that happens, like it or not.

What Utley does NOT tell you, unless you want to pony up $500 an hour or more, is how to do this.  Trust me when I say that it is not intuitively obvious. That's why it takes so long to discover this by yourself.  One must remove the rotation in one's hands & forearms (for timing related repeatability), while using other rotation techniques from the "big" muscles in order to keep the putter exactly perpendicular to it's curved path on the single plane as talked about. Those small muscles in the hands and arms just aren't reliable under pressure. While they work well on the instant repetitiveness and low pressure of the practice green, they are just like a dream. They are completely gone when you "wake up" to the golf course five minutes later and with 15+ minutes between episodes.  Finding out about and perfecting these big muscles is an acquired skill.  But it is very learnable !  Unlike what I have said before in other articles, there is little to no timing in this stroke, and that is why it carries to the golf course just like skilled players use in the "modern" era full swing.

That's what I am going to show you how to do, when I get the drawings done.

This will put an end to not knowing why you pushed or pulled a putt. When that happens you will know exactly why it happened, and how to fix it.  There is a trick to getting the ball exactly on line every time. Tiger proves that just about all the time.
                                                                                                                           .... Bob

Why Thune Practices Putting so Much.
Read It And Weep.

It would be reasonable to assume that one could keep a straight-in putt inside of an 8.4 inch range on a 5 foot putt.  The width of 5 golf balls is 8.4 inches (5 times 1.68).  Since the hole is 4.25 inches wide, that is almost twice the width of the assumed target range. And that makes the hole 2.53 balls wide.  Those putts would all fall in.  And then you must add just slightly under 1/2 of a ball on each side, because those putts would fall in too.  Surprisingly it comes out that in 70.6 percent of the selected reasonable target range, the ball should fall in by chance alone.

That's 3.53 balls at 1.68 inches each, or 5.93 inches total.  Then 5.93 Inches divided by 8.4 inches (reasonable target range) equals .706, or roughly just above 70 percent.

So in other words, if you cannot make 70 percent of all straight in putts at all times from about 5 feet, you possess zero putting skill.  And also surprisingly is that not very many people can actually do that !!!  They do not want to admit this to themselves however.  On a good day you might make 8 or 9 (out of 10) of these putts (and brag) and a on a bad day it would be 4 to 6 (out of 10) and bitch.  But the reality is, at a success rate of 7 out of 10 on average, you have absolutely no special putting ability whatsoever.  A beginner can and will do this.  In fact, in most cases, your brain is actually hurting you as you play more golf.

That is why many people can make more putts of this length with their eyes closed, or just "rake" them in with no conscious thought as sports psychologist Bob Rotella advocates.  At least you get yourself  back up to the odds of chance alone.  Touring pros (including Vijay Singh now and Johnny Miller in his day) frequently putt(ed) with their eyes closed on bad putting days just to improve their odds until they could get off the golf course that day and onto the practice putting green.  In Miller's last official tour victory at Pebble Beach, he later admitted to having putted the last six holes with his eyes closed, including the final putt to win.  A friend of mine won the Madison County Championship in Indiana on a day he putted with his eyes closed on all short putts because of a "bad putting day".

Why is this ?  Because you cannot turn yourself into a repetition machine in putting. Many, to most, people try to do this.  When you do this, you will putt worst than chance alone.  The angles, planes, and resultant required timing in putting are more precise than the body can replicate.   Bob Rotella knows this.  And so does every single putter that beats that 7 out of 10 average requirement for the beginning level of actual possessing some putting skill.

And that is where touch comes in.  Touch takes you to where the natural laws of physics dominate the stroke.  The natural laws of physics replicate 100 percent of the time.  You then have to mess them up to miss a putt.  Tiger Woods makes 99.5 percent of these short putts in actual competition.  So does Ben Crenshaw and Stan Utley.  If you actually take the time to read up on how they do this, it is not by rote replication.  It's a well though out process of how to effectively use the natural laws of physics.  You might also be surprised to learn that these people do not follow the "old excepted rules of putting".  That's what sets them apart from everybody else that does.

So when you hear golf announcers/teachers talking about "the release", freeing up the stroke, and not "hanging on", this is what that is all about.

This takes a lot of practice to get the hang of.

How To Make Those Tough Short Putts !
Finally - Something That Works !

In recent times I have finally and very dramatically improved my short putting ( putts under about 7 feet). This came after years of trying things that really didn't work. Hundreds of "sure fixes" just wouldn't carry onto the golf course the next day. Since I've seen so many others with a similar affliction, I decided to write this story. Taken seriously, I am quite certain this will really help, big time, just as it did for me.

This is the simple version of what to do to make those short putts from 7 feet and in on a consistent basis.  Here it is.

1.  Do not "peek" as you stroke the ball and follow-through.

2.  Do not move your eyes or head to watch the follow-through or the ball roll at the
     hole.

3.  Do not move your eyeballs at any time in the stroke, including the backstroke and
     the follow-through.

4.  Do not attempt to watch the backstroke !  It will take care of itself over time.

5.  Pick out a tiny spot on the ground in front of or behind the ball and just stare at it.
     The smaller the better.  I pick one between the ball and putter at address.

6.  Keep that tiny spot clearly focused in your vision until the ball has traveled at least
     three feet.
  You must not lose the continuous, focused, and clear sight of that spot
     even though the ball is long gone.  Just absolutely "marry" to it visually. The more
     the better. It will become your "rock of Gibraltar" of steadiness. You'll see.

7.  Listen for the ball to drop in the hole on short putts. Don't watch it.

8.  Know that the feeling of being completely lost at first is normal, and will eventually
     pass.  It almost feels like you are putting blind by staring at that tiny spot only during
     the whole stroke and even until the ball falls in the hole in some cases .  But
     relax,  help is on the way later.

9.  See the follow-through with your inner peripheral vision only. Do not roll your
     eyeballs one iota to see or watch that follow-through.

10. Bolster up that view of the "spot" sourced  "rock of Gibraltar" by keeping your
      knees and hips very still and free of any rotation (in and out) during the stroke.
      Later, do the same with your chest.

11. Before the stroke. guess where the ball is going by what you see in your inner
       peripheral vision only, and keep your eyes glued to that tiny chosen spot at all
       times during the actual stoke and beyond.

12. Like in No. 11 above, vision the correct line to the hole for the follow-through, in
      your inner peripheral vision only, before you putt. Keep those eyes on the chosen
      tiny spot thought.  And then try  to use that envisioned  line for the path of your
      follow-through when you actually do putt.

13. Do not worry about any mechanics, or anything period, during the stroke except
      watching that tiny spot until the stroke's completion, and try to make the putter go
      down the chosen line while viewable only in your inner peripheral vision. There can
      be no eyeball shift during this whole thing, off of that spot!!!!!  
Like Ray Floyd say's,
      "I am hopefully thinking of nothing when I make the stroke".

      Make a mental note if you actually succeeded in making the follow-through go down
      the intended line before you look up and away from that tiny spot that you chose.
      Then before long you'll know almost immediately, and before you look up, if you
      holed the putt, or not, just from your inner peripheral vision alone of the viewing of
      the actual follow-through path. There will then be no need to chase the ball with
      your eyes or eyeballs anymore. And your brain needs that feedback, good or bad,
      for the future !!!!!  It's not whether or not you made the putt, it's whether or not you
      got the putter on the correct follow-through path !!!!!


14. Watch Tiger Woods on TV and copy his lack of eye movement.  He never ever
       ever ever ever peaks !!!!!  That's why he made 99 out of 100 from 3 feet and in, in
       competition, the last two years.

What happens is the line chosen in your peripheral vision becomes the single, unmoving, and repeatable viewpoint of the exact correct line to the hole. Since absolutely nothing ever moves in your vision field, that line is the true undistorted line to the hole, and your brain further gets instant feedback whether or not you put the putter on that "actual true line" during the stroke. Then by also going brain dead before you putt, psycho-cybernetics (mind controls body) kicks in with practice and feedback, and the stroke becomes automatic just as Bob Rotella, renowned sports psychologist and golf expert, professes.

When you "peek" in any way, the viewpoint changes.  Also all the viewing angles change.  And, the new line to the hole is from the new eye position and field of view, not the original position.  It is totally incorrect to your original set-up position and eyeball look direction. It then also sends a false signal back to your brain that you are "on line". Yes, you are on line to the new field of view, but not the original one where the ball was actually sitting before you shifted your eyesight away !!!!  Since all this happens so fast, you usually miss the putt unless you get lucky and make a bad stroke.  If you are a reasonably good putter, the one thing you won't hit is the hole, because you unknowingly shifted to a new direction !!!!

Yes I used to feel I could just "will" the ball into the hole when I was much younger. I really did not know why, but then I always did just "listen' for the ball to drop. I never peeked, and was quite proud of that, especially on crucial "money" putts. Sometimes it was actually scary how well I could just "will" them in from everywhere at times. Now I know why that happened.

In the last few years my "peeking", unbeknownst to me, was completely out of control. What I then saw was a highly distorted line to the hole due to changing viewpoint and dynamic angle changes as I putted. And I never got any feedback because I could only watch the ball, not the putters follow-through path. Further, the brain just couldn't keep up with all the action. In fact, I now understand why the hole was the one place the ball wouldn't go. I was hitting on a totally untrue line even though it looked correct to me while the feedback to the brain was all phony.

I can now, "will" the ball into the hole once again. You can too ! That's what psycho-cybernetics is all about. And we use it in almost everything we do. But in putting it only works if you use your eyes correctly as described above. Both Gary Player and Lee Trevino have advocated this for years but have never fully explained it.  Some of you may remember when jack Nicklaus was on a two year putting slump at about age 48 and Trevino (then a telecast announcer) had the camera shoot close-ups of Nicklaus's rolling eyeballs as he went through the ball on putts.  Trevino also then gave his blunt "Trevino style" commentary on why Nicklaus missed so many putts, especially to the right.  In a later Golf Digest article it was revealed Nicklaus did not like that revelation and airing his "dirty laundry" on this matter by Trevino on national television.  But that's when he also came out of the putting slump he was in.   So have I, and over the same matter !

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