Putting – “The Art and The Science”
Is Putting an “Art or is it Science?” I think it is a little of both. I have always considered myself a pretty decent putting coach as I have spent time with some of the best trying to learn how I can help my students more with such a huge part of the game. As a teacher we have to inspire our students to practice and to be willing to make changes that will show up in their score. Two years ago I had taken my putting instruction as far as it could go until I was introduced to two pieces of technology…..AimPoint Green Reading and The S.A.M. Putt Lab. One for green reading and one for stroke mechanics and feel. I was now armed with a deadly combination that has taken my putting instruction to an entirely new level. I recently hosted and spoke at a PGA teaching seminar with my good friend, John Graham in which we focused on putting. John introduced AimPoint and I revealed some of the studies and findings of our S.A.M. Lab data that we have compiled over the last year. Thanks to my new assistant, Alex van der Linden (aka Poindexter the Golf Geek) for his expertise and helping me crunch the numbers we found some interesting trends and some valuable information that I think has helped us with our teaching. I won’t reveal all of our findings but want to focus on what I think is one of the most important part of being a great putter……TOUCH and FEEL. We know that distance control is important but how do you teach. Just giving your student a series of drills is not the entire answer or it isn’t the one that satisfied me or John Graham.
Speed vs. Acceleration and A Myth Dispelled
One of the most frequent ideas that I hear the average golfer say that they are trying to do with their putting stroke is to ACCELERATE through the ball and follow through. They do this because they have the misconception that they always decelerate which couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of the golfers that we tested overaccelerated which means that their peak velocity happened after impact and peak acceleration happened just prior to impact. This makes it very difficult to control your speed. (see graph below)
What Good Putters Do
We found the opposite when testing PGA tour, LPGA tour, Mini Tour Players and top amateurs. they had constant speed control which included zero acceleration through impact. Good putters had a very flat top to their acceleration graph like the one below. Also I have posted a short video of a recent putting lesson that includes this common misconception as well as a few more helpful nuggets.
RESEARCH TO PROVE MY WAY OF FIXING THE PROBLEM
I believe that I have a way to change this pattern as I have had much success with my students. This way is easy to understand and is teachable through using the SAM Putt Lab to create the proper feel for the stroke. currently, Alex and I are doing a research project to test my theory to see if there is a distinct correlation between the profiles that we have seen and consistent distance control. Before I reveal my idea I would like to gather more data.
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