Putting – “The Art and The Science”


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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 DSC_0314in 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 doDSC_0340 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)

overacceleration - double hump

What Good Putters Do

We found the opposite when testing PGA tour, LPGA tour, Mini DSC_0288Tour 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.will collins acceleration profiles

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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Guru

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6 thoughts on “Putting – “The Art and The Science”

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  1. Very informative video Jason. In my experience, the three things you hit on — putter length, posture and over acceleration (and reasons for it) are definitely common. There is something in this blog for almost everyone. Nice piece of work Jason.

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  2. Yup. Good putters reach peak speed at low point, and if the ball is properly positioned after low point, it can be slightly decelerating at impact. The acceleration profiles are very easy. Training mode with the SAM works well to let students explore on their own (or with guidance).

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  3. Nicely done Jason, but please don’t hold back. Dr. Marquardt has been on this track for quite some time. We’d love to see your research and help to validate your findings. SAM PuttLab is the reference in putting analysis, putt training and putter fitting. We owe it to the game to share our findings with everyone in the industry as putting has long been the “red headed step child” of golf. I look forward to more of your findings.

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