I tried this many years ago. I think it was after Johnny Miller won the ATT at Pebble, putting while not looking at the ball. Like many things, it wore off over time and I reverted to old techniques. One thing it did for me was to keep me from “micro-managing” my stroke and thereby rely on muscle memory. Anyone here give it go and stayed with it? Has anyone done any data analysis on its efficacy?
It should work well with short distance, perhaps maybe for the medium distance but could be difficult for lag putt.
It will be hard to keep a mental picture of the terrain and the distance.
I’d say it’ll help those with directional and yips issues.
I am lucky not having the yips just yet. Like throwing a baseball or a basket ball, personally I’d like to see where the target is, at the minimum in the peripheral vision. As I aged, I’m sure the peripheral will go with it as my optometrist warned me.
Many hours spent under the bright sun, quicken the vision deterioration.
I tried this experiment… I practiced it for over a month, both on and off course using my 10’ putting mat at home. It lasted 3 holes in a real round! We all had a huge laugh at the results. I’m not the best putter at all, especially when I don’t go through my routine! Like my partners will say on 2 to 3 footer…pick it up! and you just take a slap towards the hole and you roll it by an edge… just with an ok! Sometimes putting you don’t feel you could drop one in a sewer pipe hole… not looking at the ball… I hit the ground, I hit the bottom of the ball and it jumped… Sewer hole… I could not make it in a crater when it was “for real in one of our matches”…LOL. I will say this… years ago I would bring my uncle out to the course and he was blind, before he went blind he loved the sport and shot in the high 80’s. He required alot of assistance after he lost his sight, but could still routinely score in the low 100’s and couldn’t see anything…
As far as data analysis, google Sasho McKenzie heads-up putting. In a nutshell, his analysis showed that most people did better by looking at the target instead of the ball. There was a slight drop off in hitting the center of the putterface, but that was offset by better speed and direction control.
In my own experience, I’ve been off and on with it for the past three years. I tend to look at the ball on short ones, and the target on medium to long ones. I find that I consistently get the ball to the hole better, rather than leaving it short.
Occasionally, I’ll have a bad miss, like hitting the turf behind the ball or hitting it way out on the toe, and that scares me back into looking at the ball. But then I eventually go back to heads-up.
Ive been attempting this in practice with decent results from midrange. But im not brave enough to take it on the course yet… maybe next season?
Do you all think for certain strokes/people this may be easier than others? Im thinking maybe someone who struggles with face control of stroke depth?
Agree with the finding through data computation. although not confirmed how the data was collected.
By observing the best golfers and by trial and error, the best method wroks for me is still the most used in the competition. Pay attention to how the best golfers putt. They are not just fixed their view on the target, nor were they looking at the golf ball only. It is a combination with the repeated glancing back and forth from the ball down the intended line to the cup and then back from the cup to the ball. But at the moment of taking the putter back, most of them have their eyes on the golf ball. There might be small variation from golfer to golfer , however, essentially, everyone use similar method.
I use it. I struggled with getting far too technical and stuck with my putting, to the point where taking it back got difficult. Once I moved to heads up putting it completely freed me of those demons. It’s also helped significantly with speed control.
I will say that on putts where I can see the hole in my peripheral vision, I’ll look more at the ball. Those putts are less about speed and far more about start line, so I feel more comfortable looking at or near the ball.
I do this sometimes on the practice green before a round. I find, think at least, that it helps me judging the weight of my putts.
I’ve been putting for over a year, maybe two now looking at the hole and not the ball. It helps me tremendously in 10 foot or less puts - especially really close. But…it has also been tremendous for speed control on long lag putts. I’ve got no plans to change back.
I’ve tried long putter, face forward putter, blade, mallet…no matter which I’ve tried, I’m always better looking at the target, not the ball. I’ve gone back to a traditional putter and style now, but still putting while looking at the target. I really helps “remove my brain” from the stroke.
Was gonna mention that. And, Yes, Dr. McKenzie did a reasonably thorough experiment and data analysis. His research paper is fairly technical but the results, imo, are totally legit.
I do use the technique in practice - long, medium and short range putts. Not exclusively, though … what works for me is to alternate that with “traditional” stance.
Head down traditional putting does not mean not “seeing” the hole = you’re supposed to keep a visual image of the hole in the front of your mind as you set up with your eyes over the ball.
I tried it and had mixed results on the practice green so I didn’t trust it for the course. I do think working with it helped me to change my routine where I focus on where I want to get the putt to (this may be a point beyond the hole on an uphill putt) and then make my stroke (looking at the ball) fairly quickly so as to keep that distance in my mind. I feel that’s helped my speed which, to me, is the point of looking at the hole. The ball does tend to go where you focus. One of my weaknesses is focusing back on the hole for pitches instead of my landing spot and then flying the ball to the hole…d’oh!
Great point!! Yeah just like your putt aim spot you should have a chip or putt landing spot as your focus.
Totally effective for lag putting, less so for 6-10 feet, irrelevant when ball and hole are in the field of vision.
Read Instinct Putting–completely convinced me years ago.
When making a change, no matter how small the change is; give it some time to sink in before dismiss it to the waste bin.
Habitual motions is hard to break.
When selecting through many choices for change to the better. Make certain that you do not hang up on technology alone, understanding only those work for you in the long run will benefit your game.
Finally, don’t switch back and forth. I know quite a few golfers will make some changes to their golf game and it seem to work well, a few weeks later I’d see them reverse back to their old ways or changed to yet another.
Find what works for you ( or supposed to work for you and you truly believed it will); Stick with it for minimum or one season before you abandon it. There is no miracle Holy Grill in golf. Just take a look at the best golfers in the world. No one has the exact golf swing nor the exact approach around the greens.
It is whatever works the best for you. To make it work, you’d have to pay the dues of practice and playing. No short cut . Although some of us will arrive a bit sooner than the others.
I think this is really good advice, and it’s something I’ve been extremely guilty of for years. It’s a huge reason I’ve really not improved for a long time.
I recently joined the Phil Kenyon putting academy and have been working hard on my putting. I filmed my stroke and saw I have been badly cutting across the ball (no wonder the line on my ball never runs end over end). I really don’t want to give up heads up putting as it’s freed me up immensely, but some serious work needs to be put in. I’m going to try to practice with both, working on technical stroke and setup looking down, and every certain number of putts I’ll go heads up to see if I’m making gains.