Putting Quest: My Winter Project

I’m still sidelined with a cartilage tear in my back… and it’s cold, so that doesn’t help anything! I’ve been thinking about putting for awhile now, and it’s definitely something I want to improve on… but I don’t want to just “get better at putting” (that never happens)… I want to hone in on WHY I’m a mediocre putter, what I can do to fix it, and then track where and how I can improve.

So lets start with the data front… I have the S62 and track my putts per round… they are not good. Oddly, it won’t give me my average putts per round, so I went through the rounds and was embarrassed… I’m at about 35 putts per round as a 6 handicap… I’ve had up to 39 putts in a round. Honestly, the only thing driving the number down is probably days when I was missing greens and chipping close… I’ve got the new S10 sensors for my watch, just need to start collecting more data moving forward…

Per another thread, I’m also going to keep track of where my 18 first putts were per round, and the result. I’m hoping the data will show me exactly where I’m bleeding stokes. My initial guess is my longer putts aren’t consistent, which both decreases my make percentage and increases my 3 putts.

Honestly, I’ve never spent much time on the mental side of putting, and it’s been to my detriment… I need to step back and take 10,000 foot view of all aspects of my putting. I just started reading unconscious putting, and it’s already shown me some things I want to change from a macro perspective. Mostly, I want to learn and develop FEEL with my putter, which I think is something I’ve ignored.

Here’s my phase one plan:

  1. Experiment with my grip… It’s discussed in Unconscious Putting, but it’s not something I’ve ever really thought about… I think I have a palm heavy grip and I know I want to change the way I interlock my fingers (move to reverse, to diminish my right hands impact).
  2. Actually get fit for a putter. @SeeMorePutters is a 2.5 hour drive away from me, and I’m planning on heading down there in January and working with Cody. I’m hoping he has some other insights into practice, but if I walk away with a putter that I’m confident in, I’ll be happy.
  3. Develop a better routine for putting on the course. Once again, directly lifted from UP, but I don’t really have a set routine and I don’t focus on my line enough. I’m fairly good at repetitive mechanical motions, so I should be a better putter… I think I’m getting in my own way on the putting green.
  4. Find a better way to practice. I’ve talked about this before, and people have offered some great solutions, but nothing I’ve done consistently… That’s on me, and something I want to improve on… Short term, I want to practice my full putting routine and build the habit.

I’ve got a few more months before I can play golf again consistently (between my back and the weather) but my goal is to bring a better putting game to the course in March.

My goal for March is to average 34 or fewer putts, and accurately track my putting to see where I can improve.

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The only thing I would tell you to keep in mind is how proximity affects putts. If you had 36 putts, but your first putt on every hole was from 50ft, you would be putting better than a tour pro. Basically saying putts per round will fluctuate even if you are rolling it great consistently so don’t get too wrapped up in the variance.

For me I want to:

  • feel deadly inside of 10 ft… total confidence… feel like I am going to make every single one (spoiler, i don’t)
  • lag it inside of 10% of total distance (5 ft proximity from 50 ft is great)

Work in progress for me, but I think ladder drill is some of my best ROI on practice green. I also like the cameron mccormick suggestion where you say “long” “short” or “perfect” after you strike the ball but before you look up

keep us updated

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I picked 34 putts because I want a hard number, and something that is achievable even with a large amount of variance. I think it’s good goal to start with and I’ll build out a data set around it.

If my data shows that 34 putts would be an extraordinary feat putting wise, I will change my expectations. My overall goal for the season is to break par, and unless I’m 18/18 GIR, I will need less than 36 putts to get there.

Once I’ve gotten confidence in my putting, I will spend less time worrying about total putts taken in a round (which will depend on proximity to the hole) and more on what areas I’m leaking strokes from.

My overall goal is to find tangible ways to improve my putting. The short term goal is to have a target, and then figure out why I’m missing where I’m missing. More than anything, I want to collect data and find the items in my golf game that are actionable, and then work to fix them.

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In re: your feeling deadly inside ten feet comment.

Yes. Yes. Yes. I love it. That was my focus this year. Historically, I’ve been a very defensive putter. It’s always resulted in the flat stick being my biggest weakness.

This year I told myself anything inside 15 feet I’m just going to be aggressive. I watched Rickie Fowler of all people and I love the aggressiveness with which he hit putts. He wasn’t afraid of hitting it by 3-4 feet if it gave him a chance at making it. More often than not taking an aggressive stroke - not a HARD stroke - and taking some break out worked out. Obviously not the play for all putts, but pick your spots.

I had easily the best putting season of my life even when struggling over the last 5-6 weeks with my stroke.

Confidence is deadly.

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I wouldn’t dive too deep until you get this information. Could be wasting a lot of time on something that will not make a difference in the end.

And I hope when you say “feel” you mean “speed” Speed is king in putting.

I’m confident I’m not wasting time on my putting, my fairways and GIR are both over 50% and I track better than average in strokes gained pretty much everywhere but putting. I’m also not working on it to the exclusion of other things, just dedicating more focus to it than I have in previous seasons.

As for feel, yes, I equate it to speed control. Consistently hitting the ball one distance. I think there are a number of factors that are hurting me on speed control, so I’m going to tackle them one by one until I have better control.

The overarching goal is to first accurately measure my putting ability, and then try to build routines and practice to actually improve where I’m below average… I’m also hoping to a certain extent that the process of MEASURING will alter the results of my experiment in a good way.

I am not saying you are not on the right path. You know your game better than anyone. I have however seen multiple people waste insane amounts of time practicing putting when in fact they didn’t need to.

Understood… I’m trying to be scientific about it and collect some real data and make sure I am right about my putting needing improvement…

Honestly, the changes I’m making over the offseason (working on grip, new putter, and working on better pre shot routine) might get me to average putting before I even start tracking hard data.

We shall see.

Putting is a weird beast…Good luck and keep us posted.

How is the back doing?

Still hurts… it felt better and I went and played 9… it hurt again afterwards…

I’m trying to just take it easy until I’m confident I won’t re-injure anything… hopefully getting another epidural soon (just for the pain)… and I’ll probably not swing full again until mid January.

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We are here to help you every step of the way. If you get a chance go to our Youtube channel. Great videos there for you to watch. Very informative and will get you started in the right direction.

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I’m really excited to work with Cody and get some data on my stroke… as well as getting a putter fit to my specs with rst to help improve my aim.

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So just a quick update on where I stand:

Back still hurts, got an epidural and will hopefully be able to actually practice putting at home mid winter…

I’ve read Unconscious Putting and am now reading “The Lost Art of Putting”… it’s taking me a little longer to get through it for whatever reason (not sure if it’s just trodding some of the same material or if I just don’t like the way it’s written)… but I’m definitely working on my mindset as a putter… I’m trying to approach it from a growth mentality of “I’m working to improve my putting” vs “I need to stop being bad at putting”. I have plans to build a better read and putt routine once the weather is nicer and I can stand for long periods of time…

I’m still excited about my putter fitting… I bought my wife some jewelry to seal the deal on a new putter (not 100% true, but not UNTRUE). Hopefully, she will come with down to Nashville. I’m very interested in getting on a SAM and just trying some different stuff…

That’s where I am today, will update again after the fitting.

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Excellent! Pulling for you :muscle::crossed_fingers:

I’ve been working on my putting a LOT and while yeah it still needs more work, it has become a reasonably solid part of my game.

A few other things that I’ve gotten value/benefit from and that you may want to look at…

  1. “Make More Putts” by Juan Gutierrez (@JuanTheGolfer in this forum)
  • full of specific drills, practice plans and assessments
  1. AimPoint
  • simple to learn but needs to practiced
  • really, REALLY helped my confidence in the greens
  1. ExPutt putting simulator
  • most expensive option but way, waaaay better vs standard putting mats

Good luck!!

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Keep working on Unconscious Putting! Getting your eyes and mind focused in on the line and speed and creating a crystal clear picture!

Also, more positive self talk. Seriously, start telling yourself you are a great putter. It was the first step I took in driving the ball straighter and it truly works. I just started telling myself I am the straightest driver ever, and it helped. Tell yourself you are a great putter!

I think Dave Stockton said he spent no more than 20 minutes practicing putting, focusing mostly just on his feel. So spending hundreds of hours putting might not always be the best idea!

Getting the perfect flat stick will no doubt help, too. Plus it’s fun to get new stuff custom tailored to you!

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Thanks! Yeah, my basic positive mental plan is to focus on becoming a great putter. Every day is an opportunity to learn, improve and perform.

Any set back is just a lesson I will learn from and will make me a better putter tomorrow.

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No, but 20 minutes on a regular basis will definitely help!

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I would say that if you are a 6 and you are averaging 34 putts per round…that along with putting there are some other things you should think about. You are having about 10 GIR per round and you are not getting up and down enough. Where are you missing your greens? In bunkers? Short siding yourself? Are you being too aggressive on your approach shots? How good is your short game? A 6 should be able to get up and down 50% of the time.
Back in the good old days I was a 6. But I was over 50% up and down. Now at 77 years I maintain a single solely by 60-70% up and down. I only aim over bunkers with short irons and where I know I won’t go long. Hit the ball to the middle most times.
Good luck in your effort and get back on the course soon .

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Thanks!

Plenty of other stuff I’m working on… putting is just the area I’m least confident in, so I’m focused on that… I also have a hurt back and can’t take full swings.

I’m 55 gir last season… 23% short, 4% long… very easy to see quick improvements there.

I’m averaging 35 putts a round… it should be an easy place to pick up at least a stroke, with other gains coming from hitting it on the green more and finding more fairways.

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Just got back from Nashville (technically, I just got back from walking my dog who was stuck in the house all day because I drove to Nashville)… 6 hours in the car, 2 hours inside SeeMore’s facility and $520 later… The TLDR is: If you can find a way to go see Cody at SeeMore, I highly recommend it.

For those of you who want more details… I brought my putter, we hooked it up to the SAM. Cody very politely told me there was no such thing as a bad number… I had bad numbers. Mostly consistency, but pretty much every number could use some improvement (which is always true, it was just more true for me).

He starts by just going over how I’m addressing the ball… Last year I took a putting lesson and moved to a more piston style putting stroke (elbows out and moving the putter like a piston)… it hadn’t helped, but I stuck with it… Cody moved me back into a more regular putting stroke, and helped me better address the ball, including starting my address with my right hand instead of my left hand… This is a simple adjustment that was HUGELY beneficial. Basically we spent 30-45 minutes with him giving me a putting lesson. It was very helpful. We went over address, some drills to get my backswing and follow through more synced up, swing path with the putter… While doing this, he also kept handing me different putters to try.

I’ve only really done one iron fitting, but I’ve hit a lot of balls in front of a lot of reps, and talked golf equipment with a number of golf shop employees. I’ve experienced a variety of knowledge levels and a variety of confidence levels… Cody was one of the best golf guys I’ve ever worked with… Confident in his knowledge to the point he would have me try things he didn’t think would work, just to make sure he had it dialed in… We finally hit 4 putters on the SAM and he gave me the option of 2 putters… Basically the classic SeeMore Mallet with 3 lines for $200 or a fully milled one for $350… We agreed I hit the 2nd one better, so I pulled the trigger… I figure if I keep it in play for 10 years, that’s only $15 a year :slight_smile:

He also showed me a putting practice mat that apparently he designed / invented…

https://store.seemore.com/portable-putting-mat-item-ac9010.html

It’s designed to help you do two things I need to start practicing… taking the club back square and inside and having your follow through match your backswing. IN THE CART.

Add in the $150 fitting fee (Honestly, this was a bargain… best putting lesson I’ve ever had, plus it gives you hard numbers on your putting stats to help you build your own putter if you don’t want a Seemore)… and I’m out the door for $520. Which was less than I was going to spend on an Edel.

@SeeMorePutters Thanks for hosting me! Very enjoyable experience. Cody was fantastic, helpful and friendly… He is obviously knowledgeable and wants to build putters that work for people. He gave me some great drills to really hone in my putting, and I have every confidence the putter I’m getting will help me become a better putter…

Looking forward to doing some drills with it in the future… The mat is definitely worth a look if you want something new in your basement. It works without a ball (or with it) and can be used on the greens or at home… Overall, it’s very simple, but I think it’s an awesome training aid… It’s also built to work with their mirrors if you are into that sort of thing.

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