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Putting: Aim your setup or see the line

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rayvil01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rayvil01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2006 at 8:44am

Randini's discussion of good and great putters jogged some brain cells: I read a piece once where Hal Sutton was struggling with hit putting.  He went to see Jackie Burke for a lesson.  He shows up at the putting green and Burke told him to put his clubs away.  They were going to the bar.  They talked about putting for a couple of hours over beers.  First thing out of Burke's mouth: "All truly great putters have one thing in common: They're all convinced that they're great putters." 

This is all debatable, but there are three parts to a putt: Read, Execution, Observation.  The read includes speed and line.  Execution is the act of producing that speed and line. Those two parts we control.  Once it leaves the blade, the green, and all the bumps and lumps that go with it take over.  "Feel" is a big umbrella that covers both of the elements we control; Read and Execution. 

One of the things I notice a number of Tour players doing on the practice green at the local PGA stop is to find a perfectly straight 5 or 6' putt, run a line under a 6" or so high string, and putt that about a dozen times.  I asked Stan Utley what that drill was for.  He said it was to check that the ball is coming off the putter dead straight.   So that on the course, making putts becomes more a matter of read...assuming the execution was good...and the ball didn't hit a spike mark. 

So, here's a very different thought: Feel starts with being able to roll the ball straight.  That's the second thing I think all great putters have in common. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote One Planer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2006 at 10:22am
Originally posted by jbinnion jbinnion wrote:

OnePlaner,

I was just curious.  Just an amateur student of physics here.  I have just been puzzled at why golfers often say that they are aiming at a high point.  I guess it all depends on what you are used to doing, and how you read the greens. 

And, to answer your question, yes speed affects the shape of a putt--the faster the putt, the less time it has to roll downhill (break) before it gets to the cup.  However, the shape of the roll is still parabolic (half of the break before the high point). it is just a flatter parabola.


Well, you're one up on me jb, as I don't have a clue when it comes to physics.  Fortunately -- or unfortunately as the case may be -- physics wasn't a required course at my school.  

But, playing this strictly by "feel", if seems to me that the high point of the line isn't in the middle of a breaking putt.  It is somewhat closer to the hole, where the ball begins to slow down and seek the fall line.  Is there a physics term for a curve in which the slope is greater near the end than near the beginning?  That's the way I see long breaking putts.   the  If that's wrong, then it certainly explains why I miss so many putts. 

Also, I think the parabola idea assumes that the slope is constant between the ball and the hole.  That's rarely the case.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jbinnion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2006 at 11:30am
OnePlaner,

You are exactly right, I was speaking in terms of theory only.  a green would have to be perfectly flat and smooth.   when the hole is above or below the ball's starting position, the parabola is skewed.  If it is an uphill putt, the curve is more pronounced close to the hole, but if the putt is downhill, the putt straightens near the cup.  However, the high point of the roll would stilll be straight uphill from the middle of the centerline. (again, assuming you have to have a green as flat as a billiard table)

And, I also putt mostly by feel...and I miss more than my share.  I just thought folks might improve their putting if they knew what really happens to a ball once it leaves the putter face.  Sorry if I belabored a trivial point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clubcaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2006 at 3:44pm

I think it's time for a visual aid:

This diagram shows the path a ball might take assuming the slope of the green is constant between the ball and the hole.  The ball will always break more at the end of the putt, because it is going slowest at the end of the putt.  The faster you have to start the putt, the more the break will be at the end of the putt.  So on a slower green, or with more slope, the high-point will be closer to the hole.  On a faster green, or with less slope, the high-point will be closer to the mid-point.

What Dave Pelz points out, is that in order to get the ball to roll on a path like on the white dotted line, you actually have to aim the direction of the yellow line, which starts off at the exact same angle as the white dotted line.  So, if you just aim for the high-point of the true ball path, you won't play nearly enough break.

Like I said before though, thinking about it this way just screws me up.  I still like to aim for what I think the high-point is.  Whether I'm wrong about where the high-point actually is, or whether I subconciously putt the ball on a higher line, I don't know, and don't care.

Hope I'm not screwing anybody up with this information.

ClubCaster

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote One Planer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2006 at 8:11pm
Thanks for that, Club.  You certainly have screwed me up.  I might actually make a long putt now and then now that I know how to aim the putter.   In that event, my opponents will start asking for strokes. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gwlee7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2006 at 8:40pm

Here's a good image for everyone to contemplate  :



Edited by gwlee7
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Skully View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skully Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2006 at 10:23pm
 I made absolutely everything I looked at on the front 9 today. My secret?....
    I just picked a spot and didnt care. Amazing how many putts go in when you dont worry about the result.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rayvil01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2006 at 9:28am

Clubcaster, Thanks for the visual.  That's exactly how I aim. 

And, Skuly, I agree completely: Not focusing on result is key.  Unleash the putt...it'll do what it does.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jbinnion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2006 at 3:20pm
OnePlaner,

You can see what I meant in Clubcaster's diagram.  The aim line is about twice as far off the center as the high point.  You can't aim at the high point and get anywhere near it.

Thanks for the diagram, Clubcaster
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Archispecman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2006 at 3:20pm
gwlee7,

You should use that for your avatar!  We could all get the benefit of the positive image when you post!
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