Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Burnt Edges Consulting - Taking on New Clients

Ten years ago, I was part of the team that brought the PuttLab technology to the United States. At that time, I began saving all data accumulated. For the past 5 years I have offered an online consultation based on the data, primarily on the 9 Profiles we discovered. We study how putting mechanics influence each Profile and the importance of the proper putter fit, within each Profile, to maintain consistency.  We believe without these considerations; any putting strategy is doomed to fail. This program is unique as it deals with your personal requirements and tendencies as opposed to a fixed method or “best” way. The consultation is a one-time fee with no time limit. I have clients in their fourth and fifth year of exploration. I also have a number of teaching professionals as clients who work with tour level players. During our time, I document all our work, creating a guideline of our progress. Changes are inevitable, but always more successful when based on accurate information.  The following is a time line of how the program works.

1. We show you how to find the appropriate distance from the ball for you, where your perception of target is most accurate. this is unique to every player.
2. This position, relative to the golf ball, will influence alignment and posture.
3. Your set up will dictate the path shape or stroke plane of your stroke.
4. We will then choose or discover the source and sequence of motion of your stroke. Our goal is to create consistency, not look for perfection. There is no perfect. Only proficiency within the method you use.
5. Then we will match the proper putter design, weight and balance to the stroke you have built. My research shows this to be very important and second only to finding the setup where you see the line of the putt best as keys for your success.
6. Once these decisions are made we can now begin to discuss strategy and how your mechanics influence how you create the appropriate speed and how that will influence how you read greens.
7. From that point forward, the direction we go will be influenced on your decisions as we fine tune the process. Therefore, the agreement is long term. Once you get started questions will present themselves and I will be a source of information to walk you through the process.

One requirement is a camera that can take stills and video, (most any phone) along with a friend or tri-pod to help the process.  

The one time fee for the course is $250.00 payable by credit card, debit card, or PayPal. If you are interested you can reach me directly by the email posted in the contact section.

I have space for 16 new clients. If you are interested I look forward to hearing from you.

The 9 Profiles - Which one are you?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jordan Spieth’s Putting Strategy

I am sure you are like me and watched in amazement as Jordan Spieth finished the British Open. Remarkable is the only word that comes to mind as he found a way to make those critical putts. A week later, I watched him make back to back 50 footers. How does he do it?
If you listen to his interviews he is very forthcoming about some concepts he uses that could provide answers for all of us.

Build a posture and set up that creates a one-way miss. One of the secrets to lower scores is to try and have a swing or stroke that if you miss it is always in a consistent direction. You hear Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo talk about this every weekend. With this in mind, Jordan has said he could eliminate the left miss with his set up. He did not say how specifically, but if you think about it, you can make a pretty good guess. If your feet are parallel to the target line and you bend straight forward from the hips with your left-hand lower than the right, you will find that your shoulders align to the right of your feet. So, if his stroke path is influenced by his shoulder alignment, it would tilt his stroke path to the right. He has talked recently about not trying to be so perfect in his stroke. I think he is allowing the shoulders to close naturally and using this alignment to swing away from a pull. In addition, by tilting the path to the right, the arc better matches the target line with his forward ball position.

This diagram is intended to show Jordan’s set up. Notice the shoulders (red) aligned slightly right of his toe line. In our stroke model, this would move the stroke path (black). Even with this tilt the path matches target line (grey) at the last second, making a miss right more likely than a miss left. It is my opinion, eliminating the fear of a left miss keeps him from steering the putter at impact, allows him to maintain the momentum in his stroke, and gives him an improved feel for speed.

Read Mid and Long-Range Putts in 3 Sections. The second aspect of Jordan’s strategy that I believe to be very important, is his concept of reading a putt in thirds. He comments that it gives him a better sense of speed. This strategy allows you to more easily see the putt in real time. For many of us the idea of the ball losing momentum as we look at the break is foreign. As he looks at each section, he can imagine the ball losing momentum and at the last section he can feel the putt closer to real time. It also gives him a more specific look at the putt. For example, the first third will never break as much as the final third. When we experimented with this concept we found it allows a player to take a linear approach to the first third of the putt and a non-linear approach to the final third.  

Regardless of my theory, when you can combine an enhanced feel for distance, with a no fear release, you can build a very successful strategy for making putts of all lengths.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Linear Non-Linear Part 3

3 reasons you miss a putt.

1. You chose the wrong line.
2. You miss your start line.
3. You roll the ball the wrong distance.

You can do these things singularly or in combination.

If you define target by where you aim the putter. Then the "target" is rarely the hole. Most golfers tend to swing to the target. So if aim and target are two different things then you miss.

For linear players, aim is critical. For non-linear players not so much. 

Give non linear thinkers a putter with no lines and they immediately putt better.

Take away the lines for a linear player and panic sets in. 

Linear players seem to like Aimpoint.
Non-Linear players seem to struggle with the concept.

All of the people I work with come to me to make more putts. 66 with no 3 putts in a one day qualifier doesn't cut it anymore. There is no room for error, and the idea of lag putting is going away. You only have so many chances, so you have to try to make every putt. The discipline required to chose the correct start line and feel the proper speed in combination at the mid range distances, 10-30 feet, is not simple or easy. It is however, very important.

Jordan Spieth is the example of why. He beats people because he makes more mid range putts.

When working with competitive players we have found that a linear view of the task lends itself to different choices than a non-linear view. The goal is to find which is more accurate. 

Finally, while I agree that we are talking about a single line. Th linear player sees it as a straight line away from the hole, the Pelz concept of every putt is a straight putt,  while the non linear player sees it as a curved line to the hole.

Example, If you are a non linear thinker, then the concept of a read verbalized like "two cups out on the right" is tough to process. You are better looking at a spot within 20% of the distance of the putt.

With most golfers I talk to, I hear linear thoughts and non linear thoughts. The question I am trying to answer is, "Would a player be better if he did not mix the message." We have seen enough at this point to think it might be true.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Are you Jack or Arnold, Linear or Non Linear Thoughts Part 2

I have had a number of inquiries about the posts I made on linear or non-linear perception as it pertains to putting. Many of you don't buy into the philosophy, but many of you have asked me to share more. Let me say these are observations based on hundreds of conversations with players of all levels about putting and offered as food for thought only. Everyone is different and you have to embrace and understand your tendencies to be your best.

I don't know the first time I heard linear and non-linear used as terms in putting instruction. I think it was in my early days with Sentient Sports representing Science and Motion. I do know that the first time I heard it, I offered that I was sure that my old boss and mentor Arnold Palmer, was a linear thinker. Mr. Palmer saw most golf shots in a straight line from himself to the target. Even when he was in trouble he would look for a straight line solution to the hole, before he would ever consider curving the ball. In putting he would only move the line he chose off the hole when absolutely necessary.

Let's compare that to his friend and rival Jack Nicklaus. Like many players of my generation, Mr. Nicklaus' instruction books were the guideline of our golf games. And it is fair to say he was a topic of many a conversation with Mr. Palmer during our Monday practice sessions. Contrary to Mr. Palmer, Mr. Nicklaus would be my best example of a non-linear putting approach. Watch him on YouTube as he reads a putt. His eyes always started at the hole and came back to the ball. He was visualizing the putt going in the hole, then bringing the line back to determine a start point. Couple that with his perfect speed approach, no line on his putter or the golf ball, and I think we have it right.

So are you more like Jack or Arnold? Remember at the end of the day all of us are just looking for a solution. Never be afraid of the information and never assume what someone says is the right way for you. Try and verbalize your approach to the task. Looks for conflicts in your thinking. Fix the conflicts. That is the best way to get better.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Linear or Non Linear Thoughts.

I grew up with the theory that green reading is something that can't be taught. It is something you learn based on experience and preference. I have never doubted that. Other than how to find the fall line on a green, it is all about matching feel to visual.  

I can provide the questions. And then ask more questions until the player finds the answers, but I can't tell you how to think. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just looking to collect a fee.

I repeat. The problem is not making the decision of how a putt will break, it is matching the stroke to the visual.

An easy way to judge how you think is to analyze the decisions you make and your perceptions of the putt. For example…

What is most important, line or speed?

Is the putt a straight putt that falls away from the line?

Or does the ball follow a definite path to the hole. If so, can you always “see” that path?

If you have to have some type of line on the putter or ball or both, is it fair to say you do not have a linear perception of the putt?

What do you consider the target, the hole or your initial start line? This is a good example of how your thinking can get muddled. The hole can only be the target when you think of the putt in its entirety. Otherwise your target must be your start line.  If the target is the hole, then where do you aim? If your target is your initial start line, then how do you judge speed?

Do you tend to over read or under read putts? Does this change based on putt length?

These are just a few of the questions I have used to help clarify a players thinking. I say this because if you think you can use a little of both strategies you are asking for confusion. You have to be as specific as possible.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tiger's Putting Stroke - Another Point of View

There is a Puttlab report floating around the internet of Tiger Wood's putting stroke. It shows Tiger with 7.8 degrees of rotation at the end of his backswing and low 70's degrees per second of rotation at the ball.

Recently a media golf expert made the claim that Tiger has as much as 50% more rotation than the average pro. Since then I have seen these "facts" repeated with great frequency. By other media experts, as well as everyday followers of Tiger and golf forums. I think the opinion is based on this report.

First let's address the backswing rotation issue. What the experts fail to mention is that in the report, Tiger starts with the putter pointed 2.5 degrees right of target on average. So the actual amount of backswing rotation is 5.3 degrees and not 7.8. Puttlab measures where the putter is at any giving time and does not judge on a cumulative basis. So if 7.8 is 50% more than the average, 5.3 is only about 20% more. Assuming the average stat is true.

I have never believed that this measurement was an accurate prediction of what Tiger did in tournament play. More so, it corresponds with his frequent complaint at the time, of not feeling the toe release during the stroke. So by opening the face at address he forced himself to release the toe hard at impact to square the face. Hence, the rotation numbers are greater than a perceived average. This is an educated guess based on a number of other reports of Tiger's I have seen with a more normal aim point and smaller rotation numbers.

One more opinion. Most tour players use a shut to open rotation pattern based the relationship of face to target line. Tiger and some others use a square to path or arc reference. The square to the path players always show more rotation than the square to the target. Regardless of how you might feel about the two schools of thought, comparing rotation numbers between the two theories is the source of a problem. The real question should be, "Does Tiger have more rotation than other square to arc or path players?" The answer is a little but not as much as the media experts would have you think.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Famous Player (Rory) Finds Success.

Last week I wrote about some past ideas concerning Rory McIlroy's putting stroke. After last weekend's success I thought I would  share some assumptions I have on his new success, based on past knowledge and current conversations.

The following is a depiction of Rory's stroke prior to working with his new instructor.

This shows a pattern of attempting to hold the face square to the target line while allowing the putter to swing in a straight to left of the target line arc. This pattern is accomplished by controlling the stroke with a strong lead hand. It is typical of many lead hand low players, for example. Before you assume this was the problem, please know that we have found successful examples of players using all of the 9 Profiles we describe and this one, Profile 6 is no exception. For example, this stroke pattern won 4 majors for the player we are talking about. There is no way of knowing why he lost the feel for this stroke. It could have come from listening people who think they have a better way, or it could have been because he is right handed trying to control the putter with his non-dominant hand. Maybe, he never had a good grasp of the fundamentals of this pattern. Why he lost the feel for his stroke probably doesn't matter. What matters now is how he fixed it.

The first thing I think his new team discovered was that his natural arc and rotational requirement on his forward swing were less than he was using with a toe hang putter.. Basically, he stands closer and more over the ball than required by the original stroke. The new pattern might look something like this.

In this pattern we still see a left bias, but on a more shallow arc. Typically players with this pattern will use putters that balance closer to horizontal. His new putter is closer to face balanced, but not exactly horizontal, somewhere around 25 degrees or so. This would compare to his previous putter that had closer to 45 degrees. Given the increase in potential toe rotation of the old putter this would explain the inconsistency or looseness he felt in his stroke. A lower rotational requirement would ask for a lower rotational value of the putter. It as all about matching feel to actual. The bigger the arc the faster I need the toe to move to feel stable. Conversely, the more shallow the arc, the slower you need to have the toe move to find the same stability in feel.

Based on the interviews and his description of the new pattern, I think the ah-ha moment came when he changed and became less left hand dominant in his stroke. He added a little right hand into his release. He talks of making a grip change in his right hand and you could see a more toe movement through the ball with some of the televised putts. I also know that his new putting coach prefers a more neutral swing through the ball. Using left and right side in sync, rather than having a dominant side. So, if we have guessed correctly the new pattern looks something like this...

From experience I know for most of you would think this pattern looks "best". I will tell you because it requires a match of lead and trail sides it can be difficult to replicate. For example, Profile 3 replicates the most successful putting stroke of all time. My guess is that as Rory continues to integrate his right hand into the stroke, he will experience an occasional left miss, as too much trail hand often leads to a closed face. It comes with trying to release the toe. This might compel him to move his pattern to more inside and down line rather than inside to inside. Regardless, the miss should be less dramatic and he might not be so compelled to fix the miss as he was on his old pattern.

The moral of this story is to find what works best for you! You can't assume because Rory has success with this new pattern that you would by duplicating his method.  Rory's new stroke is more about his tendencies than it is about finding a perfect method.