Friday, January 20, 2012

Better Putting

In 2005 I was introduced to a technology called PuttLab. It is an ultrasound device invented by Dr. Christian Marquardt of Germany, that when attached to a putter measures in minute detail all of the pertinent motions of the putter. I was fortunate enough to be part of the team that introduced the technology to the United States, and my association with the company continues to this day. Over the past 6 years I have analyzed in excess of 50,000 measurements. Actually, I quit counting at 50,000 and I have saved and documented every stroke. This observation and research has led me to some conclusions that don’t agree with many of the commonly held beliefs on putting that are published and broadcast every day.

Our first observation from the research was a discovery that should have been obvious from the start. There was no magic method available only to the very best. The averages of the mechanical measurements of the putting strokes of the poorest putters were no different than the averages of the professional data set. Neither was perfect in comparison to many of the rules and concepts commonly offered. Straight, square, online, are examples of terms that we use to market a method or technique, but in reality are mythical goals. Players have tendencies and biases that are the same for the best or the worst. What was different was consistency. THE GREATEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WORST AND THE BEST WAS NOT HOW THEY DID IT, BUT THAT THE BEST DID IT THE SAME WAY EVERYTIME. The best used their tendencies to create a method, while it appears that the poor performers fight their tendencies to achieve a goal. They try something new every time something doesn’t work. A Hall of Fame player once told me he attributed his success to the fact that he never wasted much time looking for a perfect method. He spent all of his time trying to perfect his own. One needs to look no farther than the greats of the game to understand the value of that statement, particularly as it relates to putting styles. Every great player had a style, posture, and technique that was entirely their own.

In order to create a successful strategy and matching technique for putting, you must understand that you are a unique entity. None of us process information in the same manner. We don’t see things the same, nor are we are constructed in the same dimensions. We all have individual preferences, limits and strengths. To attempt to change from what we are, and what we do, for the sake of a forced method described on television or through the media that was developed without any prior knowledge of you as an individual, is more often troubling than helpful. The best approach to creating a successful putting strategy is one that accepts we are all different and has a plan to identify and use those differences as an advantage. It is messy and sometimes complicated, but well worth the effort.

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