Sunday, March 31, 2013

Marketing or Function in Putter Design?

Over the past month I have done a few seminars with more coming this month as well. The days are much the same. I start with an explanation of my system, how to determine the type of stroke that best fits your body type and set up. Then how to find the best putter to fit that stroke. Te afternoon is then spent doing private sessions for individuals. I have been doing this for a number of years now and the story has not changed much, if at all. In short 

1. Putter path shape is determined by posture.
2. The best golfers in the world use putting strokes where the face of the putter maintains a consistent position relative to the path. Please note I didn't say square to the path, I said consistent position.
3. In order to maintain this relationship, every stroke has a rotational requirement based on shape of the path. The bigger the arc the more rotation required to be consistent to the path. Smaller would require less.
4. Every putter has a rotational value, based on putter design. TOE HANG IS NOT AN ACCURATE MEASUREMENT OF THIS REQUIREMENT! 
5. Success comes when the putter matches the stroke and the stroke remains consistent.

Basically it is a discussion of identifying the difference between a natural rotation and manipulated rotation. We know from the data, followed now over an extended period of time that manipulated strokes do not work over the long haul.The constant argument of low rotation strokes on upright planes being better or worse than high rotation strokes on flatter planes is silly really.  There have been great examples of each. 

The following is an example of how putter design can cause a problem in your stroke. I have been questioned at every seminar about a new visual scheme from one of the big manufacturers. Quite a number of times these putters have been part of the private fittings. The following is an example of what we are seeing in the measurements.

Based on the data compiled from over 2500 players, the following is an illustration of the average path shape of those players. If you are a Putting Arc user the shape might look familiar. Current marketing terms would describe this as a slight to moderate arc depending on technology. We measure the arc, and for my clients this is a 9 degree arc. The actual number is 8.4. The putter design is from my data on the design best balanced for this shape. Byron Morgan's DH89, and most other Anser styles fit this path shape.

On the top you see an example of a consistent position of putter to path. One that we would see if we built a robot designed to swing the putter on this path. Iron Archie from Putter Arc people is an example.

On the bottom you see an example of the reaction caused by the visual effect of the putter design. After the 5th player in a row did the exact same thing, I felt it was safe to comment. Notice how the putter maintains a consistent relationship to the target line but twists in a clockwise rotation moving forward in relation to the path. The player has to manipulate the putter to maintain this position. So his vision fights is body and the consistency of the stroke suffers. Hot and cold at best. The maker of this putter has some that work better for low rotation strokes but at best, the market for very low rotation is about 18% of all golfers. The customer might think they have such a stroke, but the data is clear that many are in conflict. The perception of their putting stroke is different than the mechanical requirements of their posture. Just another example in my opinion of marketing over function. BTW the complaint is they push the short putts and pull the long ones.