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.