Over the past couple of days, we have talked about two basic ways a ball can come off the putter at impact. At this point, I want to make clear this is not about right and wrong, only to share some of what we have seen and learned as we develop the Burnt Edge system and Perspective Putting line of products and putting aids. I also want to stress that I know there might be a common ground between the two.
As I become more experienced as a fitter and instructor, I find my best success comes when I look for the path least resistance. This is something to consider as we consider these two stroke/launch strategies. Both models get the ball rolling in the same amount of time. The 2-degree flies forward and lands, while the shaft lean model compresses and rebounds. The skid to roll ratio remains basically the same for both.It is the compress and rebound launch where we have seen some issues other than when the ball rolls that you don't normally hear about. When I compress a round object into an immovable surface, it brings other forces onto the direction the ball leaves the face. I call this the pinch and I have seen many instances where the ball leaves the pinch a little left or right of the target line. This is not a function of the ball bouncing like you might assume from some marketing material or instructor rhetoric. It leaves the putter in the wrong direction immediately.
We see this often when using PuttLab with a chalk line. All the numbers will add up to perfect direction, yet the ball leaves the putter a little left or right of the line. After much deliberation we have come to realize it is the interaction of ball and turf with the face of the putter tilted toward the turf that can be a cause. Reasons? First the putter bounces off the ball a little in some of the most drastic shaft lean putts. So the putter face is not stable and can move slightly depending on impact point. More so, the ball bounces off both the face and the turf. Any little flaw in the surface can kick the ball slightly in any direction. The mole hill becomes a mountain. You might say, “on an iron shot the ball is compressed into the turf yet flies where the face is pointed at impact.” You would be right, but with a putt and a negative loft situation the loft is not there to relieve the resistance of the turf. Tomorrow-More on the influence of the pinch and something that might not have occurred to you.