Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Putting Strategies - Artist or Engineer?

Over the course of my career I have encountered thousands of people who play golf on a serious level. Not all of them tour caliber talent, of course, but regardless of skill level, serious none the less. One thing that is apparent immediately is how personalities play a major role in how they all approach the game. How do they choose equipment, what do they look for in a lesson, what appeals to them from an information standpoint, even how do they choose to practice?  I have found this to be especially true in putting. I think there are two basic categories of personalities. You have what I call the Artists. These are players that describe their putting stroke as how it feels. Putter-weight, feel off the face and stroke tempo are typical concerns. Then you have the Engineers. They think in technical terms like launch angles, skid to roll ratios, face to path and path to target. The Engineers want to know what kind of technology you use and what it would tell them. The Artists would rather not use it or know.

Back when I was doing some traveling, introducing PuttLab to golf instructors and players, these categories were obvious from the start. My first professional event was in New York on the Champions Tour. I set up my PuttLab and it was fascinating to watch the separation of the two groups. There were those who couldn’t get enough information and immediately judged their results as good or bad based on numbers they had never seen before. Just as big was the group that cut a wide berth, as if coming within certain distance of the technology was going to influence their skills and results.

When I speak about these concepts I am always asked, “Can you be both?” The answer is, of course, but initially I think it is critically important to understand how you perceive the best way for you and what direction you need to travel to find an optimal state of mind and function. I often joke and say what you really want to be is an architect. Creating art from an engineering standpoint. Or having the ability to see art in the function.

This form of player analysis has served me very well. It helps me ask specific questions rather than make generic statements. I look for conflicts. For example, an Engineer who is tall and stands off the ball, fit to a longer putter, might struggle to find a low rotation pattern along a minimal arc.  So, if he was fit with a high MOI face balanced mallet at 36 inches, 2 degrees flat, he might struggle with a low rotation, minimal arc, pattern he prefers. That is where the Burnt Edge System kicks in. Let’s find out what you need. All the time keeping what you like or prefer in mind as we progress. As people learn more about the Burnt Edge System there are number who want to put everything in absolutes. It doesn’t work that way. The player determines the absolute, not me.

For those of you that follow my work, you know I took a bit of a break over the holidays to decide what direction I wanted to take the concepts we have developed. The decision is made, and my hope is to be more diligent in bringing the concepts to you through this blog. Email anytime and if you are interested in personal help in the process the annual program is still in effect. https://bargolfinstruction.blogspot.com/2017/09/ten-years-ago-i-was-part-of-team-that.html