• Where should my eyes be over the ball when putting?

    Q: Frank writes: "I would like to know how many eyes should I be able to see in the Edge mirror? If I can see 2 eyes, then my head is behind the ball. Is that correct?"

    -Frank

    A: Great to hear from you - terrific question, too.

    There are a couple of things working into your eye position:
    1.  Ideally, you would like your dominate eye over the top of the ball.  If you are right eye dominate, then your left eye would be slightly in front of the ball and out of the mirror.  Conversely, if you are left eye dominate you would see both eyes.  (I am assuming you are right handed :)

    2.  You are correct about seeing 2 eyes and your head being behind the ball.  The main thing is to make sure both eyes are on the line of the putt.  You don't want your eye "twisted" so that one eye is inside the line and the other eye outside the line.  Your perception would be adversely affected.

    The next time you are practicing with the EDGE Mirror, experiment with the ball position.  Move it forward and backward and watch how your eyes see the line.  You will find your best position.

    Let me know if I can help further.

    All the best,

    Sam

  • How do I know which putting stroke is right for me?

    Q: Pete writes: "I hear so many different theory's about putting. Is it a straight stroke or an arc or is it based upon the individual? How do I know which is right for me?"

    A: Pete - Thanks for your question - it is a big one :)

    I don't think there is only one way to putt.  There are very smart and skilled players and teachers who believe in both methods.  Michael Breed believes in "Straight Back and Through" and Stan Utley is a "curve" stroke guy.

    I think the common point is that most people have a natural stroke tendency.  This is how you putt when you're not thinking about it.  If you feel comfortable with your eyes over the ball and seeing the putter square to the line, then your stroke is probably more straight.

    If you see the line better when your eyes are slightly inside the line and it feels natural for the putter to come inside the line back and through, then your stroke is and "on plane" model.

    I also think it is important to note that, regardless of your stroke model, when you are hitting a 6' putt the stroke is relatively straight.  If you have an arc stroke the putter will come inside 1/4" - not much :)

    Each stroke has it's advantages and it's disadvantages and flaw tendencies.

    Putts are made because of confidence.  Choose the method that makes the most sense to you, you like to "see", and the one you make the most short putts with.

    Let me know how your evaluation goes;  I'd like to hear about it.

    All the best,
    Sam

  • I've been taught to accelerate thru the stroke... how does this work with your Speed Board concept?

    Q: Richard writes: "I have purchased several of your products and just ordered the speed board, but the more I think about it and tinker around on the rug at home with the concept of the follow through being the same length as the back swing when putting the more a basic question comes to mind....I am a mid single digit golfer in my 60th year of playing and I have always been taught to accelerate thru the stroke primarily to avoid deceleration at impact which, particularly on many shorter putts and gives the sensation of a "pop" at impact,  and therefore seems preferable. Could you comment on this?"

    A: You are very observant.  I have discussed your question with several of the Tour putting coaches, and they all have similar opinions.

    The goal is to deliver the putter head to the ball with the maximum impact (If the stroke decelerates, max energy is before the ball.  If the stroke is too long past impact, max energy is usually past impact.)

    Theoretically, if the stroke is equal back and through then the max energy will be at impact.

    There is another important influence ... the ball :)  It takes the energy from the stroke.  The teachers will say that the putter delivers the energy to the ball, then it is finished so it slows.

    Given these conditions, the back-swing is about 60% of the stroke, and the follow through is about 40%.

    Does that answer your question ... let me know if I can clarify,

    All the best,

    Sam

    Q: Richard replies: "It's very much appreciated. For purposes of discussion know that I am a student of the swing kind of guy so this whole issue is really interesting. But, I guess I find your response a bit confusing.

    It's clear that a decel is not on anyone's "to do" list :-). And I understand the "theoretically" sentence intellectually but am finding it hard to execute (mainly from having accelerated through the ball for so long) which leads to the "Given these conditions" sentence. I am interpreting this to mean that the putter rather than neither my elongated follow through due to acceleration nor the even back swing and follow through are as good as your last point about 60/40.  I have been playing with this on my carpet for the past half hour (it's dark here now!).

    So, here's what I am finding (and I want to be sure I'm clear about this being what your saying) is that when I really concentrate on a shorter follow through than my back swing without consciously accelerating or decelerating at the ball (i.e. 60/40) the result will be what I am getting which is a "pop" at impact which feels pretty good and seems to keep the ball on line (matching up with your comment that the ball is absorbing the energy from the longer back swing thus helping to create the shorter follow through). Am I correct in my thinking or did I miss something?

    Sorry if this is confusing but I (like most of the rest of the golfing world) want nothing more than to make 2-3 fewer putts per round.

    Thanks again for your reply, sorry for the length of this reply and if I'm on the right track both your products and drills will help with the execution of the above. (Actually they're helping already regardless.)

    A: Richard,
    I think you are on the right path.

    I have had a tendency to decel and extend the putter too far past impact.  When I make a stroke consistent with what I told you, I felt like I was "popping" it, too.  Over time, however, that feeling diminished and I now make a more authoritative stroke.

    I created the Ball of Steel to help me learn to deliver max energy at impact ... now you know why!

    All the best,

    Sam

    Q: Richard replies: "Sam, the speedy reply is much appreciated and the day it is done is duly noted :-) Most importantly I'm glad that I seem to be "getting it". I practiced with this new shorter follow through stroke today and have been amazed, frankly, how well I can keep the ball on line with it along with really feeling a solid contact (I do like the phrase "authoritative stroke" as it is very appropriate and better mimics the experience). I can see how the Ball of Steel could be helpful if I run into difficulties.  So, many thanks for taking the time to engage in the discussion. It is really a treat for a golf "techie" like me to "talk" with someone like you with your contacts and experience. Keep the e-mails, products and videos coming!"

  • Right handed player who is left eye dominant - how do I address the ball?

    Q: Pat writes: "As a right handed player who is left eye dominant, what is the best possible way to address the ball to see the line properly?"

    A: Pat,
    Great question. I have asked several tour putting coaches your question, and their answers are very similar:  The dominant eye is a big influence in ball position.  The ball should be under the dominant eye at address.

    Since you are right handed and left eye dominant (less than 3% of people are) then you will see the line best with your ball position more forward than most tour players you watch.

    Let me know how this "looks" to you :)

    Sam

  • Do you have anything for keeping the head still?

    Q: Trey writes "1.  Quick personal note......I love your stuff!  My Golftec coach and I use a lot of your training aids and it has helped my game.  We are in the process of rebuilding my putting and thanks to some of your different products, it is FINALLY starting to feel good again.  I used to have both my index fingers down the shaft and my stroke was a good arc on the backstroke and then I would cut across the ball and never "release" the putter head.  I got pretty good at it....(25 years of putting, I am 38.) but just like my old golf full swing, it was based on timing and eye hand coordination.  I use the putting rod with the wooden "putting arc" but I am thinking about selling that and getting your dual plane.  I have trouble keeping my eyes over the ball and my shoulders square, but I really want to ingrain the inside to inside putting stroke as an arc and I think having both the plane on the toe and heel of the putter will help ingrain that this winter.  What do you think?

    2.  We have also noticed on film that my head moves quite a bit in the stroke.  Do you have anything for keeping the head still?  I try to putt  with my head against a wall but the putter is not where it needs to be because of the wall and it is akward.  Suggestions?  I have an old microphone boom that has an extended arm that I use in my condo that helps me from rising and losing my spine angle on my backswing. Maybe I could use that somehow??

    3.  I also have a 8 inch plastic piece (diameter of a pen) that I hold in my mouth and practice putting without that moving but have noticed that it works a lot better if I line the plastic piece over the ball with my right eye closed and then try to keep it in that spot when I putt.  Does that mean I am left eye dominant and do you know or think if that will affect anything in putting?

    4.  Sorry for the long message but I am a 4.5 GHIN (down from a 8/9 when I started with Golftec 2.5 years ago!) who avg. 30.6 putts per round so far in 2010.  In 2009 I avg 29.7 putts per round but that was only because I only hit 6 GIR and I would get up and down 40+% of the time so that means quite a few one putts.  This year my ball striking has improved to avg. 9 GIR so that is why my putts are up but lots more 2 putt pars which I will GLADLY sacrifice!  I know that is too much information but wanted you to know what type of golfer I am and how much I practice and want to keep improving!!!  Goal is scratch in the next two years and to someday be a PLUS!!!!"

    A: Trey - Great questions!
    You are on the right track with you putting and your thinking.
    I love how creative and passionate you are!
    I put #'s beside your questions to help me give you specific answers.

    1.  You are absolutely right about the toe and heel practice.  We have good videos on our sight about a practice routine with the rails.
    The mirror is critical in your practice. Use the mirror for feedback on keeping your shoulders square, too.

    2.  My favorite drill for keeping the head still is to use the mirror and hit putts.  Simply keep your eyes on the mirror until the ball is rolling to the cup.  You will probably see both eyes.  Don't look up until you do!
    I like the microphone boom concept :)  Can you adjust it so it rests on the top of your head at address?  That is what a lot of Tour coaches do for their players - they hold a grip on top of their head.

    3.  The dominant eye is a big influence in ball position.  The ball should be under the dominant eye at address.
    Looking through one eye - either one - is easier to see, and using the dominant eye is better

    4.  Great goals!  Practice 2 length putts - 6' and 30'.  Tour players make 85% of 3-5 footers, and 4% of 30 footers.  Lag the long ones close, and make the short ones!

    I look forward to hearing your progress :)

    Sam

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