Monday, August 31, 2009

Some Moe Norman Interviews

Great stuff.


More Rule of 12 Stuff...

I've received some more questions and seen some questions in regards to Brian Manzella's video on the 'Rule of 12.' For those who haven't seen the video, here it is again:

1. What Club Should I use if I do the math and get the number 11?

Here's a look at a chart showing what club you should use depending on the parts of roll there is in the shot:


3-iron......................1 part................9 parts
4-iron......................1 part................8 parts
5-iron......................1 part................7 parts
6-iron......................1 part................6 parts
7-iron......................1 part................5 parts
8-iron......................1 part................4 parts
9-iron......................1 part................3 parts
PW..........................1 part................2 parts
SW..........................1 part................1 part

So, according to the chart the #11 should be a SW. However, if you have a Gap Wedge (like I do), you can use that if you want. I suggest using that if the shot is uphill or if you want to make sure you don't leave yourself short of the cup.

2. I've tried it and I can't get it to work. It goes too far/too short of the cup.

As Brian Manzella mentioned over at his forum, the key is to use the chip shot stroke motion he has described in the video. You want to make sure you have a slight descending stroke that brushes the grass. If you get a lot of shaft lean, hit down on it hard and trap it, you probably won't get the ball up in the air enough so it will land in the 'safe zone.' If you scoop it, you may carry it past the 'safe zone' and the ball will land too soft and won't get that roll.

Also, you may want to have the ball position towards the middle or slightly further up in your stance so you can get the ball to carry properly.

One of the GREAT THINGS I have found about the Rule of 12 is that it's a fantastic way to test out the speed of the greens. Go to the practice green and find a chip shot that is relatively flat. Then 'do the math' and take out the club. If you execute the Rule of 12 properly and the ball comes up way short, then you're likely facing very slow greens. Conversely, if the ball goes way by (provided you executed correctly), then you are playing slick greens. Obviously, it's important to find a relatively flat area.

That's another reason why you may struggle with the Rule of 12. If you're going up a somewhat steep incline, then you may need an extra club. The opposite happens if you are going downhill a bit or playing on very fast greens.

Lastly, make sure you are hitting the 'safe zone.'

5. Is there a quicker way to 'do the math?'


Here goes.

- Find your 'safe zone' and pace it off from the ball.

- Then pace off from the safe zone to the cup (don't go in increments)

- Then take your number of paces from the safe zone to the cup and divide that by the paces you took to determine the carry.

For instance, let's say the carry from the ball to the safe zone is 5 paces. Now instead of pacing from the ball to the cup in increments of 5, just pace off from the safe zone to the cup. Let's say in this instance from the safe zone to the cup is 20 paces.

So take 20/5 = 4.

12-4 = 8 iron.

4. I like to get the ball to carry more, does the Rule of 12 still work here?

Yes, and no.

Yes, in the sense that you find your 'safe zone', and do the math in the same fashion.

No in the sense that you are defeating the purpose of the Rule of 12. The reason the safe zone is just off the green is twofold. For starters, you want to make sure it is on the green so the ball bounces and rolls more consistently than it would landing on the rough, the collar or the fringe.

But the other reason why the safe zone is close is that the closer it is to the golfer, the easier it is for the golfer to hit the safe zone. And if you have the right club and hit the safe zone, then the ball should roll right up to the cup.

Ever hear the old golf saying that 'a bad putt is always better than a good chip.' That's not exactly true, but the same principle applies. The PGA Tour players want to get the ball on the green and rolling quickly because they want the ball to act like a putt rather than act like a pitch or a chip.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Preparing For Tournaments

I've been getting a few e-mails on how to prepare for a club championship, so I wanted to go over my thoughts on the subject and how I am preparing for my club championship which will be in October.

The general consensus with golfers in regards to tournament scores is that they will shoot higher in tournaments than in a normal round of golf, or as one of the more astute golfing minds I ever met once told me 'when the tournament flags go up, so do the scores.' I think it's a good thing to prepare for that to possibly happen, but I don't believe it HAS to be that way. If that was the case, then we would never see the PGA Tour pros or top ranked amateurs shoot course records, break tournament scoring records, etc. So I believe a lot of preparing for a tournament, especially a club championship, is a case of mental management and mental preperation. And again, if you haven't already I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Bee Epstein-Shepherd's 'Mental Management for Great Golf' book. It is far different from any other mental management book out there and I believe it can help any golfer.

I believe there's a big reason why the PGA Tour pros can play tournaments and shoot lower than they can in casual rounds (granted, they are usually going to shoot lower in casual rounds, but there is still a good possibility to turn in a great tournament score). I believe it's because they are very accustomed to playing tournament golf that they almost become callous to situations or conditions that would rattle the normal golfer. That being said, I believe they are extremely PREPARED to play tournament golf. They have made the proper preperations for the course, their equipment and they are mentally prepared for good tournament golf.

I am preparing for my tournament by basing it off of Mark Sweeney's ( top 5 'Stats that Matter the Most' in relation to stroke average.
1. GIR
2. Putts per GIR
3. Double-bogey (or worse) rate
4. Scrambling
5. Go For Its
First, here's some of my course preparation tips:

- Go to Google Earth, find the direction the hole is pointing and then on tournament day find out from which way the direction is blowing so when it is swirling you have a better idea of how to play the shot.

- Ask the pro shop for tournament pin locations. If they are no help, play a round with a willing member who knows the typical tough tourney pin positions.

- Get each tee shot to 'fit your eye.' Hit multiple shots off the tee in the practice rounds until the hole 'fits your eye', then make note of where your target was and what type of shot you were trying to hit.

- Find out the spots on the green you cannot miss towards. Important to note that even if you're not in trouble in these missed spots, it's important to note what areas are tough up and downs from and make sure to avoid those areas.

- Check out the yardage on each hole in the area about where your approach shot will be and see what the distance is playing like from that area. A Bushnell Rangefinder with slope works best, but if you don't have one then I would suggest hitting multiple shots if needed.

The big key IMO is to avoid wasting shots and be prepared for the worst, like getting off to a slow start. Most slow starts in golf consist of the golfer missing greens and not getting up and down. So one of the keys is to not only focus on hitting the greens, especially early on in the round, but also avoiding double bogeys (or worse) so you don't 'lose your round' early on. Avoid double bogeys (or worse) and then when you start to get into a groove later in the round you can possibly make up things with a few birdies.

A lot of this removing double bogeys from your game requires the golfer to assess the situation and put their ego aside. The great Tommy Armour's book 'How to Play Your Best Golf All of the Time' goes over this extensively.

This is part of the issue I'm facing as well. In one of the courses I'm playing, the first hole is 460 yards par-4 with H2O to the right of the green and O.B or a very tough up and down left of the green. The fairway slopes upward and to the right. So the ball doesn't get a lot of roll with your tee shot and the approach leaves you with a lie below your feet. Sometimes I've been able to hit as low as a 6-iron into that green, but I've often had a 3-hybrid into that green. And if the wind is blowing hard enough, I may need a 3-wood into that green. Instead of going for it, I have prepared myself to layup short of the green if the situation calls for it. In my case, I want to be about 85 yards to the pin on a layup so I can hit a full swing SW and get it within 10 feet. Armour would highly recommend this as it takes double bogey pretty much out of the equation and still gives me a chance at par.

But the real big key in my situation, and something that you may run into, is that the very next hole is probably a bogey hole as well as it's a 241 yard par-3 that requires a 3-wood off the tee for myself. It's tough starting the round +2 after two, but getting by without double bogeys and then I can make it up with a few birdies.

I don't like focusing on score and I advise others to stop worrying about it as well. When you start focusing on score that presents a problem because if you start out a little slow, you start to press a bit and then make mistakes. If you wind up starting out playing well, then you start to get ahead of yourself and not focus on the shots at hand and mistakes will be made. Instead, I put my focus on the process and if I execute the process well, the scores will come. What I mean by that is that my focus and goals for my club championship are:

- Hit 27 of 36 greens in regulation
- No 3-putts
- No double bogeys (or worse)

If I do that (and I have the capabilities to do that) then I'm likely to come away shooting a couple of quality scores.

I suggest putting forth some similar goals as well. That will keep your mind away from the score and more on the process.

I would also mentally and physically prepare for the worst. Expect slow play. Expect some bad bounces. Expect bad weather. Expect rain. If you wear a glove, get 2-3 new ones. You never know, one may rip mid-round or you may lose one on the way to the range, etc. You should have an umbrella and a bunch of good towels to clean your clubs, your ball and keep your grips dry. Make sure you have quality soft spikes on. You should have 2 putters, one meant for faster greens and one meant for slower greens. Bring plenty of tees. Make sure to have a few ball markers and bring a lot of golf balls in case the ball goes out of round or scuffs, etc. Whatever you bring in a casual round, multiply it by 2 or 3 in a tournament round so you are prepared.

Lastly, two of my final tips for preparing for a tournament are to play for money and to play a lot of different courses leading up to the tournament.

Playing for money helps add pressure to your casual rounds. You don't have to play for a lot and even if the competitor has a far higher handicap, give him a little more strokes than you usually would. And leading up to the tournament PUTT EVERYTHING OUT, since you will have to in the tournament.

But I'm a bigger believer in playing different courses leading up to the tournament. Mainly because I want to feel comfortable with my mechanics, course management, green reading and mental management. When you're just playing your home course, you become comfortable with the course and you know exactly what to do. This makes it easier to hit great shots. But when you go to a new course, the comfort level isn't there and you don't hit those great shots anymore. This can be eliminated by playing different courses as much as possible. Then when you get into the tournament, you should be much more comfortable with your mechanics, course managment, green reading, etc.


#3 Pressure Point as a Lag Sensor

Jeff Evans, inventor of the Pure Ball Striker ( is once again dropping some TGM knowledge.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Rule of 12

Have problems figuring out what club to use when you nearby the green? Try the Rule of 12 as described by Brian Manzella. I tried it today and it was G-O-L-D.

Check Brian out at


Friday, August 28, 2009

A Look Into the Latest Poll Question

Thanks for voting on my last poll of 'What Manufacturer Do You Like the Most?' Here are the results

Miura - 5 votes (4%)
KZG - 3 votes (2%)
Scratch - 5 votes(4%)
Adams - 7 votes (6%)
Cleveland - 6 votes (5%)
Cobra - 3 votes (2%)
Callaway - 9 votes(7%)
Tour Edge - 2 votes (1%)
Titleist - 20 votes (17%)
Nike - 2 votes (1%)
Mizuno - 23 votes (20%)
Bridgestone - 4 votes (3%)
Ping - 17 votes (14%)
Taylor Made - 9 votes (7%)
The results didn't surprise me too much. The winner, Mizuno, has been beloved for their irons for years. I currently carry the MP-62 irons and I think they are fantastic. But now they have a solid line of wedges and hybrids and actually a very good driver in the MP600

I think where they have really stepped up their game is in the game improvement iron line (the MX series). They've provided higher handicappers with a forgiving club that has a great forged feel to it.

I've usually been a Titleist fan, but I'm not too into their current line of products. The ZM and ZB blades I believe are some of their worst blades in years and I don't really care for the AP line. The next line of irons really needs to step up their technology and shaft availability, particularly offering the rising popularity of the KBS and Nippon shafts. However, I really like the Vokey wedges and if you can bend the Cameron putters, then that's a good deal. The big issue with the Camerons is the price. I do not like their current line of drivers and while I still think the ProV1 is a good ball, I like what Taylor Made, Bridgestone and Callaway are offering in the ball market.

I've got a lot of respect for Karsten Solheim's impact on clubmaking, although I don't care much for Ping clubs. The new i15 driver looks really nice.

I'm a forged blade or player CB type of golfer, so their iron line doesn't appeal to me, but I think the S57 and the new i15 irons are still a real nice line of irons for Ping fans. The Redwood putters are very good, surprised they don't have them in a B60 model. I like their wedge line from a few years ago over this line, but overall Ping is doing a solid job with their product line IMO.

Taylor Made still makes a quality product, especially now since they are merged with Adidas which I think makes the best player golf shoe. The only thing that hurts them is I'm not too nuts about their player irons right now. The R9 is a real nice driver as well as the fairway woods. I actually like their wedges as well. Their woods are what draw the customers as I still see people left and right rave about their 2007 Burner driver. But for me the real winner, besides the Adidas 360 shoes, is the golf ball. And now with the Penta coming out in a few months, they may just become better with the golf ball.

I'm not a big fan of Callaway from years ago when I had a Warbird Driver and 3-wood and after struggling badly to hit the driver, I found that the stock shaft actually measured to be a Ladies Stiff (it was marked X-Stiff). I liked their X-Prototype irons, but the price was way too high. Their GI irons are very popular, but I think golfers would be better off hitting either Adams or Mizuno's GI irons. Oddly, I think the product line that has taken a big dip for them is the woods and they'll need to create something like the R9 or the Nike Str8t Fit in their next line of woods to compete. The Tour-i and Tour-ix golf balls are excellent and even the Warbird golf ball is a good high handicapper golf ball. I was disappointed in their wedges as they are very hard and they scuff up the golf ball quite easily.

Despite not owning any Adams clubs, I'm a big fan of the company. The now retired founder Barry Adams would get some flak for not developing clubs meant more for the low handicapper, but seeing what he turned that company into was a magnificent accomplishment. They have a great line of irons from anywhere to the GI to the player irons. The new Pro Black M irons are superb (stock shaft is KBS Tour shafts).

I've heard nothing but rave reviews about their drivers, particularly the Speedline and the 9015D, both of which you can now get for under $200 (the old Speedline model). In fact, I've been told the renown club fitter, CoolClubs in Arizona, highly recommends the Speedline driver to its customers. Also, I find their Puglielli wedges to be vastly underrated. And don't forget their popular line of hybrids.

I actually voted for Cleveland, even though I only carry their Hi-Bore XLS driver and the old BeCu 588 Lob Wedge. Reason being is that I like their total product line and I find from a total product line, Cleveland is hard to beat.

Both their Hi-Bore XLS and Launcher woods are very good clubs. The Hi-Bore XLS hybrids are superb. They have a nice line of irons from the GI Hi-Bore, to the CB in the CG Red and CG Gold, to the player blades in the CG Tour. They also have the Srixon Z-Star ball and the Never Compromise putters. They also have the Cleveland Classic Putters which are probably the best value for a putter you'll find. And let's not forget what made Cleveland famous, their wedges.

Miura and Scratch make some fabulous irons. Miura's founder also designed Titleists' 600-line blades back a few years ago. I would highly suggest Miura for the low handicapper who wants a blade made more like the blades of old with the sweetspot more towards the heel and the Center of Gravity higher up on the face. The 'Small Blade' model looks as good as it gets.

The Miura blades to get rave reviews for their soft feel, but I found them to be about the same softness as my MP-62 irons. Not that they are not soft, but if you want to get them for feel, you may want to look to Mizuno and save yourself about $500. Miura also makes a nice looking like of wedges, fairway woods, drivers and a putter.

Scratch Golf is a component company that is known mostly for their wedges and their ability to customize their clubs down to the last detail. They now have hybrids, irons and putters. Scratch golf also has the softest forged steel in the industry. I plan in getting new irons in the next 2-3 years and Scratch Golf will be one of the manufacturers that I will consider.

Bridgestone makes a solid product, especially with their J36 irons and their golf ball. Still, their West Coast design Wedges and J36 woods are quality products as well.

KZG is another club component company that I've heard rave reviews from. I would like to try their Zero Offset blade irons. A friend of mine has their progressive offset blades which he loves, but I was not too nutty about their look.

I would rate Cobra higher than the votes that they got. The S9-1 drivers are very good as their Pro CB and Pro MB blades are really, really good. I hit their Baffler hybrids and was dissapointed.

The same goes with Nike. The Str8t Fit woods are very, very good. The VR blades and CB irons are solid as well and they make a solid shoe and a decent golf ball and some very good wedges. Tour Edge has some very expensive drivers and fairway woods. They look nice, but they are usually out of price range.

I think the key for these manufacturers in the future is to keep allowing customization of their clubs. One of the problems the club component companies are having is the major OEM's are selling last year's product lines at very cheap prices. I believe the key going into the future is who will provide customization at a cheaper price, especially with shaft options. And with drivers, the ability to adjust loft and face angle will continue to be a big seller. Perhaps if somebody can come up with something for irons and/or being able to work the lie angle, they may be onto something.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mickey Wright Had Some Competition

One of the greatest swings ever in Mickey Wright vs. Brigitte Varagot.

Here's Mickey's Swing Sequence from the Caddy View.


They Say It's Your Birthday...

I've been congratulated on this glorious day of August 27th as it is my birthday. However, I wanted to thank all of the people I can think of that have helped out with this blog either directly or indirectly.

So, a SPECIAL THANKS goes out to:

Ted Fort (
Lynn Blake (
Jeff Hull (
Dana Dahlquist
Kevin Carter
Greg Brown
John Erickson (
Kevin Shields
Jim Kobylinski
Brian Manzella (
Mike Maves (
David Orr (
pinnacle (poster over at
Mark Sweeney (
John Graham (
Teddy Irons
Nick Clearwater
Jeff Mann (
Ben Doyle (
Bobby Clampett
Brian Gay
Damon Lucas
Geoff Mangum (
Shawn Clement (
Jeff Evans (
Logan Terry
Martin Martinez
Peter Croker (
Paul Smith (
Paul Hart
John Furze (
Taly Williams (
Ed Grabowy (
Matt Grabowy
Kelvin Miyahara (
David Edel (
Dariusz Jedrzejewski (
Rick over at
Trackman Golf
John Riegger
Daniel Carraher
Geoff Jones (aka SliceFixer)
Martin Hall
John Rohan-Weaver
Spencer Huggins
Keith Handler
Michael Jacobs (
Simon Williams (
Chuck Evans (
VJ Trolio (
Phil Thevet
Mike McNary

And to the rest of my followers/readers of my blog and anybody else I may have unfortunately missed.

With that, I leave you with one of my favorite Caddyshack clips.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

AimPoint Golf's Barclay's Picks

Here's Mark Sweeney's ( computerized picks for the Barclay's.

Rank Name Odds
1 Woods, Tiger 13/8
2 Yang, Y.E. 66/1
3 Mahan, Hunter 33/1
4 Johnson, Zach 40/1
5 Allenby, Robert 60/1
6 Couples, Fred 100/1
7 Glover, Lucas 50/1
8 Els, Ernie 33/1
9 Goosen, Retief 40/1
10 Clark, Tim 80/1
11 Stricker, Steve 33/1
12 Perry, Kenny 50/1
13 Rollins, John 100/1
14 Johnson, Dustin 66/1
15 Poulter, Ian 50/1
16 Harrington, Padraig 20/1
17 Austin, Woody 80/1
18 Garcia, Sergio 33/1
19 Toms, David 66/1
20 Singh, Vijay 40/1


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

George Knudson Swing

Here's a great 'flip book' of the late, great George Knudson's swing.

How good is this?


Moe Norman 2000 Clinic Parts 4-6


Moe Norman 2000 Clinic Parts 1-3

As many of you may know, I'm a huge Moe Norman fan. Below are parts 1-3 of a clinic Moe put on in Orlando in 2000. In this video Moe says he is hitting a 7-iron about 140 yards and that gives the concept that he 'didn't hit it long.' Of course this was shot back in 2000 when the ball didn't travel as long as the balls today and he was also 70 years old at the time.

I believe Moe was a 'swinger' as he used horizontal hinge and talks a lot about using centrifigul force and passive hands. So if you're into hitting, make sure you differentiate that Moe's 'swinger' technique may have some components of his swing may not suit you.

I think that there's 2 things that Moe says that are quite brilliant in part 2 of the video series. One is something that applies to all golfers, the other applies to the swinger. See if somebody can guess what I'm thinking.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Science and Motion (SAM) Analyzes Skid-Roll

Fantastic link from Science and Motion into what factors into the skid-roll (

Here's some observations:

The above pic shows a putt with moderate skid and moderate roll. The golfer has O* of shaft lean. The loft on the golfer should be 3.5* because the effective loft is 3.5* and there is 0* of shaft lean.

Effective loft = Loft of Putter Face + Shaft Lean (negative for forward shaft lean, positive for backward shaft lean)

Since the degrees of upward hit is less than the effective loft, that creates more skid and backspin.

This is probably the thing I disagree with Stan Utley the most, who suggests that he average golfer does not play with enough loft on the putter. If the golfer plays with say a 5* loft on their putter and they have neutral shaft lean, then they will have to hit way up on the ball in order to reduce the skid. But what Utley actually does is he has quite a bit of shaft lean on his higher lofted putter and plays the ball further up in his stance. This makes his effective loft LESS than the loft on the putter face, so he doesn't need to hit way up on the ball...but moving the ball forward in his stance allows him to hit further up. One of the issues with moving the ball up forward in your stance is you're likely to miss putts left. It not only causes the golfer to tend to have a left aim bias, but the golfer is likely to start closing the putter face by the time they reach impact as well.

The pic above says the putter has 'added loft.' I would assume that means a backward shaft lean. Here the effective loft is at 5* and the rise angle is very low at 1*. That causes significant skid and backspin. Zach Johnson adds loft to his putter at address and he uses the SeeMore putter which has 3* of loft. My guess is that he probably finds a way to de-loft the putter come impact. Either that or he has a ton of upward hit because Zach is a very good putter and you can't putt well with a ton of skid.

The pic above shows how to do it (in optimal situations). The golfer has an effective loft of 1*, but a rise angle of 4*, that reduces the skid and gets the ball rolling right away. This can become an issue if the greens are slow and you're better off finding a putter with added loft to help get the ball in the air a bit.

I carry two putters, a Yes! putter and a Mizuno Bettinardi. I use the Yes! putter most of the time since the greens I usually play on have decent speed to them (10-12 on the stimpmeter). But on slower greens I use the Bettinardi because it gets the ball up in the air a bit more, but with 'topspin.' If you're on slow greens, you don't just want to add loft to the putter if it creates backspin. You would want a putter with higher loft that can still create some topspin as it skids.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

AimPoint Golf Wyndham Tourney Picks Results

Here's the results of AimPoint Golf's computer generated picks at the Wyndham Resort Championship. Bolded are players that finished in the top 20. AimPoint got 25% of the players in the top 20, including the winner Ryan Moore. Discarding withdrawals, AimPoint got 29.4% of the picks that finished in the top 20. And discarding withdrawals, 15 of its 17 picks made money this weekend.

Rank Name Finish Money
1 Toms, David 24 $40,235
2 Couples, Fred 5 $175,280
3 Glover, Lucas 24 $40,235
4 Clark, Tim WD
5 Senden, John MDF $9,100
6 Van Pelt, Bo 57 $11,492
7 Byrd, Jonathan 24 $40,235
8 McCarron, Scott 17 $68,045
9 Moore, Ryan 1 $936,000
10 Quinney, Jeff 24 $40,235
11 Thatcher, Roland MC $0
12 Molder, Bryce 17 $68,045
13 Klauk, Jeff 32 $25,306
14 Wilson, Mark 44 $14,497
15 Love III, Davis MDF $8,788
16 Flesch, Steve WD
17 Letzig, Michael WD
18 Weekley, Boo 32 $25,306
19 Marino, Steve 10 $130,000
20 Janzen, Lee MC $0


3Jack's Steps to Rejuvenating Your Putting

From an e-mail ( I got the other day:

I'm struggling very badly with my putter and I've never been very good on the greens. I want to finally become a good putter, can you give me some suggestions?
Very good question and one of the things I've realized over the past year is just how important ballstriking is because it often makes a big impact on putting success and putting failure. But that wasn't the question, so I'll address that first...although it's part of the answer.

If you're somewhat close to David Orr in Buies Creek, NC or Geoff Mangum in Greensboro, NC, I would suggest seeing them if you can. They know far more about putting and how to teach than I do, so it's best to take it from the horse's mouth. Orr's Web site is at Mangum's Web site is at If you're over in Europe, I would probably suggest Harold Swash.

If you cannot get to them or cannot afford them, then I have a plan for you.


Get yourself on the SAM Puttlab.

The beauty of the SAM Puttlab is that much like the Trackman Launch Monitor, it provides objective information on your putting stroke. The often fatal flaw of the SAM Puttlab is that golfer's tend to erroneously think it provides all of the answers to their putting woes. In reality, I believe it can provide some crucial answers to your putting problems, but is more likely to provide you pieces to the puzzle that are your putting woes.

Where I usually find the SAM Puttlab to be helpful is telling where your face angle is at address and at impact. And then the type of stroke you use with the flatstick. In my case I had a very arced backstroke, but more of a SBST thrustroke. This means I was mixing up two different styles of putting strokes and one of my issues was that I needed to get the style of my backstroke and thrustroke to match each other. That being said, I believe that this mixing up of styles may have been caused by other factors involved with putting. Here's a link for the SAM Puttlab locations in the US (


After getting on the SAM Puttlab and making some of the proper adjustments with your stroke (if adjustments are needed)

While I have talked about how finding a putter that eliminated my skid-roll greatly helped my putting, I would be far more concerned with finding a putter that aims the putterface square to the target at address first. I firmly believe that most golfer's putting woes start with a poorly aligned putterface at address and that causes compensations in the putting stroke. I made a post about 'fixing aim bias' here (

While fixing the aim of your putter is the most important part of getting a putter IMO, I would also try to find a putter that lowers your skid on putts as well. Usually this can be accomplished by two things:
  • Finding the right loft on the putter
  • Finding the right lie angle on the putter

However, if you want to eliminate skid even further, I would suggest getting one of the putters with the grooves on the face as my putter fitter (The Golf Doctor in Woodstock, GA) did state that they did find that the grooves on the face does help eliminate skid by about 20%. The main putters with grooves on their putter face are Yes!, Taylor Made, Rife, and now Nike with their 'Method' line of putters that are coming out soon.

I did get asked the other day why most of the Tour players do not use putters with the grooves on the face and I think it's mostly due to most Tour players having a good enough putting stroke where they really don't need to worry about skid that much and are more worried about what looks and feels good to them. That being said, at least 3 of the top 6 finishers in the PGA Championship were using grooved face putters (Stenson and Kjeldsen using Yes! putters and Glover using a Nike Method putter).

One of the big issues I was having when I got back into the game was that my putter did not fit me, the skid was off the charts bad and my brain would go haywire in trying to correct the ball going off the putterface in all different directions.


Right after getting the putter for you, I would suggest immediately purchasing both of David Orr's videos, 'Green Reading 101' and 'Green Reading 201' which can be found at

Again, I highly suggest the world immediately

because I'm trying to not only improve a golfer's putting, but trying to avoid confusion and the brain going 'haywire' in order to adjust to the confusion and that resulting in poor putting.

One of the issues that has happened to me is that I didn't read greens well and didn't understand where to aim. I would then see that as a 'failure' and then try to adjust to prevent that failure and wind up doing the wrong things and just hurting my putting even more. One you fully understand how to read GREENS and then the Geometry of a Putt (below), you will start sinking more putts and are much less likely to fall into poor aim and poor mechanics.


Developing speed/touch skills.

While I feel this is probably the most important part of putting, I haven't addressed it until step 4 because I feel steps 1-3 are much more flawed for the average golfer and if they can improve steps 1-3, then their speed/touch skills will likely improve as well.

First, I think the golfer needs to get it in their head that they are ultimately responsible for getting the speed/touch of the greens. After playing a couple of days with some friends at new courses with the greens probably 12-13 on the stimpmeter, we played our home course where the greens are about 10 on the stimpmeter. Everybody was hitting it short, including myself, but by the backside I finally got the speed down. Of course my friends kept coming up short and just blamed it on the 'slow greens' and excused it as such. But having the attitude of blaming yourself for not getting the speed down helps remedy the issue quickly.

One of the things you might want to consider if you play different courses is owning two for slower greens, one for faster greens. I currently own a Yes! putter which I use for fast greens and a Mizuno Bettinardi which I use for slower greens. Understanding what type of putter reduces skid and what type of putter adds skid can help. My Mizuno and the Yes! putter have the same lie angle and loft, but the Mizuno is much lighter and does not have grooves on the face and that gets the ball up in air a little more and works better on slower greens.

It's also important to understand what optimal speed of a putt really is. Here's a Geoff Mangum video talking about the subject.

Once you understand that, there are plenty of drills on the internet that can help develop good speed and touch. What I like to do is take a 'phantom cup' and place it down in a place on the putting green where there is a medium sized slope. I will then start off with some 10 footers. I'll make sure to get some down hill putts, some uphill putts, then some left to right and then right to left putts. Keep working on it until I get it down. Then I'll move onto 30 footers, then back down to 20 footers, then 5 footers. Again, the main thing is that I concentrate on SPEED, not making the putt. One of the things I use to help with speed is that I look at spot by the cup while I'm taking a practice stroke. The smaller the spot I can find and focus on, the better. It's much like a bowler about to throw the ball. They don't focus on the pins and they usually don't focus on the arrows or the dots on the lane. Instead, they will focus on a particular board and never lose track of it. So instead of focusing on the cup, I like to focus on perhaps a spike mark by the cup or if it's a shorter putt, perhaps focus on a paint mark inside the cup. If I'm struggling with hitting putts too short, I'll concentrate on a spot further behind the cup and try to make the stroke to that spot, and vice versa if I'm hitting putts too long.


Mental Management.

It's important for any golfer to have good mental management with their game and not let the results dictate their future performance. One PGA Tour player's teacher (and he's one of the better putters on Tour) told me that his only goal with putting is to execute everything 'pretty well.' Meaning, that if he felt that he made a pretty good read, took a pretty good stroke and had pretty good speed, then that's all he could do. Even if he misses a 3 footer, as long as he executed 'pretty well' he'll chalk up the miss as bad luck or the green being chewed up from the spike marks or something else and move onto the next hole.

But expectations need to be more realistic as well. As David Orr's putting studies show, golfers who putted on PGA Tour quality greens made about 20% more putts. AimPoint Golf's Mark Sweeney has research showing that slower greens mean less putts made as well as there being certain putts that are legitimately impossible to make, thus creating 3 putts caused by ballstriking over putting incompetence.

I think if a golfer will follow these 5 steps, they are now in a position to create a better putting stroke, better aim, better roll, much better green reading and understanding where to aim, and improved speed skills. And perhaps more importantly, less subconscious adjustments to your flaws which can only create more problems.


Lee Trevino Shotmaker Video

Please Note that I just added a new feature to my blog below each post with 'reactions' where the reader can give a star rating for each post. This will only help the blog as I can now figure out what type of blog posts the readers like and don't like. Thank you.


Lee Buck puts on a clinic of his own, here.


S&T Clinic Video

Pretty neat video at a Stack & Tilt Clinic.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Some Jean Reynolds Swings

She caught a place in your heart at his year's US Women's Open! She's won over $100K this year in earnings despite most of it being on the Duramed Futures Tour. Here's a couple of Jean Reynolds' swings (she also works with my instructor, Ted Fort)

Look at these impact alignments


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Latest Swing and Game Update

Here's a swing I took with an 8-iron back on Monday.

Here's a still pic, closest I could get to the impact position:

Lately I have been playing some different courses, some that I've never played before and some I've only played once before. The good news is that my stroke average has been around 74, but it's difficult to shoot under par on a score I have little or no knowledge about. I'm trying to keep my putts/GIR under 1.8 and get my scramble % around 60% and it seems that 14 GIR is the breaking point between possibly shooting under par and even in the 60's to shooting over par.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

AimPoint Golf's Tour Picks: Wyndham Championship

Here's Mr. Mark Sweeney's Tour computer generated picks for this upcoming week. I'll post the results next week:

1 Toms, David
2 Couples, Fred
3 Glover, Lucas
4 Clark, Tim
5 Senden, John
6 Van Pelt, Bo
7 Byrd, Jonathan
8 McCarron, Scott
9 Moore, Ryan
10 Quinney, Jeff
11 Thatcher, Roland
12 Molder, Bryce
13 Klauk, Jeff
14 Wilson, Mark
15 Love III, Davis
16 Flesch, Steve
17 Letzig, Michael
18 Weekley, Boo
19 Marino, Steve
20 Janzen, Lee


Which Stats Matter Most

A few years ago I ran some statistics to find what correlates best to stroke average on the PGA Tour. I found some interesting stats, but here's what Mark Sweeney of AimPoint Golf ( came up with (in order) as to what correlates to stroke average on the Tour:

1. GIR
2. Putts per GIR
3. Double-bogey (or worse) rate
4. Scrambling
5. Go For Its
6. Putts per round
7. Driving Distance
8. Driving Accuracy
As you can see, ballstriking is more important than given credit to by most amateurs. As Sweeney points out, the reason why GIR correlates so strongly to stroke average is that if you hit a GIR, you greatly decrease the likelihood for a bogey and practically eliminate any chance of making a double bogey, unless you 4-putt.

'Go For It's is the amount of times the golfer legitimately goes for a par-5 in two. Even if they don't make it, according to Sweeney statistics show that if you can legitimately 'go for it', the average score drops. 'Go For Its' and GIR are a big reason why I believe length is a great equalizer in golf. Provided I have some accuracy off the tee, golfers who are longer can go for a par-5 in two more often. Also, length helps on those long par-4's and long par-3's when it comes to hitting GIR's. I play with one golfer who hits his driver a legit 330+ yards off the tee and hits his 7-iron a legit 200 yards. He's not as accurate as I am, but when I'm hitting a 4-iron or a 3-hybrid on a long par-3 or as an approach to a long par-4 and then he steps up and hits a good drive and has a 9-iron into the same green, that's a huge advantage (not to mention playing par 5's like par 4's and essentially making a par 72 into a par 68).

Sweeney stated that one of the reasons why driving accuracy is so low in importance is that there is no measure as to how off line a golfer misses their drive. Golfer A could just miss the fairway and be in the first cut of rough and Golfer B could hit one O.B, but they still both count as a missed fairway. Again, that's where I believe the Double Bogey (or worse) rate comes into play.

Today was a perfect example as I shot a +2, 73. I wound up bogeying 4 out of 5 holes on the front. But the key was I avoided double bogeys and then eventually hit 9 of the last 10 greens, avoided some 3-putts and wound up shooting a respectable round of golf.

Grasp the concept of this video by Jeff Evans and you'll start hitting more greens, getting more 'go for its' and reducing your amount of double bogeys.


Monday, August 17, 2009

The Secret Is In The Dirt on Tour

Congrats to friend and follower of the Richie3Jack blog, Mike Maves (aka Sevam1) for confirming that he is indeed working with Steve Elkington on Elkington's swing. Elk has been known as one of the best ballstrikers with one of the best swings on Tour for quite some time. He's worked with Mac O'Grady, Ben Doyle and now Mike Maves.

Here's couple of videos of Elk's swing at the Canadian Open.

For those who don't recall, Maves wrote the fabulous golf instruction e-book 'The Secret Is In The Dirt.' I've actually been e-mailed and PM'd by a few new readers asking about the book and I highly recommend the book. Over at Brian Manzella's Web site there was a discussion about the quality of PGA instructors and I mentioned that there may be about 100 people in the world of golf whose opinion I trust with the golf swing (not saying I agree with everything they say, but they have an opinion that I value). Mike Maves happens to be one of those people, particularly when it comes to footwork and the lower body. In fact, there's probably only a handful of people in this world whose opinion I trust when it comes to footwork in the golf swing (and Mike obviously is one of them).

That doesn't mean you must by 'The Secret Is In The Dirt' right now. One reader who is currently working with my instructor, Ted Fort, inquired about the book and I thought it was something he should hold off on for now until he gets down Ted's instruction. As Mike has mentioned, he felt that his book will work best for those golfers that are 'almost there' and I readily concur. So if you're struggling with coming over the top or working on a new grip or the right forearm takeaway, you should focus your efforts on those before you get into 'The Secret Is In The Dirt.'

When I think of Mike, I think a lot about Ben Hogan. Hogan was a brilliant man because while his findings in '5 Lessons' and other books were hardly scientific, I felt he was incredibly astute about the swing and how it effects the golf ball through a massive amount of attentive trial and error. Hogan's stance diagram is a perfect example:

Hogan didn't have the scientific, detailed findings that physicists and Trackman/D-Plane has provided us with why the stance diagram works. Instead, Hogan used a massive amount of trial and error and found that he hit the ball pretty straight when his stance was more closed as he went with longer clubs and more open when he used a shorter club.

Mike has studied and studied Hogan and his book '5 Lessons' and through astute observation has come up with a pattern and components that can help a lot of golfers, even a former Major winner like Steve Elkington.


Updated PGA Tour Putting Probabilities Chart

Mark Sweeney of AimPoint Golf has his own Web site and forum at I believe his forum is a MUST read for those who want to improve their putting (my putting has already improved noticeably from watching his video with David Orr and I've only installed about 25% of what's been taught so far).

Also, if you're in some sort of fantasy golf league or taking players in Major Championships, Sweeney has statistical information predicting a top 20 players and his success rate is actually quite amazing. In the PGA Championship, YE Yang (congrats by the way) was ranked in his top 20.

Anyway, he actually has an updated statistical chart showing the % of putts made on the PGA Tour in 2008 from certain distances.


Awhile ago I showed a chart based on some 1995 stats. Let's see the difference.


Tough to get exact data since the 2nd graph is a dot chart not showing the exact percentages, but they look pretty close to being the same.

If that's true, than that tells me that the putter technology hasn't made the Tour better putters and neither has the work of Pelz and Utley. I would be interested in seeing if these stats improve if AimPoint becomes more popular.

As far as whether or not the Tour's better conditioned greens help...they do according to David Orr's putting research (by about 20% improvement). However, the Tour has much harder pin positions as well. I would probably guess that you would automatically see an improvement from 3-5' regardless of the golfer because there's less amount of break. Outside of 5' is anybody's guess.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Helping Adam Scott

It's been announced that Adam Scott is leaving Butch Harmon after a poor showing at the PGA and really struggling for about the past 2 years with his game. So hopefully in this post I can help Adam figure out what his issues are and my solutions to those issues.

First, let's take a look at the stats. When you think of Adam Scott, you usually think of somebody who doesn't have the game with the flatstick to reach Major Championship winner. So here's a look at his putting stats:

Putts/GIR rnk: 182nd
Sand Save %: 127nd
Putts/Round: 186th
Scrambling: 177th

Putting from Inside 5': 194th
Putting from 3-5': 194th
Putting from 5-10': 198th
Putting from - 10-15': 192nd
Putting from - 15-20'" 152nd
Putting from - 20-25': 129th
Putting from - > 25': 172nd
Putting from 5-15': 198th
Putting from 15-25': 169th

Obviously, putting is an issue. But I'm sure he left Harmon because he wasn't happy with his swing. So let's see his 'ballstriking' stats:

Driving Distance: 39th
Driving Accuracy: 172nd
Total Driving: 122nd
GIR: 158th
Proximity to the Cup: 132nd

So, Scott is indeed struggling with his ballstriking. He still hits it a long ways, but his accuracy is poor. And given his poor GIR and Proximity to the Cup Rankings, I get the feeling that not only is Scott missing fairways, but he's missing by quite a bit and cannot get shots to the green much less very close to the cup on a consistent basis.

I'm not the biggest Butch Harmon fan, but I think his method has some merits and can work great for certain golfers. But it's apparent that Scott has some reason for dumping Butch. Furthermore, if his ballstriking is bad, then it makes it more difficult for him to start making putts. As Mark Sweeney from AimPoint Golf states, there are literally impossible putts to make on Tour and the big key is to avoid those putts with your ballstriking.

Even still, it's pretty apparent that his putting is not good regardless of how well he's striking the ball.

While I think it's important to get an idea of what Scott's thoughts are on his game and why it has gone south, I think he needs to be willing to change some of his concepts about the swing and his short game and could really use somebody besides a 'name' teacher.

Make no mistake about it, the PGA Tour is very dependent on ballstriking skill. These guys don't shoot 82-79, even in a major championship, just because their putting is poor. Their ballstriking is almost always off, if not way off, when they are shooting scores like this.

My guess is that he'll probably go to somebody like Sean Foley, who seems to be the flavor of the year on Tour. Foley has worked with guys like Jason Gore and Sean O'Hair and incorporates some Stack and Tilt components to his teaching. I'm not going to knock that even though I'm not the biggest fan of the S&T, because it has worked for O'Hair. Gore really didn't need swing changes to strike the ball better because he's a phenomenal ballstriker to begin with. And for the most part, it really hasn't changed his standing on the Tour because he doesn't have the putting or the short game to be a top tier player.

I would avoid Hank Haney at all costs. Has he really made Tiger a better player? I don't think so. And I certainly believe that Tiger is a LESSER ballstriker since going to Haney. As I pointed out in my statistical analysis of Tiger, he's essentially become a 'bomb-n-gouge' player over the years, but he hasn't been effective as a bomber and has had to make up for that by becoming an incredible gouger ( The difference between Tiger and Scott is that Tiger was a pretty good putter before he changed his swing and got more into bomb-n-gouging. He just went from being a 'pretty good' putter to arguably the best on Tour. Scott on the other hand has seen putting be his achilles heel, so if he were to be more of a bomber, I don't think he has the skill to be a good 'gouger' at this moment.

Here's some people I would suggest for Adam to go see:

David Orr

Positives: Strong putting instructional skill. Works with current tour players and has improved their putting (i.e. Charlie Wi). Knows a variety of swings, including the S& he can make small changes to the swing instead of overhauling it and can also incorporate some S&T components if necessary. Expert knowledge of AimPoint technology, TGM, S&T and MORAD.

Brian Manzella

Positives: Very strong knowledge of the swing. Specializes in customizing swing patterns and getting players to swing like they used to when they were playing well. Helps part-time with David Toms' swing. Expert at operating and teaching with Trackman. Has fantastic facilities to work out of.

Lynn Blake

Positives: Strong knowledge of the golf swing and short game. Knows the 'tour secrets' of putting. Has a strong Tour clientele consisting of Brian Gay and Jay Williamson among others. Turned around Gay's ballstriking ability.

Mark Blackburn

POSITIVES: Strong knowledge of the golf swing and has taugh two of the better ballstrikers on Tour in Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum. Like to make slight adjustments instead of major overhauls, so learning curve will be shorter. Has had to make slight adjustments to Weekley's and Slocum's swings, so he has experience in working with Tour players in this area before.

Geoff Mangum

POSITIVES: Probably has the most amount of knowledge of putting than any person on earth. Likes to customize putting process instead of using one 'way.' Has strong clientele of Tour players and top teachers.


Trackman Fever, Trackman Fever, It's Driving Me Crazy...

A poster over at Brian Manzella's forum ( posted up some of his results on Trackman. So I wanted to post them up here so we can see what the results on Trackman look like and then my interpretation on them. Now, I'm still a bit of a novice on Trackman, so my interpretation may be a little off. Here goes.

1. Clubhead speed = 87.3
2. Ball speed = 127.1
3. Attack angle = -3.4
4. Club Path = 5.7
5. Vert swing plane = 63.1
6. Horiz swing plane = 3.9
7. Dyn Loft = 11.3
8. Face angle = -3.6
9. Smash factor = 1.46
10. Vert. angle = 7.2
11. Horiz angle = -0.9
12. Spin rate = 6194
13. Spin axis = -17.9
14. Max Height = 15.5
15. Carry = 165.4
While I have talked about how much a golfer needs to 'swing left' with the AoA being negative, that's provide the golfer's face angle is square to the target at impact. That's not the case here as the golfers face angle is -3.6* (closed) at impact.

With the face angle closed like this, it's very difficult to not draw the ball to some degree because this effectively makes any club path more inside-to-out.

The 2 factors to look for as far as path goes are horizontal plane and club path. I've been told that club path in Trackman data is basically the combination of the horizontal swing plane and the AoA, although I'm not quite sure how it's figured. Here it says the horizontal swing plane is +3.9, which means the clubhead is going 3.9* to the right (which imparts hook spin). This should result in a shot that starts left and hooks left. Many golfers w/o Trackman would probably misinterpret this as an 'over the top move', but in reality there's a problem with the clubface as the path is actually in-to-out quite bit.

16. Side = 29.3L
17. Length = 178.5
18. Side yards = 34.1 L
These shots are all with a 6-iron and the golfer here hit this 6-iron 178.5 yards which is nice. Ever kill an iron, but it pulls and then hooks even more and you wish that you could hit it like this all of the time, but just manage to start this straight at the target instead of pulling it? That's exactly what this shot was.

1. Clubhead speed = 86.5
2. Ball speed = 116.1
3. Attack angle = -0.8
4. Club Path = 3.3
5. Vert swing plane = 62.7
6. Horiz swing plane = 2.9
7. Dyn Loft = 18.3
8. Face angle = 2.0
9. Smash factor = 1.34
10. Vert. angle = 12.7
11. Horiz angle = 2.4
12. Spin rate = 6475
13. Spin axis = -3.4
14. Max Height = 23.0
15. Carry = 156.9
Face angle here is 2.0* (open). The AoA (angle of attack) is only -0.8 and the clubhead speed and smash factor are a bit low here. I would say that there was probably a lot of 'throwaway'/flipping going on here or a very extreme circular delivery path and full sweep release, ala Tom Watson...but I'm guessing it's more of the former than the latter.

The horizontal swing plane is 2.9*meaning that the clubhead is going less than 1* to the right of the face angle. I would say a slight push with a tiny draw.

16. Side = 0.4R
17. Length = 164.6
18. Side yards = 0.1 R
This says a slight push that practically went straight. I'm guessing that the wind may have straightened this out and the golfer may have missed the sweetspot slightly to cause the ball to not draw.

1. Clubhead speed = 91.8
2. Ball speed = 124.9
3. Attack angle = -4.7
4. Club Path = 5.4
5. Vert swing plane = 54.2
6. Horiz swing plane = 2.0
7. Dyn Loft = 18.3
8. Face angle = 2.4
9. Smash factor = 1.36
10. Vert. angle = 12.7
11. Horiz angle = 3.1
12. Spin rate = 6943
13. Spin axis = -2.0
14. Max Height = 28.4
15. Carry = 166.9
A nice angle of attack here, although probably a tad too much. IF the face angle was square here at impact, the golfer would need to 'swing left' by 2.35 degrees in order to hit a straight shot. Instead, the face angle is +2.4*, so it is open to the target at impact. The horizontal swing plane is 2.0* so the clubhead is going slightly left of the face angle. This should impart a slight push that goes fairly straight or with a slight fade.

16. Side = 2.7R
17. Length = 172.3
18. Side yards = 2.5 R
Yes, a slight push here with a slight fade on it.

1. Clubhead speed = 87.1
2. Ball speed = 114.0
3. Attack angle = -1.1
4. Club Path = 3.9
5. Vert swing plane = 57.6
6. Horiz swing plane = 3.2
7. Dyn Loft = 19.8
8. Face angle = 6.5
9. Smash factor = 1.31
10. Vert. angle = 13.6
11. Horiz angle = 5.7
12. Spin rate = 7088
13. Spin axis = 0.1
14. Max Height = 23.4
15. Carry = 153.1
AoA is minimal here, only -1.1* with a 6-iron. With a 6-iron, the AoA should be around -3.5*. I remember hitting a 6-iron on Trackman before my swing improved and my AoA was -2.8* and I hit it ridiculously high back then. So -1.1* with any type of decent clubhead speed would cause some very high shots.

The face angle is WIDE open here at 6.5*. When the face gets wide open like this, it's almost impossible to not slice it. The past week I have struggled with my game and I finally felt like I got it straightened out a couple of days ago, but I began to hit a push with a big fade, despite feeling like I was taking a pretty good motion thru the ball. Understanding the 'new ball flight laws' and D-Plane, I deducted that my path was pretty good, but my clubface was wide open, causing a pretty good path to now effectively be more out-to-in which causes the big fade. I finally realized that my face was open at address, causing it to be open at impact.

Here, the horizontal swing plane is +3.2*, which is quite a bit out to the right. However, with the face angle being so open at impact, the golfer should hit a pretty big block fade here.

16. Side = 16.2R
17. Length = 159.9
18. Side yards = 17.0 R
Yep, dead to the right.

However, like the first result, most golfers would probably think they are coming over the top of the ball and that is causing the slice. Instead, the problem is the face angle was so far wide open that any golfer could not help but slice the ball with that type of face angle at impact.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Fixing Aim Bias With the Putter

I've been asked a bit on fixing aim bias with the putter. First off, I believe that's off to a good start because now readers of this blog and Web sites like Geoff Mangum's ( and David Orr's ( are starting to realize that where that putterface is aiming in the stroke, particularly at impact and slightly after impact, is far far more important than having a real nice, 'clean' putting stroke.

I like to say 'D-Plane is alive and well in the Putting Stroke.' The big thing about D-Plane in the full swing is basically it's telling us that mastering the control of the clubface is what seperates the great ballstrikers from the rest of the world. In putting it's very, very similar. Master controlling the putterface and you're off to a very good start. The only difference is that things like touch and reading greens are a factor as well and you need to master those to become a darn good putter.

One way you can learn to fix aim bias is buy getting an Edel Putter ( Edel Putters use a fitting process where they have pretty much a countless different combinations of putter heads, hosels, aiming lines, etc. The process consists of finding what combination allows you to aim perfectly square to the target with you natural address position. Here's a video showing the fitting process.

The one drawback of the Edel putters is that they are quite expensive. In fact, the Vari-Loft design (a putter that allows you to manually change the loft -- shown below) retails for about $800.

That being said, if you were to get a Vari-Loft and your aim is now square to the target almost all of the time and you can change the lofts based on the speed of the green, you pretty much have the last putter you would ever need. The Scotty Camerons seem to be the favorite choice of golfers and they usually retail at $299 and golfers seem to change them out about once every five years or so. The past 12 months alone I have purchased 4 putters (Cleveland, SeeMore, Bettinardi, and a Yes!) and they have cost me about $500 total. I am really digging the Yes! putter, but my aim is not perfect with it by any means.

If you can't afford an Edel Putter and/or there's not an Edel fitter in your area, then I would suggest that you should dissect the problem by first establishing what your aim bias is (if you have any at all).

I would suggest either getting the Laser Putting Alignment System (aka LPAS) at

Or you can get the GTA Putterface Alignment Laser at ( NOTE: They have lasers for heel shafted and center shafted putters. You need to tell them what type of putter you have.

Once you establish where your aim bias with the laser, now you can start figuring out what's causing the problem. If your aim bias is square and you are struggling, then I highly suggest to look at your shaft lean and your skid-roll on your putter. I did a post awhile back telling how to get fitted to help eliminate the skid in your putts ( If you get putter fitted to help eliminate skid and you still struggle, then you likely have a major problem reading greens and/or developing touch.

According to Orr's studies on putting, most right handed golfers tend to aim left of the target (55%), while 25% aim right of the target, and only 20% aim at the target from only 6 feet away. In a recent post by Orr over at his forum, here's what he said are possible reasons why a golfer may be aiming left of the target with the putter:

1) Ball Position too far forward
2) Backward leaning shafts
3) Certain hosel types
4) Certain (putter) Line Configurations
5) Neck Tilt Left
6) Upper Spine Laterall Left
7) Asymmetrical Wrist/Forearm/Elbow/Humerus/Shoulder Alignments
Obviously, if your aim bias is to the right, then the opposite applies.

I also suggest that you learn how to properly head swivel to help with alignment, this video shows the proper head swivel.

Once you get the aim bias down and make steps to correct your address position if it's necessary, I would then try and bring the laser alignment aid to the golf store and put it on putters and see if you can find one that can align you properly. The general rule of thumb is that if you aim left, you need less offset on the hosel and may even need a center shafted putter. It's amazing how many golfers I see who clearly aim left of the target and are using an Odyssey 2-Ball putter, with the thinking that the 2-Ball helps them align better when it actually hurts them because of the hosel configuration.

OTOH, if you aim right of the target, then you need a putter with MORE offset and you may want to consider a mallet type of putter. From my experience, you should stay far away from center shafted putters and blade style putters.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scratch Golf Putters


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some Swinging Left Thoughts and Research

Lately I've focused on the concept of 'swinging left' in order to hit the ball straight according to the studies and reseach the people at Trackman have found.

For new readers, provide that your clubface is square to the target at impact/seperation, in order to hit the ball and have it fly straight it, the club path needed depends on the angle of attack.

If the angle of attack is downward (or negative), then the golfer needs to 'swing left.' If the angle of attack is upward or positive (which would only happen with a driver), then the golfer needs to swing out to the right.

However, because of the spin axis on the ball, the amount of swinging left differs between irons and the woods. With woods it's simple. If the angle of attack is -2*, then the golfer needs to swing left 2*. However if a golfer uses a 4-iron and swings downward by -2*, then they need to swing left by HALF of that amount, which is -1*. If a golfer hits up on the driver by 3*, then they need to swing out to the RIGHT by 3*. And if a golfer hits down on an 8-iron by -5*, then they need to swing left by 2.5*.

AS OF NOW, my current thinking is this GREATLY applies to certain lies a golfer may find on the course. I haven't tested this out with Trackman, and I'm not even sure Trackman can research this, but I have done some research of my own and I keep getting the same results.





Playing golf in Northern Georgia, there is a lot of hilly terrain and a lot of time to practice these shots. Every time I try to hit a straight shot with these lies, the only way I could do that is if I followed the statements I capitalized above. Granted, I may have some flawed thinking or execution going on here, but as of this moment my thought process is this:

1. Ball above the feet or an uphill lie the clubhead is likely to come into contact with the ground well before the 'low point.' I believe this creates a steeper angle of attack. Thus you need to more to the left to hit the ball straight. Ever since I was in high school, these types of lies usually produce big draws/hooks. This would make sense because if I take a normal swing with a normal path I am actually swinging inside-to-out of the 'true path', which produces a hook. And to compound the issue even more, I would generally aim more to the right and swing more to the right, producing a bigger hook.

2. Ball below the feel or a downhill lie, the clubhead is likely to come into contact with the ground well after or closer to the 'low point.' Thus it's likely to flatten out the angle of attack (you won't hit up with an iron or a fairway wood or a hybrid, but you won't hit with as much of a downward strike either). These are shots that I almost always hit a big fade/slice with, probably because the 'true path' is more square to the target and I'm swinging too far left of the 'true path' causing a left-to-right spin.

So I would try it out for yourself and see what you think.

Of course, there's trying to understand the difference of 'swinging left' versus coming 'over the top.'

I struggled with this, and then Jeff Mann ( helped clear up this concept.

To swing left of the target, one simply reorients the baseline of the inclined plane a few degrees leftwards and one then traces the Straight Plane Line (new plane line), which is now a few degrees left of the ball-target line, as per the usual technique - thus generating the standard in-to-square clubhead arc (relative to the new plane line).

So basically the clubface is pointed at the target at address.

But the golfer just moves the incline plane to the left. Here again is the Jeff Evans video on the incline plane angle.

So basically you just move the incline plane angle in Jeff's video (albeit an imaginary one in real life) just a few degrees left if you want to hit a straight shot.

But remember this, according to a Brian Manzella post where he did some research on Trackman (, a 6-iron needs about -3.5* Angle of Attack for optimal height. So if you hit down by -3.5* with a 6-iron, you need to swing left by 1.75*. In case you didn't know, that is VERY miniscule. Now Brian did mention that a LW needs an angle of attack around -8*, but that's swinging left by 4*, which still is not a big amount of swinging left. Remember, coming over the top means that the club is getting above the plane on the downswing. 'Swinging left' just 'moves the swing' to the left a slight amount and the club never gets above the plane on the downswing.