Should you look at the ball when you putt?

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Scott Rushing
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Should you look at the ball when you putt?

So during the British Open I noticed there were times that Jordan Spieth would not look at the ball when he putted.  Sometimes short putts , sometimes longer putts, etc.  Didn't do it every time but a lot.  I thought that was curious and though, man  I would suck doing that.  I might miss the ball all together.

Well today I went to the putting green to work on some of my putting woes and to work on a few drills from that link I sent you in the other post on Cut your Handicap in Half in 30 days.  So I started making 10 3 ft putts, straight, and made 9 of 10.  The article said, if you make 8 of 10 move to a 4ft putt.  You should make 7 of 10 at that distance.  So I did and went 9  for 9 and stopped there because my back was starting to hurt being hunched over constantly.   So then i said, ok, my stroke is generally OK.  Let me work on longer curved putts where I have to read break.

As I started to do that I missed the first couple and said hmmm, I'm going to watch my mark and see if my ball rolls over the mark I'm intending when I putt.  So I setup, turned my head to the mark I was using and putted.  Drained it.  Did it again, Drained it.  Move to another spot.  Chose line, setup, turned my head, drained another one.  I think I made 4 out of 5 short (3-5ft) putts and the one I missed I drug the putter.   So I spent the better part of half an hour doing that drill and made a lot of putts and the ones I missed were close or I had the speed wrong.

To me the hard part will be long putts so I'll have to practice the stroke I intend to hit before I put for sure.  I may try it on short putts the next time I play, where I don't have to think about making a long stroke.  I am afraid I'll drag the putter on those until I practice more.  But all and all it was not as bad as I thought.

DON
Better Distance contorl

The main reason looking at the target and NOT the ball on putts is that you get a better feel for the distance, and you're more likely to get the distance right. According to what I've read and seen in videos, it makes sense if you think about it. If you were to throw a golf ball to a cup on the green, you would look at the CUP to get an idea of the distance so you know how hard to throw the ball. Same idea when putting if you LOOK at the cup to get the distance imprinted into your brain so you know how hard ot stroke the putt.

Jordan has been doing this for a long time now and it sure does work well for him. Not sure how it wourld work for the average golfer. I'm sure it would take some Practice time to get it to work well. You would NEED to make a pretty consistant stroke to be able to hit the ball in the center of the putter face, so practice would be needed for that alone. Without a lot of practice I'm sure Mis-Hits would jump up and bite you.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

Aimee
Aimee's picture
putting

I have sometimes played around with looking at the hole while putting shorter putts, found it really hard to do for the longer ones.

It's not how...it's how many

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
I think one other positive is

I think one other positive is that you have to commit to a practice swing for gauging how long a stroke you want to give it, and I think not looking at the putt, I'm less likely to decelerate on the putt because I'm focused on the hole or the spot, and NOT whats happening with the putter head.

but yes, you would need a pretty consistent putting stroke in order to hit the ball flush each time.

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Scott Rushing
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The results are in..

From the first round in which I tried to implement the Spieth-style putting technique....So my version of this was to find my mark along the line to the putt, and look at that during putting.  Unless it was a long putt in which I looked at the ball  - or - if it was a short putt, I looked at the hole...So, 4 birdies (most in a long time), 2 lipouts for birdie, 2 3putts, (1 on the last hole where I had a tricky uphill/downhill putt and 1 where I had a long uphill putt), and 31 putts total.  SHot 37/37 for a 2 over 74.

All and all it worked well.  I think had I putted my old style, I would have left a few of those birdies short because I decel'd, which I didn't do here.  Most of those birdies were in the heart with pace.   Had another guy with us who tried it as well, and he agreed, he liked it and it saved him some strokes.  he ran in a long birdie he doesn't think he would normally make and most of his misses were close.  

 

 

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Scott Rushing
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We talked about the USGA

We talked about the USGA penalty on Dustin Johnson during the Open for their opinion he caused his ball to move and we talked about how close he gets to the ball on his practice putts.     Has anyone every taken their practice putts OVER the ball?  Like 5-6 inches up?  Seems like this would let you get a feel down the real target line and also have already positioned yourself in the proper alignment with the ball instead of needing to realign from your stance in the practice putts.  Anyone see any negatives with this technique?  You've not grounded the club so you're not addressing the ball such that this would be considered your stroke.  You'd need to be sure to do it high enough not to hit the ball, but that's really the same as taking practice putts near the ball on the side. 

Anyway, just curious if anyone's evern seen that done before..

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scomac
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I've actually started to do

I've actually started to do that just recently, Scott.  I start by looking for the line and then do a few practice strokes facing the hole.  Then I get meyself lined up over the ball and do a couple more practice strokes above the ball before grounding the club.  Hasn't hurt.  Can't say that it has helped either though!  cheeky

DON
Iused to take my practice

Iused to take my practice strokes with the putter in my normal setup position over the bal. I would take the putter head back the amount I would do for the real stroke, and then bring it back to just Behind the ball. I did this to allow me to SEE the line I was taking the club back on so I could make sure I had it the way I wanted it. For me that was Straight back and Straight forward on my target line. Then I would repeat the practice stroke and NOT stop the head before it reached the ball and that was my Putt. IF the putter head moved either inside or outside my target line during my practice stroke, I would adjust my stance and repeat the stroke until I got it  right online, then make my putt. Works very well for me when i used it.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.