First, Happy Veterans Day to all. A heartfelt thank you to everyone that has served.
Today I golfed with my friend, Jim Rush who is a retired U.S. Marine and is a trusted second set of eyes. Last month, Jim and I were on our annual eastern shore golf trip and we were warming up for our round at Eagles Landing and I was struggling with my putting. Everything was going right, even on the shortest of shorties and I had Jim take a look at me. He immediately noticed that I was lining the putts up about an inch out on the toe of my Ping Answer (with the “CORP” in KARSTEN MFG. CORP). The Answer has no markings on the top and I thought I was completely square on the blade. I tried to change but moving your putting alignment an inch right before the start of a round is a significant change and I struggled to get comfortable and putted poorly that day.
In the month between then and today’s round, I had the opportunity to reflect on my putting over the years and definitely recalled many times when I would make a good stroke, but hit the putt on the toe. It’s quite possible that this fault has been with me in perpetuity, and I have been working to correct the oversight in the last month. Today I’m happy to report that I was banging my shorties and mid-range putts with confidence. What a relief.
The lesson learned is not about putting alignment, but that when you solicit advice from someone (other than a professional) you had better trust that their observations will be sound and their recommendations useful. I recall when I used to teach a long time ago, we had a saying that went, “Amateurs teach amateurs to play like amateurs.” You may have heard it and we certainly had our work cut out for us undoing the damage that friendly advice had done to our student’s golf games. If you seek friendly advice, it helps if your adviser has played with you, is familiar with your game and some of the faults and fixes you have worked on, and is a good player themselves. Jim knows my swing well and sometimes I will also ask him to take a quick look at me before a round if I’m striking it poorly. Usually all he has to mention is a little key that registers and I’m on my way.
Do you have a trusted second set of eyes?