Troubling Epiphany – Need Help!

This game is often made easier when we simplify.  Purge mechanical swing thoughts.  Just “think target”.  Use only one swing key if you must think about something.  Stop worrying about your score.  Just follow your pre-shot routine and let the shot happen.  Don’t confuse results with effort.

My brain is in a mental pretzel after putter shopping yesterday.

I was in my golf retailer trying different models.  Blades, mallets, Ping, Scotty Cameron, Taylor Made, Odyssey, Ray Cook, you name it.  Everything was rolling to the right with cut spin.  The problem I’m solving for is an aiming one and this was getting discouraging.  I have no markings on my 30-year old Ping Answer and it’s awfully hard to putt consistently if you can’t line up your target.  After an hour of futility, I grabbed a Ping Sigma G Doon and lined up a 30-foot putt but decided to try my on-course pre-shot routine.  This involves lining the putt up from behind and identifying a spot 6-12″ in front of the ball to roll the putt over.  I recently started spot putting to help with my aiming problems.  So I started banging 30-footers into the cup but noticed the aiming mark on the top of the putter was lined up 8″ left.  Here was a moment of clarity.  Like Paul Newman in The Color of Money, I learned that my vision sucked.  With the putter aimed 8″ left, I tried a few more just swinging at the hole and they continued to roll straight at the target.  The cost of the putter was a little above my price point so I left the store empty handed and confused.

At home, I grabbed some masking tape and penned an alignment aid on the back of my Ping Answer and did some rug putting.  The sweet spot on my Answer is a little towards the heel but I like to hit my putts on the center of the club face.  I started to line putts up with just my dominant eye.  Needless to say, my experimentation didn’t go well.  I was NOT simplifying anything, and was adding twists to the pretzel.

What should I do before I come unglued?  I have half a mind to hit the reset button and just go buy the Doon.  Thoughts?

9 thoughts on “Troubling Epiphany – Need Help!”

  1. My Pro has told me to only buy clubs when I am swinging consistently and have confidence in my swing. So if it was me, I would not buy the putter. I would go to my Pro and talk about the putting issue. As a side note, I was having trouble putting and my Pro taught me to use the line on the ball, and once I line up my putt, trust the line. It was a game changer for me, because I realized when I stood over my ball, where my eyes told me to aim was often not the same line I selected viewing my putt behind the ball picking my line. Good luck and let your readers know what you decided to do!

    1. Great common sense advice. I have never seriously tried to putt with the line on the ball but what a better time to start! The club will always be in the store. I’ll need to change my pre-shot routine a bit but again, great time to try something new.

      Thanks!

      Brian

  2. Brian,

    My friend, take a deep breathe. Relax, without looking at your putting stroke, I can tell you right now that there is nothing wrong with your pre-shot routine or your mechanics. As you know, I recently purchased a putter. I can say that with the first few putters I picked up, I was all over the place. Then I realized that each putter will required a different set position. Of course they do because they are different styles, alignment points, and weights that lend to something different with each swing. This is perfectly normal.

    For me, it was all about feel for the putter. How did it look to my eye, how did the ball respond to the putter head, how did the ball role. Once I narrowed down those key points, I focused on alignment. As it turned out, my new Odyssey Works putter needed a slight set up change. I move the ball back to the middle of my stance instead of slightly forward as with my old putter. So, I suggest you will have to do the same regardless of the putter you chose.

    To fix your putting stroke, I recommend that you place two align sticks on the ground and putt from the middle. Place a piece of yarn in the middle to your sticks in a straight line to your target. Make sure the yard extends 3 feet behind the ball as well. Align everything to putt on the yarn. Within a short time, all will right itself. It works for me, especially when I start to loose confidence.

    Lastly, purchasing a putter is difficult. I suggest you focus on the three things I mentioned previously before worrying about alignment. That will naturally happen when the putter feels good in your hands. I guess I am saying is at first focus less on the sinking of the putts and more on how the putter feels and looks.

    All is good with your stroke. A couple of deep breathes. Reset. And now you are ready to move forward. Let us know how things go.

    Cheers
    Jim

    1. Thanks Doc! How much do I owe you for the awesome therapy session?

      In all seriousness, it’s a good time of year to have a putting melt down. I was working on my stroke during football yesterday and for the first time tried lining up putts with the line on the ball. Got very positive feedback but need to get outside and him some longer ones before making any changes. Nothing purchased yet!

      Thanks,

      Brian

  3. Brian,

    Looks like there’s already a lot of good advice above (especially from the wife), so I won’t overwhelm you any further. Instead I’ll share something interesting I tried recently — I’m a left handed golfer, and one day when it was just Beth and I and we were waiting on the group in front, I grabbed her right handed Scotty and practiced with it, maintaining my left handed grip, so for me, it essentially felt like “backhanding” putts. Surprisingly, I found it extremely difficult to miss from inside 10 feet. It was unbelievable!

    Unfortunately, it was right at the end of our season here so I never got to explore that technique in a round yet. We were recently in Cali, but I was afraid to pack a right handed putter and try something new in case it made things worse. When talking to others about it, the consensus is they think it’d be weird if I went with that technique. Then I tell them that I’d just be putting exactly like Jordan Spieth, but the only difference is the rest of my clubs are left-handed.

    Anyway, I guess the point of this is that we all go a little crazy over putting techniques at times, but I think the most important thing to keep as a constant is a positive attitude through it all and believe in yourself to hole every putt no matter where you’re at with technique…somehow!

    Cheers
    Josh

    1. Josh, very interesting experience. Have you ever experimented putting right hand low but doing this left-handed? You may gain the same benefits as your little test drive.

      For me, I made some good adjustments this year to help control my distance putting. Line is the problem and I’m heading out to the course today to work on some longer putts while trying to use the line on the ball as an alignment aid. If this doesn’t work, in all likelihood, I’ll probably buy that Ping Doon I had tried. Stay tuned and thanks!

      Brian

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