Posts tagged ‘Putting’

November 21, 2011

My thoughts on the Belly Putter after my fitting

I was able to go through a Belly Putter fitting this past Saturday at Club Champion Golf and I wanted to take a few minutes and share my experience.  I will start by saying that going into the fitting I was very skeptical towards belly putters.  As far as I was concerned it was just the next fad in golf.  More than that I was expecting the belly putter to be awkward and not for me at all.  I love my current traditional putter, but my curiosity towards the recent trend and towards wanting to putt better led me back to Club Champion to check them out.

The fitting started by me hitting a handful of putts with my current putter on the SAM machine.  My stats really weren’t bad other than my path swings a bit to the inside on my follow through.  Next I used an adjustable putter to find what length felt best for me.  I landed right around 40 inches and started hitting some putts.  At first it was definitely awkward.  I wasn’t really sure why this would be an advantage since it seemed so foreign.

Once I got a few tips on how to properly use the belly putter it started to make more sense.  The biggest thing about the belly putter for me was how easy it was to replicate the set up.  All I had to do was put the butt end right above my belly button and get my hands in the right spot and I was ready to go.  I felt extremely comfortable that my set up was the exact same over and over again and this is not a feeling I get all the time with the conventional putter.  Once the set up was right it was all down to getting the ball position correct and swinging the putter.

I was surprised at how much I had to break my wrists down on the back swing and follow through to properly release the putter and hit good putts.  Once I got the hang of the new feeling it was surprisingly simple and comfortable.  It takes a lot of the mechanical thoughts out of putting which is a big advantage for a lot of players.  As I expected I hit certain putts much better and more confidentially, but not ALL putts.

It really came down to preference for me.  I am planning to stick with my conventional putter for now, but my interest in the belly putter fad definitely increased after using one.  If I were to go down the belly putter road I would get fully fit for one that fits me best and I would commit to using it for an extended period of time and practicing with it a ton.  It is very different from conventional putting and I assume it would take a lot of work to become really good with one.

I do, however, think that if you are a weekend warrior golfer and don’t have a ton of time to practice your putting it could help you out.  Like I said earlier, I think it takes a lot of the mechanical thinking out of putting which can be incredibly helpful.  I could easily see using the belly putter as an advantage simply because the set up is so repeatable and once you get your aim right it is a simple hinge swing.  I think truly great putters would shy away from the belly putter, but for the majority of golfers who are not great putters there is something to it.  I would suggest checking them out if you are the least bit interested.  I know I was surprised by them even though I wasn’t totally sold on them.

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April 21, 2011

Make Eye Contact With Your Golf Ball

As I continue to work towards my goal of reaching a single digit handicap, I have been a sponge for all things golf knowledge.   I read golf books, watch videos and listen to pretty much any tip anyone is willing to give me.  Everyone has his or her own idea of how to hit the ball better.  It seems like there are millions of methods and gimmicks out there that ensure better struck golf shots, but we all know that most are garbage or only work for that individual and not all generic golfers.  If there was truly a full proof golf tip out there we would all be scratch golfers.

I have been working primarily on my putting and chipping recently, which are areas that have plagued my scores for the past two seasons.  After struggling for my first few rounds I started to only focus on one thing.  KEEP MY EYE ON THE BALL.  It is amazing how simple this one tip is and how often I forget to do it.  I am always so concerned with where the ball is going to end up that I pull my head up on putts and chips.  This tends to lead to fat or thinned chips and pushed or pulled putts

I find it fascinating how difficult it is to keep my eye on the ball on these shorter shots.  I don’t have as much of an issue with this when hitting irons or driving the ball.  I think it stems from an in depth past of poorly hit shots.  It is clear that when I step up to those “scary” shots I am anticipating another bad shot instead of focusing on the proper way to hit the shot.  By forcing myself to focus on nothing but the golf ball I have seen tremendous improvement in my shots around the green.  I have a much better sense of where the ball is hitting the club on putts and chips because I am actually watching the ball and taking in that information instead of just swinging and hoping.

Watching the ball is the first thing you learn in pretty much any sport and yet I find myself having to force myself to focus on it.  It is sad but true.  It makes a world of difference when you trust you swing and focus on that small impact zone when the club hits the ball instead of all the negative thoughts that can creep into your head.  Shots are crisper, cleaner and far more accurate.  Mentally, it has been a relief to fall back on this as a key to hitting better shots.  I now know that if I just focus on the ball my worst shots will be far better than they used to be.  It all boils down to confidence and this one simple focus point has made all the difference for me personally.

Try it out and get back to the basics!