Go to your home ball!
Go to your home ball!
By Mary Doyle
November 20, 2019
Bring out your inner ‘Buffalo Bill’
In a round of golf, our strokes on the green can hoover up a large percentage of our shots – sometimes it can be more than 50%, (if you’re having a bad day with the flat stick). Having said that, it’s very rare that I see players practicing, or getting putting lessons at the Academy. Whether this is because players aren’t sure where to start, don’t know how to practice putting effectively, or just simply forget about the flat-stick, I don’t know. What I do know is, becoming a better putter is one of the quickest way to shave shots off your score.
Billy Casper (aka: ‘Buffalo Bill’) – winner of 51 PGA tour events – was probably of one of the best putters of the 20th century. What many people don’t know is, the rest of his game, wasn’t anything to write home about. So much so, that Ben Hogan himself said that if Billy couldn’t putt then he’d “be buying hot dogs from [him] on the 10th tee,”.
To be a good putter, there are some basic fundamental elements that you need to get right. The easiest and most influential are; Strike and Pace. This article will offer some guidance about how to get better at the two, but ultimately a putting lesson may be the paradigm shift that your golf game needs. Don’t underestimate the power of the putter.
Probably the most important component to putting is strike. Strike can be analysed by watching how the ball rolls. If you aren’t rolling the ball end over end, not only will you not be able to work on the other elements of putting properly, but you won’t find any consistency. Strike or roll, effects everything on the green. Therefore you need to find a way to hit the middle of the putter face consistently and get the ball rolling. A good way to see how you’re striking the putter is by drawing a line around the circumference of the ball, lining it up at your target, and watching how the line on the ball is rolling. If the line is wobbling, you aren’t rolling the putt correctly. Once you get the line rolling straight, you can move on to practicing pace.
In order to find a good pace of the greens, you need to be striking and rolling the ball consistently. If you’re hitting the ball off different parts of the clubface, the ball will roll less or more depending on what part of the face you hit. It’s kind of like hitting a drive off the heel rather than the centre of the face; the ball will travel different distances. So, once you find the centre of the putter face consistently, you can start getting a feel for what length of strokes work for different putt lengths on the green.
A good drill to highlight your tendencies on long range putts is by doing a drill that I like to call the ‘box drill’ – an extremely inventive name, I know. Nevertheless, it’s an extremely effective drill. Firstly, mark out 3 distances, I usually go with 30ft-35ft-40ft, then grab four tees and mark out a 2ft box behind the hole; the start of the box should be in-line, or just behind the hole; this is to encourage you to get the ball to the hole. Drop three balls at the first marker and you can’t move on to the next distance until you get three putts in a row in the box or in the hole – if you do hole it, be mindful of the pace it went into the hole; if you know the putt wouldn’t of stayed in the box if it had missed, start again.
These two components could help your putts disappear, as Billy Casper once proved to be so important in the field of competitive golf. Once you have these two components mastered, you can start working on your start direction (aim) and understanding slope. We’ll talk about these in another blog post.
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Offering golf lessons, golf clinics, junior golf classes and a full custom fitting service, the GUI National Golf Academy and Driving Range has something for everyone. A team of professionals are waiting to deliver the best golf lessons available while state of the art technology is available with TrackMan 4 available for golf lessons and custom fitting.
Our full day and two-hour clinics are very popular with those looking for a general overhaul of their game, or for those that want to focus in on a certain aspect.
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