I need both, but what first? New putter, or putting lessons/practice?

Don Barzini

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After some opinions on this quandry.

I'm only an occasional player (though I''d love to play more) and don't belong to a club nor have an official handicap. Over the last year or so, I've realised my putting has really been letting me down and I want to take steps to put it right.

I feel I can read a green OK and know where to aim etc. And the so-called "knee-trembler" five foot putts have never held any fear for me, I'm confident in those. My main problem is judging power on long putts. I seem to just go to pieces when deciding how hard I need to strike the ball. On a long putt, typically I will either give it a pathetic tickle and still leave it way short, or do the other extreme and smash it way past. I just can't seem to judge it correctly. This issue is always in my head, messing me up mentally when I'm standing over a long putt!

In the last few months I've had reasonably regular lessons on the range with a pro and we've chatted about putting and done a putting lesson. My pro thought my overall technique was ok, but he pointed out that the lie angle on my putter head is incorrect for me - something I'd never even considered. So even if there is no other reason to change my putter, there is this issue. Thought to be honest, I have no idea how much this particular issue is playing a part. (Probably very little?)

However, even with that issue aside, I have no confidence in the putter itself. I'm certainly not being a bad workamn blaming his tools, because I know that at the end of the day the answer is "You need to practice your putting". But mentally, I feel my putter is too light and feeble (I know, I know, it sounds weird!). I think I'd be happier and more confident using a heavier putter with a mallet type head. The heavier the better.

I flirted with a broomhandle putter recently that I bought for a few quid off eBay. Bloody heavy thing it was, but I felt really good with it and my lag putting and ability to judge weight of long putts was much better. However, this came at the cost of accuracy and I couldn't aim very well with it. My previous deadly accuracy from five feet or so went out the window! So I went off the broomhandle idea as it obviously wasn't going to be the cure to my woes and was just leaving me with a different problem.

My pro has given me the name and number of a guy who specialises in putter fitting, so I'll certainly be going to him at some point. He apparently sells those putters where you can add/take away weights and feels this may help me. But I wasn't really sure whether I should go along and spend the money on a new putter first - or try to get a bit more consistent in putting via lessons and practice first. Kind of a chicken and egg quandry really. Thing is though, for me practicing lag putting with any degree of regularity isn't possible. As mentioned, I don't belong to a club so I can't just rock up somewhere and do some practice on the putting green. I've practiced in my lounge which is quite long, but I have no real idea how closely the carpet recreates the speed of a typical green.

So appreciate any thoughts. And if anyone has had similar struggles to me, would like to hear how you overcame them!
 

Imurg

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On the basis that your technique is fairly sound and you're ok with putts from 5 feet I wouldn't change the putter but I'd just hit the practice green
On a 30 footer, while it's nice if it goes in, realistically you're looking at getting close and that's what I'd practice.
Get the pace right and you'll not go far wrong
 

Wabinez

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my fairly simple answer is this - If you don't like the putter you have, and you don't feel it is right for you, then no amount of practice will get that sorted. If you like what you are looking down on, then it will help massively. Whether you need a full putter fitting, considering you are an occasional player may be overkill. Find somewhere with a lot of putters, and just roll them to find something you like. Once you have found something you like the look of, the feel of and the roll of, then buy it and hit the practice green. You may find you'll practice a lot more with a putter you actually like.

Golf is a mental game, so as soon as you like something you will want to use it more. I'd get the putter, then figure out the technicals later
 

duncan mackie

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I was in a similar vein with putting, although I already had a shed full of putters, when attending the Cally kings of distance event a couple of years ago.

Got confused during the putter trial session.

Went back during the lunch break and ended up in a 3 way discussion between the demo guy, Alex Noren and myself. The key question was do you fit the putter to the persons current swing, the putter to the players potentially appropriate swing (2 variables) or the players swing to the putter.

It's an great theoretical debate!

Upshot for me was that whilst one design was more appropriate for my current stance and stroke Alex set out to prove his theory that you could quickly change even pretty fundamental elements of a stroke to suit a putter! He was a tough taskmmaster and literally tied me in knots with the most uncomfortable (then) changes.....which took 30mins until he was satisfied that I had got it - and I was still struggling to get the ball out of the middle of the club, let alone aim it! It took another 2 months to feel natural but it's now one of the stronger elements of my game (which has dragged up my chipping because there's no pressure to get it dead everytime (so in normally do).

So, logically, you get the lessons first and consider changing the putter later.

Alternatively, just buy a v-easy trainer and learn your distance control from that!
 

Lord Tyrion

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I'm going to disagree with Imurg here as I have just changed my putter for the reasons you give. I had quite a light putter which was great on fast greens but I had no confidence on pace on my own course, slower greens. I practised and practised but just could not crack it. I changed my putter to one with a bit more weight in it and a bit more zip off the face and I am instantly getting better control on longer putts. Clearly, this could be psychological but once confidence has gone with a putter I don't know that you can get it back.

Putters are so personal, weight, balance, zip off the face etc that the difference between those on offer is quite substantial. It is very possible that your current one is just not right for you. That may not be the case but it seems that it is in your head now. Perhaps see your fitter. Also try AG, they usually have loads of putters in stock and you can spend ages trying the different ones without too much hassle.

Quality name drop from DM. Well played :clap:
 

r0wly86

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if it's just that the lie is out, you could get that bent by a club fitter or even a lot of pros will do it. So if you like your putter and that is all then that will be a much cheaper alternative to buying a new putter.

Lag putting is a completely different skill to short putts so you probably just need some dedicated practice on the putting green. You will start to build up muscle memory of how hard to hit for what distances after a while
 

Orikoru

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If you're convinced about getting a new putter, I think it makes to do the putter fitting and get a putter you like before having lessons. If you had lessons with a light putter, say, then went out and bought a heavier one, it might completely change your stroke and make the lessons a waste of time. I think you've got to feel confident in the putter you're holding first and foremost.
 

Don Barzini

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Thanks for the replies people.

Do you vary the length of your swing according to the length of putt?

My pro said to me that the best way is to always putt with the same tempo, just vary the length of swing. I think I try to do this but I clearly don’t do it properly and consistently. I’m often “scared” of hitting it too hard so I probably slow down and tickle it too short. Or the other extreme happens and I get the thought into my head that “I must make sure I hit this hard enough” - and end up whacking it too fast and far!
 

bobmac

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Thanks for the replies people.



My pro said to me that the best way is to always putt with the same tempo, just vary the length of swing. I think I try to do this but I clearly don’t do it properly and consistently. I’m often “scared” of hitting it too hard so I probably slow down and tickle it too short. Or the other extreme happens and I get the thought into my head that “I must make sure I hit this hard enough” - and end up whacking it too fast and far!

You should never hit any putt, the ball should get in the way of the pendulum

[video=youtube;GsfxDNNxcNc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsfxDNNxcNc&t=0s&list=PL7Uf2W3sfvqYBJ3OUld KvQT7ZWYEmPOyW&index=12[/video]
 

MadAdey

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Could be a combination of the 2 to be honest. One of the problems I see is what Bob said, people vary their distance of a long putt by changing how hard they swing the putter, as opposed to varying the length of the swing and keeping the same tempo. Also the putter might not be suited to your style of putting. I know personally that with a soft insert putter I struggle with the pace on longer putts and it's not technique related as putting is probably my strong point.

Ideally what you need to do is go on a real putting green, not the one in American Golf, with different putters and see if it makes a difference on longer putts.
 

jim8flog

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If the lie angle of the putter is wrong it is always going to be wrong regardless of lessons or practice unless you do something about it.
 
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