Dear Friends,

 

It has not been the sunny South this winter in Dr. Putt’s quadrant of the nation, but hopefully better golf weather is just around the corner. Dr. Putt hopes you have had better weather and have been able to get out to the links at least a few times.

 

The subjects of this newsletter are varied, but each can help you prepare for a new season of better golf.

 

1) “The Quiet Eye” and the EOB Putting System – all a matter of focus 

2) The Pelz “O-Ball” and a “do-it-yourself’ alternative

3) Looking for a new swing? The “simple golf swing” --  another alternative to consider.

 

 

1) “The Quiet Eye” and the EOB Putting System – all a matter of focus 

 

Recently a friend called Dr. Putt’s attention to a January article in GOLF DIGEST about the “quiet eye.” A University of Calgary kenesiologist performed a lab study of putting in which eye movements were measured.

 

The study found that better players had the least eye movement while over the ball. In other words, focusing precisely on a single point while aiming and then on the point of contact while executing the stroke produced dramatically better results.

 

Dr. Putt’s friend observed that this is an inherent part of the EOB putting system, to which Dr. Putt could only reply, “precisely!”

 

When one studies the putt while standing behind the ball, one should pick a precise point at which to aim. It may be a blade of grass on the edge of the hole on relatively straight putts or a spot beside the hole on breaking putts.

 

One only steps up to the ball AFTER this aiming point has been determined. Then when you take that last look up at your target, you should look at that point for a moment. You should not let the eyes wander around at various other possible points. It is good to see the ball moving to that point as you shift your eyes look toward that point, but take a smooth path to it. Do not let the eyes wander around

 

Then you focus your sight on either the back of the ball at the point of contact, or as Dr. Putt advocates, on a blade of grass about an inch behind the ball. You should maintain your vision on that spot throughout the stroke all the way to posing at the end of the stroke. Only then do you look up. Focusing on the blade of grass is better in Dr. Putt’s opinion, because that point is still there after contact, whereas the ball is not.

 

So keeping steady or  “quiet” eyes, inherent in the EOB Putting system, is proven in lab tests to be associated with better putting. And this is something you can work on at home even when there is ice outside!

 

 

2) The Pelz “O-Ball” and a “do-it-yourself’ alternative

 

Dave Pelz, acclaimed putting guru, inventor, and promoter of a myriad of putting products, as introduced a ball that will help in aiming and striking a putt along the intended line: the  “O-Ball.”

 

You can see it introduced in the GOLF MAGAZINE “Wish List” on page 152 of the December 2003 issue. These are high quality white balls with four thin parallel thin lines around them, two on either side of the equator of the ball, and two spread out on either end.

 

Their intended use is to help the player align the ball at the desired target and then see if the ball was struck squarely along that line by noting visual wobbles in the “O’s” as the ball rolls.

 

The lines may also be used on the tee to help the player aim the ball at a desired target in the fairway or on the green for par threes.

 

Because the multiple lines make the ball appear somewhat like a range ball, the average player may be reluctant to use it in actual play. If it is a range ball, it is a very expensive one, retailing for $55 a dozen. But it would at least be useful in practice.

 

Dr. Putt would suggest a much cheaper alternative. But a couple of “Sharpie” ™ pens (either red or black), and simply inscribe a line around the seam of your favorite ball. Most balls have a seam that can be readily find that provides a nice flat surface. You may have to redraw it a couple of times during a round between holes, but that is no big deal compared to Pelz’s pricey balls.

 

Dr. Putt would add that a single line better helps in aiming the ball and you can still see it wobble.

 

Marking a line on the ball has long been advocated by Dr. Putt. For more details, see the letter on this subject at the “Dear Dr. Putt” website:

 

http://www.drputt.com/deardrputt/marking-ball.php

 

So while it is still cold outside get a couple dozen of your favorite balls marked up for warmer weather!

 

 

3) Looking for a new swing? The “simple golf swing” --  another alternative to consider

 

As avid readers may know, Dr. Putt has for the last year or so been looking at some of the many alternative golf swings on the market. He has reviewed the most highly marketed and well known alternative swing, the Natural Golf Swing. Dr. Putt occasionally gets requests to review other swings, and usually they turn out to be mostly gimmick, spelled b-o-g-u-s.

 

Back in November David Nevogt asked Dr. Putt to review a swing he developed and is marketing as the “simple golf swing.” He was nice enough to send Dr. Putt a copy to review and thoroughly test. Dr. Putt started working on it in late November and took it to the course early this year for the few times the weather would allow. Not being able to play much was actually a plus in testing because the swing is designed for the player who does not play on a daily basis and has little time for practice.

 

Nevogt is to be commended for not making outlandish claims in his advertising. He promises saving considerable strokes, but does not promise par golf for someone who is on the far side of 90.

So how does this swing measure up? First, the name is appropriate, because it IS a simple swing. He reduces the many variables in the swing to essentially one, what he calls timing and what others might call the rolling of the hands and forearms through the hitting area. This certainly adds consistency to anyone’s game.

 

Second, the swing is easy to learn. After reading the manual and studying the pictures for about an hour, Dr. Putt tried it at the range one evening at the end of a regular practice session just as it was getting dark. He had about time for ten shots. All were solid. If Dr. Putt were to characterize the feel one gets with this swing, it is that it provides amazingly solid ball contact with minimal effort in a very compact swing.

 

Third, the swing does not look terribly unconventional, so the player will not feel that she or he will look weird on the course. How one feel one looks is an issue for most of us insecure players on the course. It looks something like a three quarters swing to the casual observer.

 

How many strokes will it save you? For Dr. Putt, who infrequent play gives him a high single digit handicap, it saved a few strokes a round largely because of the more consistent contact. For a player in the double digits, the stroke will almost certainly produce greater savings.

 

Any caveats? Dr. Putt at first thought the swing produced some loss in distance. And indeed it does when compared to the best shots with a conventional or the Natural Golf swing. But when averaging all shots, there was no loss at all, again due to the more consistent ball contact.

 

Dr. Putt did have to make some adjustments in ball position from what was suggested. Nevogt advises that the ball should stay very close to the center of the stance on all shots. Dr. Putt found that in order to make ball contact on the upswing for drives and long woods, the ball had to be moved further forward and to produce backspin for short clubs the ball had to be moved further back than Nevogt advocated. Of course this adds a second variable, and complicates things just a bit, but not too much.

 

Dr. Putt also found that the low hands position advocated did not work for him consistently. Frequently Dr. Putt’s arms would straighten out on the downswing, and without other compensating movements (which are eliminated in this swing), would produce heel hits. The easy thing to do was to raise the hands a little and stand a little further from the ball. This had the added advantage of slightly increasing the arc of the swing, which increases club head speed.

 

Having made the relatively minor adjustments, Dr. Putt is very happy with the “simple swing.” He plans to use it for at least the first part of the 2004 season to see how low he can go with it.

 

Should you buy it for the advertised price of $47? The answer depends on a number of factors. If you are having trouble in breaking 100, most definitely. If you are having trouble breaking 90, yes. If you are having trouble breaking 80, it is not a bad idea, especially if you have limited time to practice. If you are consistently in the 70s and want to shoot par, only if you are adventuresome and want to try something different. If you hit your drives in the 250+ range consistently, you will probably not like the swing. If you are losing flexibility as you grow older, it is a great swing to consider, as it places much less stress on the spine and hips than a conventional swing.

 

You can learn more about this swing at its website:

 

http://www.golfswingguru.com

 

For the record, Dr. Putt did not receive any compensation for this review. The only benefit was a copy of the e-book and some fun in trying it out.

 

 

Remember to check the “Dear Dr. Putt web site” for all your putting questions – a search feature allows you to look up almost any subject you like.

 

Go to http://www.drputt.com/deardrputt/deardrputt.php

 

 

Past newsletters are also on the index, so check back there if you missed one. They will also come up using the search feature. They are linked at the bottom of the “Dear Dr. Putt” Webpage. Or you can go to them directly at

 

http://www.drputt.com/Newsletters/

 

If you have not yet discovered the many advantages of the EOB putting system, including keeping the “quiet eye,” check it out. As most of you know, the EOB system really works!

 

Go to http://www.drputt.com/overview.php

 

Dr. Putt wishes you an early spring!

 

Best regards,

Dr. Putt

 

 

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