After a long hot summer Dr. Putt is finally enjoying some cool times on the golf course. This was one of the most hot and humid summers in memory. Let us hope for more temperate times -- though that does not appear likely, at least on the political front!
Speaking of hot, Dr. Putt has a really hot idea to share that initial testing appears most promising -- the "No Look Putt." This is such an intriguing idea that Dr. Putt will address just this single idea in this newsletter. In fact, it wins Dr. Putt's the "putting idea of the year" award for 2010.
In the interest of full disclosure, Dr. Putt must admit that this award might be seen as controversial in that the judge and idea source are the same person--Dr. Putt! To be sure, while many good ideas do come from readers, this one Dr. Putt stumbled onto by himself. However, please let Dr. Putt know if you have heard this idea elsewhere! Regardless, Dr. Putt will still claim that he independently found it.
Here are the two basic insights that led to this idea. First, it is well known that after engaging in any sort of practice movement, such as a practice stroke in which one feels the distance while looking at the hole, memory is lost at an accelerating rate as time passes. Therefore, one should perform the actual movement as soon as possible after the practice.
Second, things never quite look the same when viewed from a different perspective. Therefore, when viewing the hole from over the putt, the line may look a little different than when viewed from behing the ball, which is amost universally seen as the best place from which to read a putt and see the line. Typically players today place their ball with a straight line drawn on it so that this line is aimed along the intended line of the putt.
Once one is committed to that line, why look again just before executing the stroke? That last glance may lead to doubt about the line and reduce committment to it. Envisioning the ball falling into the hole is one reason to take that look. But, it is equally likely that one may envision some negative things, especially if the putt is difficult and in a pressure situation.
So if one is committed to the line that was determined when the ball was placed, then why do anything that turns a constant into a variable? Just focus on putting along that line with the same stroke just rehearsed!
Conclusion: just skip the "look" step in executing the stroke. Place the ball with the line properly aimed. Commit yourself to that line. Take one or two practice strokes from beside the ball while looking at the hole to get a feel for distance. Then step up to the ball, pick your focus point, and use whatever trigger you employ to execute the stroke just rehearsed. Think about nothing other than taking that stroke along the line and through the ball.
In this "no look putt," you have cut a couple of seconds out from rehearsal to execution. You have eliminated a major source of potential distraction and tension. You have bypassed any last second doubts to your line. And you have focused on the one and only thing that is important once you have the line determined and the distance rehearsed--putting along the intended line.
Please give this a try! And let Dr. Putt know what you think! Unless you are really happy with what you are doing now, this should improve the consistency of putts at all distances.
The coming winter is a great time to work in something new! Dr. Putt wishes you a great fall playing season and a not too cold winter.
Just in case you were wondering, yes, this idea can be extended to a full shot--the "no look swing!" In fact, that is where Dr. Putt got the idea. He had been having some vision issues that made the usual "looking up" in his full shot routine worthless. So he eliminated this step. If you have the line already established by an imaginary line from the ball to a piece of grass or divot, then after you establish your feet parallel to that line, you really do not need to look up again. It makes every shot like a shot on the driving range--minimal distractions--just swing along that line with the club and swing that hits the correct distance. This worked quite well and had the same advantages of the "no look putt." So it occurred to Dr. Putt that this idea might be applied to putting--and he did!