Dear Friends,

Dr. Putt wishes all of you a Happy New Year and hopes that it brings all of you peace and happiness!

This newsletter will focus on five topics that merit some thought at a time of year when we often assess things.

1) Putter Test and the EOB Alignment and Aiming device

2) Why we are never satisfied -- and why that is satisfying!

3) Listen to your body -- Dr. Putt didn't and is paying the price

4) Tribute to Moe Norman

5) Best advice to take from the last year

1) Putter Test and the EOB Alignment and Aiming device

This past November Golf Magazine did a putter test in which a variety of players tried out twenty different putters. The methodology seemed pretty sound. Some putters were better for short putts and some for long putts. But because we have putts of all lengths, Dr. Putt feels the acid test was the average miss.

The Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter and the Ping G2i Anser tied for the least average miss distance. The Odyssey sells for $215 retail and the Anser for $130.

Interestingly, the EOB Aiming and Alignment Device was originally designed for the Anser series of putters to give it improved accuracy and visual feedback. The 2-Ball, which was developed after the EOB device, provides some of the same feedback, but without any cue for positioning the ball under the eyes. See the comparison at:

Your best bet? If you already have an Anser series putter, keep using it with the EOB device. If you want the 2-ball, get an Anser instead and add the EOB device -- you save about $65!

2) Why we are never satisfied -- and why that is satisfying!

As Dr. Putt looks back over his own experiments in the golf swing during the past year, he is struck with two things.

First, although we all seek improvement, we are never satisfied even when we do improve. We seek perfection. Of course this is impossible. Even those with the greatest talent and support rarely achieve perfection for more than a short while. But that is the quest of golf.

Second, we keep at it, thinking that only one or two little changes will lead to a magical swing that propels the ball like a dart to the target. Although it may seem so, golf is not all or nothing, managing errors is probably as important as a solid swing. That is why we probably should all spend more time on "recovery" strokes, pitching, chipping, putting and work in the sand trap. Golf is a journey with lots of breakdowns. But we find some success just often enough to keep us going. If we are wise enough, we will simply enjoy the journey knowing that fialures make the seemingly random successes all that much sweeter.

3) Listen to your body -- Dr. Putt didn't and is paying the price

Our bodies tell us things, even when we are not listening. In October Dr. Putt experienced a physical and psychological crash. He lost 20 pounds and could barely make it to teach his classes. Even hitting balls on the range was more than he could manage. What he thought was a severe sinus infection turned out to be something called Grave's Disease. The warning signs had been there for nearly a year: tremors in the hands, loss in strength, depression, anxiety, and a notable loss in the intellectual thought process, and some loss in verbal capabilities. After a difficult couple of months, Dr. Putt is on the mend, walking 18 holes again and playing basketball with students at the university.

Had Dr. Putt listened to the clear warning signs, he might have avoided the worst of these problems. But he did not. And he lost nearly three months of his life.

Here is the point. If you see real changes in your body, and many of these changes show up in your golf game, seek a medical screening. It could help your game. And it could even save your life.

The upside for Dr. Putt is that he flet surviving all this merited a reward. So Dr. Putt just completed building a new set of clubs. He birdied his first hole and had a 74 in his first round with the new sticks. But of course some of this was the classic placebo effect and soon again he had his usual ups and downs--see poijt two above about satisfaction and the journey!.

4. Tribute to the late Moe Norman

Moe Norman passed away this past fall. He will be remembered for being one of the greatest ball strikers ever and for developing one of the most unique swings ever.

While his swing remains controversial, all students of the game agree that we have lost one of the most colorful and unique figures in the rich history of the game. Dr. Putt has been employing the single plane golf wwing off and on for the last several years and concluded that it has some definite advantages: it reduces the number of variables that can go awry, it is easier on the back and joints, and holds up well under pressure. Critics would argue that one sacrifices distance with this approach, and that may well be true. But the tradeoff for consistency seems reasonable to Dr. Putt.

What can we all learn from Norman's swing? There is more than one way to hit a golf ball. The ball reacts to speed and the angle and direction of approach along with the angle of the club face (open or closed), and where struck on the club face. That is it! While some ways make all this more likely, the ball does not care how you set up or how you got there.

5) Best advice to take from the last year

Dr. Putt has read a lot of things and tried many of them in the past year. Here are the best two.

Stay connected in when starting your backswing. What this means is that the arms, shoulders, and torso start back together as a unit. If you keep your back straight and rotate the torso around the spine, you will put much less strain on your back and improve your chances of success in striking the ball correctly with with less effort. And yes, Dr. Putt knows that this seems to contradict his comments on Moe Norman above--though he would note that Norman was very connected in his backswing!

Number two. Stay positive and confident. Dr. Putt got this one from Bob Rotella. When two equally talented people play each other and one is more confident than the other, the confident one usually wins.

Easily said but much harder to do. So how do you get more confident? Think of some success you have had in life and then focus on your usual routine. If you focus on getting the process right, the results will usually take care of themselves.

Best regards
Dr. Putt