The Secret in the Dirt Blog
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Geoff Mangum Featured Blogger
Golfers always want to know WHETHER I teach a straight-back, straight-thru stroke OR an inside-square-inside "arcing" stroke. I think BOTH are wrong-headed and misleading. What the golfer needs is a "gun that shoots straight the right distance" every time wherever he aims the "gun", either defined as wherever the putter face ends up aiming at address or at least wherever the golfer's usual stroke action will roll the ball out of the setup (if along a line different than the putter face's aim).
This being the case, the backstroke is merely prelude to the all-important forward stroke or thru-stroke. While it is undoubtedly a capital idea to learn and practice a stroke in which the backstroke causes no more added requirements or difficulties to the thru-stroke than absolutely necessary, the deep skill of the stroke resides in dealing with WHATEVER backstroke actually occurs in order to perform the thru-stroke. This "recovery" skill allows the golfer to focus primarily upon the forward stroke and substitutes simple backstroke-monitoring for problem detection and recovery in place of the worrisome execution of an ideal backstroke in and of itself. Beside, no matter what you hope to do in the backstroke, the "imperfect" backstroke will always show up, so you have to know what to do about it. It's golf.
The function of the putting grip is to weld the tool into the body so the body action matters. When the setup adapts to the aimed putter face, the handle's flat surface matches / parallels the aim line of the putter face. Flattening the thumbprint onto this flat handle surface, then, welds the aim of the putter face into the body. Specifically, a flattened thumbprint means that whatever the alignment of the shoulders, hips, and feet at address, that static position represents SQUARE / ONLINE putter face at impact. But with a firm and steady grip pressure during the stroke, the relationship of body to putter face matters and stroke path or plane per se does not.
The backstroke might wander out of square orientation, and conventional golf teaching emphasizes keeping the putter face "square to the stroke path". Well, that's not the trick. The trick is to keep the putter face welded in relationship preferably to the shoulders and chest or at least to the forearms and hands. Then, so long as the static address position is re-achieved and then maintained thru impact, the ball is impacted square and online. It's about the body movement that moves the tool, not "the movement of the putter" on a path or plane....
Recently I have really been realizing how correct it is to know the game of golf does not know your name or anyone's. The shot requires X, and if the player doesn't deliver, the shot doesn't work out. In putting, the world requires a certain delivery speed (a range, but yours in particular), and that determines the only possible path, and that determines the only possible aim, and that requires the player roll the ball wherever the putter face aims, and then full circle the golfer must send the ball with the same (usual) pace that was used to read the putt to begin with. There is nothing personal about it.
Now, the brain has two aspects -- subjective conscious awareness of thoughts and feelings and body state and emotions and memories; and then the non-conscious processes of perception and movement in the brain as organ of tissue and in the body as wired by the nerves and muscles operated by the brain. In modern neuroscience, the past twenty years of research have added to human knowledge 300 times more than known in human history prior to 1990, and almost ALL of that new knowledge is about the NON-conscious processes. The interesting thing is that the body and the non-conscious brain are not at all interested in the MIND, and are totally connected and responsive to ONLY the world as it really is in the external reality outside the mind....
At the British Open, putting is how you win, provided the ballstriking accuracy and smart play around the obstacles and in the wind is working on song. So how'd the 77 players who finished the 2010 Open putt around St Andrews?
In general, the field was about 3-4 strokes more per round than usually seen on the PGA Tour greens, where the field putting typically spans the range of 105 to 125 putts. At St Andrews the field span ranged from 120 to 138 putts, so that's 3.75 putts per round higher than usual. The field also averaged 4.6 three-putts, or more than 1 each day, which is 3-4 more than usual for a 4-day event on the PGA Tour....
Yesterday 20-year old PuttingZone student Jin Jeong swept the British Amateur matches with absolutely stunning putting, dropping three consecutive birdie bombs outside 20 feet to close out the runner up 5 & 4 at Muirfield. he now is in the British Open at St Andrews and the US Masters, unless he turns pro. Jin also won the Tasmanian Open earlier. He is the Number 1 ranked amateur player in the world by a wide margin, with 7300 points over #2 Peter Uihlein at 5600 points. Uihlein is a former student of PuttingZone Academy coach Tim Sheredy, Sarasota FL, when Peter attended the David Leadbetter Junior Academy in Bradenton FL. So PuttingZone players are #1 and #2 in the World Rankings.
Just a few moments ago, PuttingZone player Chris Baker of Brownsville IN overcame a 3-shot Sunday deficit and won his first-ever entry on the European Challenge Tour (Rabat, Morocco) by 2 shots with a final 4-under bogey free round. Chris began working with me earlier this year after missing three cuts on the egolf Professional (Tarheel) Tour, and immediately finished runner-up -- that finish also earned his entry into the European Challenge Tour event in Rabat, Morocco. Two weeks later he broke through and won on the Tarheel Tour. Then he notched a T6 and now he has won in Morocco. Chris has gone from 3 MCs to two wins, a runner-up, and a T6 in 7 events since becoming a PuttingZone student, with over $90,000 in earnings. Big things ahead.