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Perfect Tempo and Rhythm in Putting for Free

Posted by on in Putting
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Hi Dirters,

I made a discovery in physics that I don't think anyone in history has ever known (or articulated) before and it has BIG IMPLICATIONS for touch in putting, that most important part of the putting game that no one in golf has ever seriously tried to understand. It's this: if you toss a swing seat on a child's swing set back and up against gravity, the time it takes to coast to a stop is ALWAYS EXACTLY THE SAME and is also ALWAYS EXACTLY EQUAL TO THE METRONMIC TEMPO OF THAT SWING, given its length.

Let me explain: the timing of any pendulum is determined completely ONLY by the length of the pendulum. A metronome is an upside-down pendulum, and its timing back and forth depends ONLY on the length of the "rod" from pivot to the "bob". The "bob" on a metronome slides up and down the rod in order to change the length, and therefore change the timing or tempo, which is the total swing time from one side to the other. But once the bob sets the length of the pendulum, there is ONLY one time that the metronome could possibly swing in. The same is true of a pendulum with the bob hanging down.

For example, consider a conventional putter of 35 inches length. If the top of the handle is fixed with a small segment of string embedded in the top of the handle and then the end of the string tied to a hook, with the putter hanging straight down to the putter head 35 inches below the hook, this putter can swing back and forth like a pendulum with ONLY one possible tempo. That tempo depends solely upon the length of the pendulum -- here, 35 inches. At least for an "ideal pendulum" as opposed to a "real or physical pendulum" with oddities of mass and shape in the pendulum rod and bob. And even for a real pendulum, whatever influence the oddities might have, the timing ends up being ONLY one possible timing that never varies when the pendulum is made to swing by the world's physics (i.e., gravity).

The tempo that the earth swings a 35-inch pendulum is not a mystery, but is easily calculated and even more easily simply observed. If you time one, it is always ONLY 0.99 seconds from top of backstroke to top of follow-thru, and 1.9 seconds from top of backstroke to top of follow-thru and then back to the top of the backstroke. here is the online calculator that let's you see how different lengths have unique timing: http://www.calctool.org/CALC/phys/newtonian/pendulum. That's very close to one second from top to the other top.

The reason a 35-inch putter has this inherent timing that is close to one second is because a "meter stick" was originally defined as the length of a stick that takes exactly one second to swing as a pendulum. A "meter" is in English (outdated) units the same as 39.37 inches, not much longer than a conventional putter. The shorter putter takes a little less time to swing in gravity than does the meter stick, as shorter is quicker, and longer is slower.

All that being said, now consider tossing a 35-inch putter hanging as a pendulum rod and bob back with some impulse so that it then swings back down and thru. The "discovery" is that no matter how strong the toss-back (up to the point where the angle of the backstroke exceeds about 35 degrees), the time it takes gravity opposing the swinging up to the top of the backstroke to slow the putter to a STOP is always and only the same time the putter as a metronomic pendulum takes to swing from top to top. This is true for ALL pendulum lengths AND for all impulse forces tossing them into their swinging AND for all sizes of strokes (inside about 35 degrees).

What this means for TOUCH is astonishing! It basically means no golfer has to do anything to get perfect tempo and rhythm other than start the backstroke with a toss. Now, the golfer has to have also the correct level of force to match what the putt requires for distance and pace, but that is basically instinctive paying attention to the world as it is with the sharply defined intentionality to send the ball not any short of the hole but more saliently not too far past the back of the hole. Those accurate perceptions with the right intentionality set the impulse level, as I have gleaned from 25 years of neuroscience study applied to putting skills. But with the right level of force for the initial toss of the backstroke, that's it: the TIMING that results in the correct SIZE of the stroke at the top of the backstroke demands NOTHING AT ALL OF THE GOLFER, and then the TIMING in the down-and-thru stroke also DEMANDS NOTHING OF THE GOLFER. The Earth handles the down-and-thru stroke with EXACTLY the same timing the golfer gets by doing his part in the backstroke. And when the tempo timing back matches the tempo timing down and thru, that pattern is termed 1-to-1 "rhythm".

A golfer who forms the intentionality to the target distance with this tempo-rhythm musicality operative is one for whom the non-conscious brain sets the impulse level tuned to the space of the putt. Then the EXPRESSION of this tuned-force in the motion, having been set in reliance upon the golfer USING the same tempo-rhythm timing in the motion, uses the same tempo-rhythm to "get and spend" the force by sizing the backstroke and timing the down and thru stroke. Different size stroke result in different impact speeds of the putter head peaking at the bottom of the pendulum swing, and the brain sets the right size and therefore the right impact speed and force of putter head thru ball, as is required by the world.

The only aspects of all this the golfer has to get right are: 1) pay attention to and perceive the space in terms of ewhat matters with the sharply defined intentionality (this sets the impulse level instinctively for the toss back in the motion to come); 2) respect whatever impulse the body uses when the golfer acts in the musical dance with the usual tempo and rhythm; 3) toss the arms and hands and putter into the backstroke with that impulse with no care at all about how big the stroke should be or in fact gets or how long it takes (this correctly sizes the backstroke for the space); and 4) do nothing but witness the Earth bring the arms and hands and putter back down and thru impact to the other top of the follow-thru with the exact same tempo timing of the backstroke (which delivers exactly what peak speed the sizing inherently was supposed to deliver).

In other words, once the golfer pays attention and tosses the backstroke, he's DONE. The perfect tempo-rhythm timing is completely free every stroke.

That's the pattern of the physics on Earth, and the body is completely trained in this pattern. What's new is this free timing business. Not only is the impulse-setting that sizes the stroke "instinctive" given accurate perceptions and intentionality to the space that tunes the body -- it is also IMPOSSIBLE to mess up the tempo and the rhythm of the stroke motion if the golfer simply uses the impulse to toss the arms and hands and putter back at the start of the backstroke. That's it. Nothing else is required for perfect distance control.

Over and out. I should get a BIG prize for this one. Just sayin' ...

Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist

Geoff Mangum

Hi Dirters! My Flatstick Forum now has over 1,500 threads based upon golfers' asking me questions about putting and putters and players and training aids and putting history and greens etc., each with 2-3 response posts by me, so that is between 3,000 and 4.500 detailed, comprehensive replies I've written in recent years. So here's the link: www.network54.com/Forum/52812/.

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