NEW AND IMPROVED!
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS
I would like to demonstrate a unique training aid that will help you become a better Putter. However, before I do, I would like to remind you of five concepts that are vital in understanding how this practice routine will significantly improve your putting skills.
Every putt must start on a straight line and the putter’s face must be squared to the ball and the selected line.
“Muscle memory”, the creation of neural pathways, is necessary in order to perform a repeatable motion.
“Quiet Eye®” is when your gaze is completely focused on a spot near the ball, especially at the time, and beyond the time of impact of the putter with the ball. So whether the putter or the ball move, your eyes must remain on that fixed spot.
You must have one simple thought in mind, (think mantra e.g. a thousand-one) because any extraneous thoughts will interfere with the putting stroke.
You must putt with a stable, quiet lower body, meaning not moving your hips or shifting your weight.
TWO POPULAR METHODS OF PUTTING ARE:
2. The Arc method
The SilkStroke® Putting aid uses the straight-in-line method, as it is simpler and more reliable. Be sure to choose the style you want in the drop-down when ordering.
Your objective is to learn to perform a specific movement, a pendulum motion, executed by the large and small muscles of your shoulders, upper and lower back, in a precise and repeatable way.
You will be making fine adjustments with your shoulders to keep the putter’s face parallel to the vertical lines on the putting grid and to keep the pendulum motion of the putter on a straight line.
Your goal is to perform a motion described “as smooth as silk”, thus the trades mark SilkStroke®.
This practice routine should be done 10-15 minutes per session, three to four days per week, in the comfort of your own home.
HOW DOES ONE EXECUTE A PENDULUM MOTION?
To get the feeling of what it is like to use your shoulders to move the putter across the putting grid, do the following:
1. Place a round wooden stick (3 ft long and ½ inch in diameter) or one of your clubs, like a 4-iron, across your upper chest and hold either one with your folded arms in place, as illustrated in one of the videos.
2. Stand in an athletic position, with knees bent slightly and your chest leaning forward a little bit, as in a putting position.
3. Begin to rock both shoulders simultaneously, one side up and the other down, observing the ends of the stick also moving up and down and not sideways.
4. Think about what you’re feeling when you’re moving the shoulders this way while maintaining an athletic stance and not moving your head and hips or swaying your lower body from side to side.
5. The energy generated by the shoulders is going to be used to move in unison: the arms, wrists, fingers, putter and the ball in a reproducible manner.
GUIDELINES FOR OBTAINING BEST RESULTS:
1. Place the putting training aid on a level floor.
2. Select the most comfortable grip. You should use a light grip, on a scale from 1-10, consider a 2-3.
3. Address the image of the ball on the center of the grid as you would address a real ball. In putting, this address is ¼ to ½ inch behind the ball, because you want the pendulum stroke to reach bottom and then make contact with the ball as it begins to rise on the forward stroke, giving the ball a nice rolling forward motion.
4. Make sure you match the center of mass of the putter with the center of the ball.
5. Your stance should be an athletic stance with your knees bent slightly and your feet at shoulder’s width or closer.
6. Adjust the bend of your knees so that the club’s bottom is slightly above the surface of the grid.
7. Begin to move the putter’s face by slowly rocking your shoulders up and down smoothly. An important comment about your breathing: if you can, breathe slowly in and out through your nose. Time your breathing close to the tempo of your pendulum stroke, breathing in on the way back and breathing out on the way forward. Do not hold your breath, sigh or take a big breath during putting.
8. At first, the movement of the putter’s face should be a short distance, from -3 inches to +3 inches. Start at a slow pace so that you can stop the movement of the putter at will at either end of its travel. This will allow you to check if the putter’s face is squared to the perpendicular lines of the grid.
9. At this time, keep your head still but your eyes can gaze at the putter in order to maintain the putter’s face parallel to the vertical lines on the grid. You need to slightly close the putter’s face on the way back and to open it slightly on the way forward. This will take some practice, but once you get it, it will feel normal.
10. After you master a -3 to +3 inches excursion, increase the distance to -4 to +4 and then to -5 to +5 inches.
11. Once you are comfortable with the above movements, you must learn to stop your eyes from gazing at the putter and focus your eyes on a small dot printed on the mat behind the ball; remember this is what “Quiet eyes® is all about.
12. Practice with a tempo that is comfortable for you, and proceed to master the full length of the training aid with confidence.
13. The length of the back and forward strokes should be the same, but never shorter on the forward motion. For example a -3 to +3 or -3 to +4, are acceptable, but never a -3 to +2!
14. How far the ball travels should be determined by the length of the pendulum stroke only and not by a change in pace.
Video of the inventor, Al Jalowayski using the Square to Square SilkStroke putting aid:
Putting is a deceptively simple maneuver. If done incorrectly it can account for a large number of strokes added to your final score. Done correctly and you are certain to shoot lower scores.
So, what is the simple answer?
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Measure your improvement at home using a 2’ by 8’ Putting Mat, which one can purchase at any sporting goods store. Place the mat on a level floor and after each training session; execute 10 putts in a row from a distance of 6 or 7 feet.
Record the percentage of putts made and those missed to the right and/or to the left. Your goal is to make 100% of the putts from this distance, under ideal conditions. Do this routinely and you will build your confidence in your putting skills.
It has been said that golf is not a game of “perfect”. This putting technique does not guarantee that you will make every putt. But I believe that if you fully understand the five basic concepts discussed earlier and that if you practice using the SilkStroke® Putting aid, your putting will improve measurably.
Vickers, J.N. (2007). Perception, cognition, and decision training: The quiet eye in action. Champaign, IL: Sheridan Books.
Vickers, J.N. (2004). The quiet eye: It’s the difference between a good putter and a poor one. Golf Digest, January, 96-101.
Pelz, D. (2000). Dave Pelz’s putting bible: The complete guide to mastering the green. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Pelz, D. (2013). Roll putts fast…or try dying. Golf Magazine, November, 43.
Hilts, A. (2013). How to putt with perfect speed. Golf Magazine, June, 66.
Hall, M. (2014). Putt for dough. School of Golf: Golf Channel Academy, January.
Hall, M. (2014).The art and science of putting. School of Golf: Golf Channel Academy, January.
Hall, M. (2014). Putt like a pro. School of Golf: Golf Channel Academy, January.
Schonbrun, Z. (2017). Keep Your Eye on the Balls. The New York Times, Sports Sunday, January 8.