PUTTING

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part 1-What is Peripheral Vision Putting?

The beauty of peripheral vision putting is that it’s more art than mechanics. Sure, there are certain fundamentals each putting stroke should adhere to, but it basically comes down to feel.  The best feeling stroke is one that flows smoothly from start to finish.  This stroke should be free of any mechanical conditions placed upon it.

A lot of attention is placed upon whether one’s style of putting is an inside down the line putting stroke or an inside to inside putting arc type of putting stroke, and so on.  The problem is that so much attention is given to moving the putter head a certain way that it becomes very mechanical in nature and under pressure it becomes very difficult to execute.  You lose the sense of a smooth flowing putting stroke.

Golf coaching peripheral vision was born out of necessity to help the golfer develop a different mind set to putting when the golfer has a severe case of the dreaded “yips”.  The “yips” is like having an uncontrollable cough that persists and when you think the cough is gone, under tournament pressure, it comes back with a vengeance .

The “yips” appears in 2 distinctive ways.

The first is speed mismanagement of the putter head.  A constant speed is necessary to hold a smooth putting stroke.  If the speed of stroke is varied, the putter head will not consistently strike the ball on line or with the correct pace for the precise distance of putt.  Think of it as over/under acceleration on the putting stroke.  This is why these golfers with the “yips” constantly leave their putts short on short putts and blow by the hole several feet on longer putts.  Stress and fear is now overwhelming their thought process while putting.

The second is an over-active hand action during the putting stroke.  An anticipation of ball contact festers in the thought process which creates a lack of confidence during the putting stroke.  Instead of having the feeling of moving the putter head through the ball, this golfer is trying to place the putter head on the golf ball creating a feel of hitting the golf ball during the stroke.  After many years of research it came down to one question.  How do I teach the “yip” golfer not to anticipate the putter head contacting with the golf ball?

One obvious drill was to have the golfer look at the golf hole during the putting stroke.  This eliminated the anticipation of putter head contact with ball, but was lousy with target line.  The ball was rolled beautifully, but had major alignment issues.  The other drill was to actually close the eyes during the stroke.  Yes, this too eliminated the anticipation of putter head contact with ball, but was terrible with pace of putt.  It was difficult to get the right speed for distance.

I knew I was close in solving the problem of the “yips” if I could combine these 2 “yip” drills in a way that would give a consistent target line and pace for distance.  This would create an awesome putting stroke and would hold up under pressure.  If the “yips” is considered the cancer in golf, then I’m proud to say that I have found the cure for cancer.  It took many years of trial and error to achieve an actual putting fundamental that everyone in golf can use to better their game.  Putting styles and philosophies are being taught the same as the full swing; i.e., from the ground up and  all putter training devices are focused on the putter head.  Wrong… For example, using training aids with putting alignment mirrors, putter guide boards and so on only sets the player to anticipate the putter head to contact the golf ball.   In contrast, the full swing is happening so fast it makes sense to first teach foot and leg work technique to achieve power and balance.  Just like building a Skyscraper, you start with the foundation, the ground upward.  But, in putting you must start with the head and shoulders and work your way down to the ground to eliminate anticipation strike of putter head and ball.   The shoulders do align with the target line when putting, because the shoulders motion is more vertical instead of rotational during the execution of the full swing.

The 2 T’s (target and toe lines) can be applied here, but toe line isn’t necessary.  You only need to get comfortable over the ball; therefore, a precise stance is not required for putting.  What is absolutely necessary is your shoulders must parallel the target line and must not deviate from that line while executing your putt.  Shoulders are more vertical in putting, like pistons in an engine.  Your head remains still and your eyes should be over the golf ball. The triangle is now the engine of your putting stroke.  Welcome to the world of Peripheral Putting.

This is the first part in a series explaining What peripheral putting is about.  Now that you have been introduced to what peripheral putting is; How to use peripheral putting will be in part 2 followed by Why use peripheral putting in part 3.