The Sweet Spot on Your Putter

Every club has a sweet spot! It is that one place on the club face where the ball reacts as intended by travelling straight and long. Most golfers understand this simple concept when they talk about their driver, irons or wedges. But most amateurs do not think the same way when they use their putter.

When making a putt, the intent is to make solid, square contact between the putter head and the ball. To find the sweet spot on your putter, look at the back and you will see a dot or a line indicating the centre or sweet spot of your putter. Sometimes there is a line on top of the putter head that can be used as a guide during your putting stroke.

Putt Centre

Centre

Hitting the all in the centre of your club face is very important. By doing so, the ball will bounce off the putter consistently every time. Also, it helps with judging the speed of the ball because the same stroke will produce the same distance every time. By hitting the ball off-centre of the putter face, the ball will not travel as far as it normally would. This contact inconsistency sometimes leads players to think the green is slow, but in fact it is the fault of the putting stroke.

Putt Toe

Toe

Unintentionally hitting the ball off the toe of the club causes the club face to open. The result is the ball will travel right of line (for right-handed players). Additionally, the ball will not travel as far as discussed above. Now, sometimes players, including myself, will intentionally hit the ball off the toe of their putter. This is usually done when the greens are very fast, you have a slick down hill putt or a hard breaking putt from right to left. For me, when I intentionally hit the ball off the toe, I ever so slightly grip tighter with my left hand to make sure the putter face remains square during contact.

Putt Heel

Heel

Unintentionally hitting the ball off the heel causes the club face to close. As a result the ball will start left of its intended line (for right-handed players). The ball will not travel as far either. I never intentionally hit the ball off the heel, but logic would suggest the results would be opposite than hitting it off the toe. Maybe one of the readers can help us out with their explanation of intentionally hitting the ball of the heel of their putter.

I try to intentionally hit the ball in the centre of my putter most of the time. To practice hitting the sweet spot, I use two tees on either side of the putter head. The tees are just wide enough so the putter can travel through when making my stroke. It is important to pay attention to the placement of the ball in between the two tees. You want to make sure you are placing the ball in line with the putter sweet spot.

Lastly, the three putter drills provided in the video below are new. I have not seen them before and think they would great for us house bound players waiting for the snow to melt. My favorite drill is the first one. Which is yours?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links.

 

Mental Toughness and Golf

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Strength of mind propelled Tiger Woods to dominate the golfing world!

Mental toughness is the cornerstone of golf. Arnold Palmer thinks so and I am sure if you ask any golfer they would agree! The picture above reminds me of Tiger Woods in his prime! In his early years, Tiger was almost unstoppable. Yes he had a great swing, soft touch and a deadly putting stroke, but mostly he was mentally superior to all players.

Every time he hit the links, the knew he was going to win. Obviously Tiger did not win every tournament he entered, but his record speaks for itself:

  1. Woods has won 79 official PGA Tour events, second only to Sam Snead, and six ahead of Jack Nicklaus with 73 wins.
  2. Woods has won 14 majors, second all time, behind Jack Nicklaus.
  3. Woods is 14–1 when going into the final round of a major with at least a share of the lead.
  4. Woods scoring average in 2000 is the lowest in PGA Tour history, both adjusted, 67.79, and unadjusted, 68.17.
  5. Woods has the lowest career scoring average in PGA Tour history.
  6. Woods has amassed the most career earnings of any player in PGA Tour history (even after inflation is considered).
  7. Woods is one of five players (along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player) to have won all four professional major championships in his career, known as the Career Grand Slam, and was the youngest to do so.
  8. Woods is the only player to have won all four professional major championships in a row, accomplishing the feat in the 2000–2001 seasons. This feat became known as the “Tiger Slam”.
  9. Woods set the all-time record for most consecutive cuts made, with 142. The streak started in 1998, he set the record at the 2003 Tour Championship with 114 (passing Byron Nelson’s previous record of 113 and Jack Nicklaus at 105) and extended this mark to 142 before it ended on May 13, 2005 at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Many consider this to be one of the most remarkable golf accomplishments of all time, given the margin by which he broke the old record and given that during the streak, the next longest streak by any other player was usually only in the 10s or 20s. It should be noted that when Byron Nelson played far fewer players made the cut in a given event.
  10. Woods has won a record 26.2% (79 out of 301) of his professional starts on the PGA Tour.
  11. Woods is the only golfer to have won the U.S. Amateur three consecutive times (1994–96). (Source Wikipedia)

In my opinion, Tiger Woods current woes are mental. I am confident that if he was a mentally strong as he was in 2000, he would continue with his winning ways. Mentally, he is one of the strongest players to ever play professional golf. I am not sure how he regains his mental toughness, but if he does, he will be a force to contend with!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Pareto’s Principle and Golf

In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country, observing that twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the wealth. In the late 1940s, Dr. Joseph M. Juran inaccurately attributed the 80/20 Rule to Pareto, calling it Pareto’s Principle. While it may be misnamed, Pareto’s Principle or Pareto’s Law as it is sometimes called, can be a very effective tool to help you manage effectively. (about money)

Wow, how does this interesting economic factoid influence your golf game, you may ask? Let me explain it in another way. The Pareto principle, also known as the 80–20 rule, states that, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. So basically, when working on your golf game, make sure practice time on the 20 percent that really matters.

Pareto's Law Works In Golf!

Pareto’s Law Works In Golf!

Those 20 percent produce 80 percent of your results. Identify and focus on those things. For example, I had trouble is chipping from 50 yards. I did not focus on the real issue that was common to all chips, but focused on each individual challenge. Before, I never distributed most of my weight to my front foot when chipping. I had an even distribution of weight on both feet. The result was I scooped the ball often and was short on most of my chip shots. I tried many things like changing clubs, a different ball, more hand motion, less hand motion, etc….basically I was focusing on the 80%. Once I figured out that I needed to have more weight on my front foot, all my chips improved and positive results occurred during all my chips from within 50 yards.

I believe in Pareto’s Principle. It can be applied to all areas of my life, especially my golf game. I now take a different approach to improving my golf game, I look at the larger picture to see what area of improvement will benefit the most parts of my game.

This year, I am working on my swing sequence as discussed in previous posts. The bump, chest catch up, and complete follow through will be beneficial to all my full swings….focusing on this 20 percent that will affect the 80 percent.

What is your 20% this year?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!