A Few Putting Tips By Dave Stockton

Putting is a very personal part of any players golf game. Each golfer will develop a routine, stroke, and follow through that works for what they eye sees or body feels. Dave Stockton is a renown putter and he offers some interesting putting tips that have me thinking about my short grass game. A couple of his suggestions are new to me, but the more I think about it, the more I think they might be beneficial to my and your game.

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Reading The Signs

Reading obvious signs in life are very important!  Sometimes, it can mean the difference between life and death.  Not trying to be dramatic, in golf if can mean the difference between a good score and a great score.

Yesterday, I returned from my vacation.  It was a long drive home and we decided to leave in the middle of the night to make sure we made it back home at a reasonable time.  After about three hours into the trip, we were the first to come across a single vehicle accident. The vehicle was on its roof and the driver was thrown from the car and was lying in the middle of the road.  He was banged up pretty bad, but fortunately he was alive. (Our prayers go out to him for a quick and healthy recovery.)  Unfortunately, he was lying in the middle of the road.  It took some time, but my wife and I managed to call 911, secure the scene and get the injured person off the middle of the road.  Fortunately, everything worked out alright, but it was quite scary for a while.


Read the Sign!

During the time when the ambulance, transport safety personnel and the police arrived is the focus of this blog.  Being so dark, I had my hazard flashers on and was pulled off to the side of the road.  As the first car arrived, I stood in front of my headlights and waved like a frantic mad man.  I did not want to leave the injured guy, but he was still in the middle of the road and I was afraid the drive would not stop in time.  Fortunately, the drive saw me and slowed down enough to realize the serious and dangerous situation.  I asked him to back up and stop traffic until the ambulance arrived.  He willing helped.  After ten cars were stopped, some became impatient, regardless of the potential dangers, drove around the accident scene and left. Thanks for the help!

First on the scene, the ambulance arrived and took the guy to the hospital.  Then, more impatient people drove over broken glass, around debris, and basically ignored all the signs of danger.  Next on the scene was a highway safety guy.  He turned all his hazard lights on (this is the guys you see with the big yellow lights at highway construction sites telling us to slow down or move to a particular lane) and he put out large danger signs about 100 yards up the road.  This is when I felt the most in danger.  People were speeding up to the site and applied the brakes in the last 10 yards!  Some did not even slow down until they say the overturned vehicle, then realized it was dangerous!  A couple did slow down, and I thank them for following the hazard signs.  The high safety guy said that most people did not follow the signs and potentially increase the risk of even more injuries.  WOW, I would not have believed it, until I saw it!

A big thanks to all the emergency response people who put their lives at risk everyday! We can do our part by reading and following the signs!

So how does this scary situation apply to golf?  Great question!  There are many times golfers have great rounds going and lose focus about what is happening around them. They become so engrossed in their own shot, they forget to read the signs of possible hazards that can really affect their score.  It has happened to everyone, but the top players try to reduce impact of the hazards by remaining focused and reading the signs.

Image from: http://globalnews.ca/news/793798/life-on-the-edge-things-to-consider-if-you-live-on-a-golf-course/

Here are a few signs that most golfers should pay attention too if they want to score well:

  • Sign:  The ball flight his moving left to right or is short more than anticipated.  Tip:  Look at the tops of the trees before making a shot.  Most golfers, when playing well, have a tendency not to look up.  The movement of the leaves will show how strong the wind is blowing and in what direction.
  • Sign:  A player cannot reach the green or the risk/reward is too high.  Tip:  Selecting a club to set up your next shot is very important.  Most amateurs have a “grip it and rip it” attitude.  They hit the ball as far as possible all the time; not thinking about what distance will be left or stance they will have for the next shot.  Sometimes, it is easier to hit a bit shorter to have a better shot into the green.
  • Sign:  The pin is in a real tough position, tucked behind a bunker or very close to the edge of the green.  Tip:  The shot before your approach shot is the important stroke. This shot will allow you to set up the most advantageous angle into the green.  The proper approach angle will reduce strokes and instill confidence when hunting for pins.
  • Sign:  The greens are not rolling the same throughout your round.  Tip:  Be aware that the greens change given the time of day.  As your game progress, the speed and break of the green will change.  Early morning changes are caused by the greens drying out; late day changes are caused by the grass following the sun, thereby changing the grain of the green.

Reading the signs in life and golf will have a direct impact on the outcome.  It is important to be aware of what is happening around you and read the signs to make sure you stay ahead of any changes that could affect your golf game.  Golf is a dynamic game that always provides the signs that can result in great scores.  You just have to read and follow them.

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