Any time you have a period of good scoring, putting always has to be an integral part of it. I have done many putting methods, and have battled the putting yips. One of the most unusual methods I did, was allowing my body to move during the stroke, when one of the basic fundamentals of putting, is to keep your body, dead still. This method worked extremely well, and helped bring me out of a slump, that had been going on for over a year, in 2017. I eventually went back to a more conventional method, once the move the body method, seemed to be no longer giving me, the desired results. My putting philosophy has always been rooted in two principles. First, it is not the putter, it is the puttee. I rarely switch putters, and when I do, it is to a similar putter. I have a Ping Anser Dalehead putter, that was made in the late 1960’s. When I did switch, it was to a regular Ping Anser, made in the same time period. I was usually desperate, when I made the switch, after weeks of very poor putting. My second principle was to stick with a particular method of putting during the round. I have changed this philosophy based on an experience that I had about 6 weeks ago. I always liked wrist putting and decided to go to the wrist pop stroke one day and it worked beautifully on a day that I was playing in a group skins. However the next time I played, under a less pressure situation, I yipped miserably, and went back to the arm and shoulder method, around the 7th hole and putted much better the rest of the round. This all led to a new putting philosophy.
I now change putters often, when I consider my putting just mediocre. The second putter is a putter made by Tour Edge, which is similar to the Ping Dalehead but is a little bigger and slightly heavier. I go back and forth between the two putters. Over the last 12 rounds the longest I have putted with the same putter is 3 rounds. I am not saying that I would not putt longer, but I only putt with the same putter when I consider that I have had a good to excellent day putting. I also, can use two different putting methods during the round, based solely on results, and sometimes just a sense of what I should do. My one method is the modern arm and shoulder stroke, that is used by the vast majority of players today. I use a normal width square stance. My second method is a wristy pop stroke, with a slightly open narrow stance. It seems that this stroke works best on greens that are a bit faster and on downhill putts, but that is not in stone. I always start the round with the wrist pop stroke. I continue with this method until I feel I have made a really bad stroke or had a yip. Then I will go to the arm and shoulder stroke, possibly for the rest of the round but there can be exceptions. If I feel that I have yipped with that method or made a bad stroke I will go back to the wrist stroke. I could use the same method for the entire round if the results are good. To help explain this better, let me go through my round of last Sunday, where I shot a nice 75. I started with the wrist stroke and canned about a 25 foot putt for birdie on the very first hole. I continued with the wrist stroke for the entire front nine, making 2 nice par saves from about 6 to 8 feet. I yipped one putt in on the 7th hole from about 6 feet and was ready to change, but on the 8th hole, I had a very downhill 20 footer, for birdie. I like the wrist stroke on downhill putts, and almost made the putt. However on 9. I had a nice 12 foot birdie putt, and made a really bad stroke. On 10, I went to the arm and shoulder method, and even though I 3 putted the 10th hole, it was from about 70 feet. Both putts were good and the strokes were good, with a bad read on the second putt causing the miss. On 11 I missed a 10 footer for par, but it was also a good stroke. I then made 10 to 12 foot putts, on the next 2 holes to save par, with the arm and shoulder method. I used it on the next 3 holes, including making a 2 foot birdie putt on a par 3, that I did not yip. Then on 17, I had this 10 footer for par, with a slight left to right break, that was slightly downhill. I just had the feeling that I should use the wrist stroke. This isn’t a fairytale, so even though I hit a very good putt, it broke just a little more than I thought and burned the left edge. On the 18th hole I had about a 50 foot putt for birdie, and with the arm and shoulder method I canned that bugger to end a very good day on the greens.
Only time will tell if these things that I am doing will become a permanent part of my game. It has been a pretty good stretch of golf to say the least, and that always feels good. Pulling straight down, and I can not overemphasize the word straight here, has had a major impact on my over all ball striking, and short game. The fact that I have been using this method for the last 12 rounds, is remarkable, in and of itself. I should be back in the saddle, so to speak, this coming Wednesday, and will see if my game continues to thrive, with my new vision added in there, for good measure. I will continue to update as the year comes to an end.