By: John Carpineta
Our title sounds like a real tongue twister, or a play on words. Actually, my fellow golfers, it may be welcome advice (because of its simplicity), to help golfers of all levels improve their putting, by experimenting with the the way one places his/her hands on the putter, along with different changes, and installation of the grips themselves. These "grip changes" are being used by PGA, LPGA, and web.com players who know a good thing when they feel it. Simply put, these tactics will quiet the mind and hands.
Putting problems, like swing problems, are ever-present surrounding all golfers. These demons lie in wait for the golfers’ putting-immune system to weaken, then they attack, causing uncertainty, “3-putts”, and even worse-- the YIPS.
How does a player’s putting-immune system weaken? Several ways.
1. Stop right now. Put your right hand over one ear, and read this aloud. If you are allowed 2 putts per hole, that’s 36 during a round. That's a huge portion of your score. A high percentage? Yes? This info must not go in one ear and out the other, as it has for over a century.
2. Failure to dedicate proper amounts of time practicing (notice I did not say “working on”), their putting! Make it fun, so you can reward those iron shots that you “stonied “in there!
3. “Pass the buck”. My superintendent top-dressed the greens (yeah-- 5 weeks ago!) or they syringed at noon today (yea, it was 97 degrees and necessary--so you’ll have a green tomorrow!). Sound familiar?
4. (and finally..) maybe the best cause: For 17 holes your opponent says “that’s good, pick it up” and you do. Then, with the match even on 18, and you’re over a “3-footer”, you anxiously await the usual “pick it up”, but all you hear are the crickets. As you turn, you see your partner gazing skyward, awaiting for Jupiter to align with Mars, tongue-tied & lockjaw all rolled into one! Yea, you missed it, having never made this putt all day. And isn’t it ironic that, after you blew it 4 feet past, you reached over with one hand, and backhanded the ball into the hole.
So when you hear “that is good!”--it’s not good. In fact, it’s bad. Those gimmies that started out “grip-length” are now as long as a belly putter or longer. From now on, putt them out!
Do you fit into any of these four scenarios??? If so, change as soon as possible, and your putting will improve. You will also give new definition to the word YIPS. The YIPS will now stand for Your Intuitive Putting Stroke. What is your intuitive putting stroke? It is the stoke you used as a kid, fearless, before you overanalyzed putting, ending up with paralysis by analysis, trying to duplicate this guy or that gal’s putting style. Now you are always pondering the consequence of missing. Example: Thoughts of breaking 90 or 80 if I make this one, etc, etc. Followed by another miss.
We've read enough, now let’s get to work. Here are the steps and sequences needed to improve.
Choose a putter that looks good to you. Very important.
Have your PGA pro make sure this “good looker” fits length, lie, etc.
Check the attached photos of grips and hand-placement options. I am sure you will find one you like. NOTE: The first option will be to install the same grip on your putter as you have on the other 13 clubs. BENEFIT = will give the same feel. This is so simple a fix, no photo is needed.
Revamp your practice sessions. Some suggestions below.
Know NOW the importance of putting in your overall score. Put the time in!
Work on speed. Hit putts back and forth to your “pards” (have a little contest). Jim Booros is still doing it this way.
Hit part shots and try to get them up and down from where they fall. Thanks “Carnac and T. Perla”.
Before teeing off, use only one ball on the practice green. “You only have one shot out there,” states tough senior player, my friend, Henry McQuiston.
If you must read, pick up Fred Shoemaker’s “Extraordinary Putting”.
If you need a mechanical fix, simply free up your “sticky” right elbow –left elbow for lefties. This technique will provide enough backswing, and enable the blade to stay square. The right hand is sealed square to the face alignment, ala the Golden Bear. The forearm is attached to the elbow. Try it; you’ll be amazed.
You will find your “intuitive” stroke. I guarantee it!
In closing, I wish to thank my head pro, Jim Bogan, for his support; also, the help of the Philadelphia Section Office crew, along with the gang at Golf Galaxy, especially Ryan Carfara, Dan Vasil and Jason Krier. Special thanks to Tom and Frank Craig from Titleist. Tips from Scotty Cameron and the use of the new Futura putter, it’s great!
This article is dedicated to the memory of my comrade, Garrett F. Lee, lost in Vietnam 48 years ago this November. Gary’s unit, C Company, 2nd Bn., 7th Cav, has 20 new soldiers, all PGA pros working now with the Philadelphia Veterans’ Administration, Wounded Warriors and Amputees. "GARY OWENS SIR!!!"
Finally…thanks to the wonderful team at Golf Almanac.
By: Leila Mackie
The PGA has created numerous programs in the past that are geared toward generating golfers, such as PGA Junior League Golf, Get Golf Ready, Tee It Forward, and PGA Sports Academy. While the implementation of all of these programs combined has created a positive impact on the golf industry, one program in particular has proved to continuously deliver results for individual facilities and the business as a whole. Since Get Golf Ready was introduced in 2009, it has had countless success stories.
The program been successful in creating new golfers, but Get Golf Ready has also generated golfers that are spending more money at facilities. In 2012, the GGR graduate spent an average of $1,069 on golf-related purchases. This has had a direct impact on the bottom line at facilities everywhere. Not only are these students starting to play the game, they are spending money on merchandise, concessions, and equipment. Because this program encompasses all aspects of the game, (such as tee time-booking, pro shop check-in, rules and etiquette, history, and basic fundamentals), the program has also shown an increase in golfer retention. A reported 83% of program graduates were continuing to play after completing a Get Golf Ready program in 2012.
This is a very exciting time for the PGA. A program that has this big of an impact on creating new golfers is one that will be strongly promoted, as the PGA heads toward its goal of 40 million golfers by 2020. The buzz about GGR is growing rapidly. The golf industry has been seeking a formula that will attract new golfers, keep them coming back, and is successful at various types of facilities. Get Golf Ready has accomplished all three. Some PGA Professionals feel it may not be effective at their facility, simply because they are private, or have a higher daily fee. However, the idea of Get Golf Ready is to create a program that can be adjusted to fit any type of facility. The suggested price for GGR is $99. However, there have been facilities that have run a successful $250 program. The program works well at public, daily-fee facilities because it exposes them to a potentially new market, and introduces the game at a facility that they are able to access. However, private facilities do have an advantage over public facilities, in that they already have a consumer base that has access to their golf course, but do not play. While public facilities have to take their marketing efforts to places other than their facility, private clubs simply need to find out why their social members, tennis players and bridge players are not playing golf, then create a program that gets them to.
Being a golf professional encompasses many different tasks and responsibilities. Making player development one of them can enhance your employment and benefit your facility. Material for running and promoting GGR is available to PGA Professionals on PGALinks.com. In addition, the PGA has announced 9 new Player Development Regional Managers that are making house calls to facilities helping them start GGR and other Golf 2.0 programs.
The Philadelphia PGA Section has hired Leila Mackie, PGA, as the Player Development Coordinator for their section. Leila will be promoting these programs and will be available to help facilities implement them. Ms. Mackie grew up in Gastonia, N.C., and graduated in December 2012 from Clemson(SC)University with a degree in Professional Golf Management. Through her internships at Clemson, Mackie has gained valuable work experience within the golf industry, including facility operations and association management. She previously interned with TPC Piper Glen (Charlotte, NC), The Country Club of Sapphire Valley (Cashiers, NC), the PGA of America Headquarters (Palm Beach Gardens, FL), as well as the Philadelphia Section PGA. Mackie is a PGA Class A Professional, and is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and passion for the game with the Philadelphia Section. Her main focus will be promoting Golf 2.0 “There are so many golf professionals doing great things at their facilities that are contributing to the success of Golf 2.0. They just need to share their ideas with the rest of the industry,” says Mackie. “My job is to take these ideas and programs that are working well, and adapt them to other facilities in the Philadelphia Section.” Mackie will be making house calls to facilities throughout the section to help them grow the game.