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Rolling the Rock Is Less Subjective Than It Looks

As much as I have enjoyed working on Whats In The Bag?, I sort of dreaded the putter show. Putting is so subjective; there are as many styles as there are putters ' what concrete equipment advice could we give about putting that would be worth anything?
Turns out theres a lot to consider from the equipment end. Heres a review:
Fit the putter to you. That is, get the stick that works with your stroke, instead of trying to change your stroke for a particular kind of putter. This theme emerged again and again in conversations with the worlds best putter designers. Its precisely because putting is so subjective that this makes sense. Yes, there are broad elements of good form. But within their loose constraints, any stylistic quirk is acceptable, as long as the ball goes in the hole regularly.
Were all so focused on form because of all the dos and donts we associate with the full swing. But remember the corollaries we learned about customization and optimization in the driver and irons shows. Equipment can be made to fit you and your stroke, getting you closer to success.
That said, know your stroke. In putting, theres the down-the-line bunch and the fan-shaped stroke bunch. Although there are exceptions and substyles, the liners need a putter thats closer to face-balanced (the shaft, if extended from its above-the-hosel plumbing, would meet the head near the center), while the fan-wavers like something with a shaft coming in closer to the heel of the putter. Get a qualified watcher, preferably a PGA professional, to watch you and give advice.
Dont ignore loft. We just call it the flatstick as a nickname. Most putters have three or four degrees of loft, which helps the ball get out of the little depression its sitting in on the green, so it can begin a true roll.
Eye lines. This gets us to length. Putters on the tours have been getting shorter, which aids us in getting our eyes over the ball. But be careful, and try before you buy: Some experts advise getting your eyes an inch inside the line of the putt. And as long as youre experimenting with length, pick one that allows your arm-shoulder combination, if you will, to swing freely.
But if you go long Remember when we all thought long putters were for nervous old guys with twitches? No more. Chest-high or belly, long putters are here to stay. Theyre the only club you can anchor to your body during the stroke and still have a chance of succeeding.
Key thought when choosing a long putter: A heavier head ' much heavier than the kind used for a shorter putter ' will be easier to controlwhich is the idea, right?
Yips do not equal Armageddon. It just feels that way. There are ways out, but the best plan is to rule out any stroke problems by having a pro review your mechanics. Pros love to be asked for putting lessons, as opposed to the 50th driver lesson theyve given this week.
If mechanics arent it, there are a whole series of alternative grips, drills, training aids, and relaxation techniques you can learn to help battle the dreaded putting disease. Principle No. 1: Dont give up.
Thanks for watching and logging on. See you next show (May 14), when we check out the worlds of wedges and grips.
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