For the Young Golfer...The practice putting green is a great place to start. Around the green, youngsters learn putting and chipping as well and the putting green is free! You begin teaching them care and respect for the putting green and the golf course. A positive attitude-training about proper etiquette on the putting green and golf course also carries over to positive attitudes and etiquette in their daily lives. At the ages of 8 and 10, I introduced my granddaughters to golf on the practice putting green. Later, they would both play high school golf...one was recruited to play college golf while still playing high school golf and the other preferred the stage to the golf course and is pursuing a career in acting.Their story below.
If the conditions are right, go with the putter!
Putting From The Fringe...a most important tip! If you have a good lie from the fringe of the green, use your putter, there is less room for error! --FromThe Putting Edge booklet. To support my tip, the following comment was made on National television by Ken Venturi, former U. S. Open Champion, P. G. A. Tour Player and Analyst..."If you have a good lie on the fringe, always use your putter...a missed putt will come closer to the hole than a missed chip! "---Ken Venturi, June 8, 2002. Use your putter whenever the conditions are perfect for it---there's less room for error! PLAY THE TEXAS WEDGE..."Your putter is an underrated weapon from off the green...mine won me the British Open at St. Andrews! On lengthy putts from the fringe, I make a long, rhythmic stroke back and through. You should putt instead of chip when the situation favors it." ---Tiger Woods ...From Play The Texas Wedge (Golf Digest, October 2005)
About Putters with a Built-In Alignment System...There are some terrific putters on the market today with a built-in alignment system that helps one with squaring the putter blade properly. The SeeMore.com Putter was used by Payne Stewart to win the U. S. Open...several models are offered. Another is the center-shafted topspin Lindsay Putter, now Zen Oracle, which has sight lines that provide superb alignment. An excellent mallet-style putter is the Odyssey 2-ball Putter...while putting, the idea is to align the two white dots on top of the putter mallet with your golf ball...sort of like aligning 3 golf balls. Many Tour professionals use a putter with the built-in alignment system and have won many tournaments with them. The alignment putters all work very nice, but you first need to know how to determine your line of putt...that's where The Putting Edge will help you.
Flagstick..."In" or "Out" when chipping or putting from off the green?
Use The Flagstick To Your Advantage...Leave the flagstick IN whenever you are chipping or putting from the fringe of the green or just off the green as long as the RULES allow and as long as you have a good lie. You have that option, flagstick in or out, as long as your ball isn’t on the green. Leaving the flagstick in the hole is to your advantage as long as 1) the wind isn't moving the flagstick around the cup or 2) the cup base isn't worn and the flagstick is leaning in a manner that prevents your ball from dropping cleanly into the hole. From time-to-time we all hit this particular shot too hard, but as long as the flagstick is seated properly we can use it as a backstop. There will be fewer occasions when your ball will hit the flagstick dead center and bounce off. Also, by leaving the flagstick in the hole for this shot, the hole direction and position is emphasized, visually. Too many times we’ve seen golfers, including professionals, ask for the flagstick to be removed for a putt or chip from the fringe of the green and then proceed to hit their shot a little too hard and the ball rolls directly across the center of the hole leaving them with a very long putt! The 2003 Masters...During the final round, Mike Weir left the flagstick IN for a long putt from off the green as he had a good lie on the fringe; however he hit his putt too hard, but hit the flagstick dead-center and dropped in for a birdie! Mike went on to win the tournament. I suggest you 'Leave The Flagstick In'...The Putting Edge, 1996 .UPDATE...The Golf Channel reported that a scientific study was conducted about the age-old question, FLAGSTICK IN OR OUT? The study concluded that 30% more putts and chips from the fringe are made when the flagstick is left in the hole!
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The 1-Degree 'Miss!'Do you occasionally miss a relatively short tap-in putt? There are two reasons for this: 1) Many times, the area around the hole gets lots of traffic and there is actually a slight indentation around the hole, almost unnoticeable. Our putts hit the ever-so-slight indentation and we wonder how we could miss such a short putt! Make sure you use extreme concentration on this very short putt and be a little more firm with your stroke! 2) The 1-Degree Rule...also, missing that tap-in may be because your putter blade was open or closed ever so slightly. Your putter blade open or closed just 1 degree, can cause your putt to be off-line! Once you have determined your line of putt and in position to stroke the putt, your putter blade must be absolutely square to that intended line of putt. If your putter blade is off just 1 degree, you can miss that tap-in! It's been proven, for a 10' putt, if your putter blade is off-line just 1 degree, left or right, you will miss a 10 foot putt by 2-1/2" accordingly! For a putt of 20 feet, if your putter blade is 1 degree off-line, you'll miss the hole by 5 inches! IMPORTANT: KEEP THAT PUTTER BLADE SQUARE TO YOUR INTENDED LINE.Research has shown that a poor putting stroke only accounts for 10% of poor putting performance, but poor alignment accounts for 80% of missed putts. So, you can see how important it is to use extreme concentration and square your putter blade to your target line. We don't want any 1 degree misses! And most important, make sure you use a straight-back, straight-thru, putting stroke!
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Pre-Round Putting Routine...Before the round, your main goal on the practice putting green is to warm up and get a feel for the speed of the greens. Most of the time the practice greens are cut similarly to those out on the course. Unless of course you have more time, five to 10 minutes may be enough time to get a feel for the speed of the green. Relax, loosen up and develop a rhythm and touch with your putting stroke. I like to start with longer putts...this tends to make the shorter putts easier. Before leaving the practice green, tap-in a few short putts of 18-24 inches so that you take a positive attitude to the first tee. Again, the main reason to hit the practice green before your round is to get the feel for the speed of the greens and to work on your grip, stance, set-up, tempo and stroke.
More about Putters...When trying out new putters, it's most important to take that putter to a real live putting green for the final test. I've practiced with new putters on those artificial greens, sank 6 to 8 six-footers in a row and thought I had found the best putter in the world, only to take it out to a real live putting green and it didn't work at all! The final determinant that the putter is right for you, is that it performs flawlessly on a real...live...putting green!
Golf Etiquette, Putting Tips & More...
Driving vs. Putting...Putting represents 40-50% of your score. Driving accounts for less than 25% of the game, with all your other clubs contributing the rest. Studies have proven that just a 10% improvement in your putting will affect your score more dramatically than a 10% improvement in either your driving distance or any other part of your game. Putting is easier than driving the golf ball and doesn't have to be a complex set of scientific events. The Putting Edge simplifies the putting process for you and will make you the best putter in your foursome!
Turnabout Is Fair Play...a true story!... I was playing in an Individual Match Play Tournament and after the first few holes noticed that my opponent was using my putting method for reading his putt. Over the first nine holes he had made several very long one-putts! After one of his long one-putts to take a two stroke lead, I asked, "John, you're killing me with these great putts you're making! What's going on?" I was truly fishing for a little sympathy. He replied, "Well, I read your putting book last week in our pro shop!" I was surprised by his comment and joked, "Well, you didn't have to read it the week before our match!" As we both laughed, he proceeded to ace another long putt to take a 3-stroke lead! At the end of 9 holes, he was leading by 2. Over the next 9 holes, I made some nice putts myself and at the end of regulation play, we were tied. However, early into our "sudden death" play, John sunk a 30 footer on the second hole in overtime for the win! Well, I suppose ' turnabout is fair play' as he beat me at my own game, so-to-speak, and I am flattered that he had read my book. He was a real gentleman and putted very well that day and my congratulations to him. I was relatively a new member to this particular club, so when we got back to the clubhouse I was bragging to the other players about John's putting. His friends laughed and responded with, "Putting is the weakest part of his game!" ---Larry Stanley
From Senior Magazine's "On The Tee" by Frank LaRosa...
Local author Larry Stanley has written and published a pocket-sized putting guide and his title got my attention. It's called "The Putting Edge...How To One-Putt Every Green!" His tips will not only help improve your putting skills and pace of play, but will also describe some important courtesies every player should recognize. He provides some unique putting concepts and visualization techniques. The book doesn't waste words and is attractively priced. Sacramento Senior Magazine, December 2000 (Reprinted with permission.)
Chicago Connection...time to re-grip!
A fellow golfer from Chicago emailed me that he would be visiting family in Modesto, California, not far from my home and would I be willing to meet with him and help with his putting. I agreed...we met half way between my home and Modesto on a practice putting green and worked on improving his putting game. He grasp 'The Putting Edge' very quickly and began reading his line of putt properly and began to 'ace' putts! One minor problem was affecting his putting...his putter grip was so smooth and worn and had never been replaced, ever! If you're at the point where you're wrapping your grip with electrical tape...time to re-grip! :-) A good grip will keep that putter blade from moving off-line during your putting stroke. Don't forget, a putt that is 1 degree offline will miss the hole by 2-1/2" for a 10 foot putt!
Stanley Wins At NorthStar! Article from The Sacramento Bee, Sunday, August 10, 1997
Larry Stanley spends a lot of time just putting around. Literally. When Stanley spends an afternoon putting around, he’s not out trimming the hedges, mowing the lawn, or testing the tension on the hammock...he’s putting. Much of Stanley’s free time is devoted to golf—especially putting, and gets in several rounds of golf per month. As he’s played those rounds, Stanley has honed his putting stroke to (almost) pinpoint perfection. He has perfected his stroke well enough to have earned a chance at winning a $250,000 paycheck—twice.
Last year Stanley won a Qualifying Tournament for the Compaq Dave Pelz World Putting Championships, held in Orlando, Florida. The contest is open to the nation’s top amateurs as well as members of the PGA, Senior PGA, and LPGA. Putting champions from each state, including Tour professionals are determined by Pelz’s unique format. When Stanley decided to enter the event last year, he learned that all the area courses had already held their qualifying tournaments; the only courses left were in Truckee (NorthStar at Tahoe GC) and Crescent City, California. So, midweek, Stanley qualifies at Northstar at Tahoe GC. The following Sunday, Stanley along with his wife, Sandy, left Elk Grove at 5:30 a.m. for Northstar at Tahoe, near Squaw Valley, where he hoped to showcase his silky-smooth stroke. Three hours later, he was the club’s Putting Champion, and he had secured a spot in the State championship at Bing Maloney in Sacramento."I felt very fortunate winning at Northstar," Stanley said. "There were some very good putters there including golf professionals. I had a good day."
Stanley was among about 40 finalists hoping to represent California at the Pelz World Putting Championships in Orlando, a tournament with a top payout of $250,000. However, at the California Putting Championship Finals in Sacramento, he was edged out by a couple of strokes and missed winning a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The Pelz format allows for a maximum of four putts per hole. If a player misses the putt on his or her first attempt, he or she moves the ball back 34 inches (the length of the putter) and tries again; a very difficult putting competition.
One of Stanley’s proudest moments was when he teamed up with his son to pull off a Stanley sweep at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville, California. Stanley bested the event designers by being the first entrant to hole an undulating 114-foot putt—this time giving him a shot at winning $5,000.00. The next day, he brought his son, Chris—who also drained the putt, which is about one-third the length of a football field. "There was a soda stand over next to the putting green, and I was buying a couple of sodas when I heard my son yell," said Stanley. "On his second or third try, he sank the same putt and I had my back turned!" In the final putt-off after three days of qualifying, each contestant was given one try to ace the lengthy putt for the grand prize; however, not one of the 6 finalists were able to ace another 114-foot putt for the $5,000.
(About the Sacramento Bee article...Mr. Sabo's article is quite accurate; however, about his comments regarding all my "free time being devoted to putting." I truly don't have that much time to practice my putting except prior to my golf rounds which may be once or twice a week. I rely mainly on my methods and techniques, although if one has the time I certainly recommend practice on the putting green as putting is the most important part of your golf round...I suggest that you spend as much time on the putting green as you would on the driving range. --- Larry Stanley)
Articles & Musings
- The 114 Foot Putt! - 2004 American Authors Association Book Fair
- Driving vs. Putting - Turnabout is Fair Play...I suppose - Chicago Connection
- Sacramento Bee Article...Stanley Wins at NorthStar
Putting Drill....A terrific putting drill when there aren't a lot of folks on the practice putting green...find a hole that has a straight line of putt of about 36 inches...the length of your putter will work. Lay your putter down with the tip of the handle at the center of the hole. About half way up the shaft toward the blade, 18 inches or so, stick a tee in the green on each side of the shaft about 4 inches apart...width of your putter blade will do. Place your golf ball close to the end of your putter blade so that you have a straight line from your ball to the center of the hole. Pick up your putter and practice rolling straight putts directly between the two tees into the cup...a dynamite practice for those 3 footer's that don't have a break! Practice this drill often.
High School & College Golfers...
In her first year of golf as a high school sophomore, granddaughter Kaylyn Gardner earned her varsity sports letter! Her expertise..."putting." She also received academic letters and was named to the National Honor Roll. During her senior year in high school she was recruited to play college golf. Her first college year: team won the Big 8 Nor-Cal Conference and finished 4th in the State!* Her sister Lauryn, now in college, also earned her varsity letter in golf in high school...both are outstanding putters.
Kaylyn Kaylyn & Lauryn
The 114 Foot Putt(s)...May be the longest putt in any competition!
During a 3-day Golf Fest, Sacramento Radio Station KHTK Sports Talk 1140 sponsored a long-putt contest featuring a grand prize of $5,000! The length of the putt: 114.0 feet...about one-third the length of a football field! Drove to the 'Fest'...left my putter in my car & walked quite a distance to observe the contest...the artificial putting surface was about 10 feet wide and elevated on the right side creating a break of about 6 feet, right-to-left! Not wanting to trek back to my car, I decided to borrow one of their 'loaner' putters. On my 3rd or 4th try, I was the first to ace their incredible 114-foot putt! Returned home...hearing about my long putt during dinner plus the mention of the $5,000.00 prize, my son Chris was eager to compete. Sure enough, the next morning, he also aced the long putt after about four attempts! Of course, using the method from my book! :-) After the first day, we were the first two contestants to ace the putt. Thought we may be splitting $5,000; however, in order to win the Grand Prize, one finalist would have to ace another 114 foot putt on the last day of the event. After hundreds of competitors, there were only 6 that aced the putt and each of us would have one attempt at acing another 114 foot putt. I wish I could tell you that one of us won the grand prize, but no one made the final ace...it was just a very difficult putt! I was very proud that my son did come the closest, within 4-5 inches of winning the Grand Prize...edging out his dad, of course. What are the chances of a father and son being the first two contestants to 'ace' the same 114-foot putt out of hundreds of contestants?
We had the EDGE.....The Putting Edge! --- Author Larry Stanley
THE SACRAMENTO BEE —Sunday, August 10, 1997 / By Rob Sabo, Sports Editor
* * * 2004 American Authors Association Book Fair * * *
Book Fair Host, KFBK's 1530 Radio & Television Personality Kitty O'Neal with Larry.
During the Book Fair, Kaylyn demonstrates her putting skills.