Putting Tips, Golf Etiquette & More...
During the Book Fair,
granddaughter Kaylyn Gardner
demonstrates her putting skills.
2004 SACRAMENTO BOOK FAIR
American Authors Association
HOST, KFBK's Kitty O'Neal with
author Larry Stanley
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.
A Pre-Round Putting Routine...Before your 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, so prior to tee-off take a few minutes to get a feel for the speed of the green. Relax, loosen up, and develop a rhythm and touch with your putting stroke and practice “distance control” by getting your lag putts close to the hole. Of course we want that one-putt; however, make sure your long practice putts are close, within tap-in range. And just before leaving the practice green, tap-in a few short putts of 18-24 inches so that you take a positive putting attitude to the first tee. Again, while on the practice putting green before your round, work on a comfortable stance, relaxed grip & stroke and get the feel for “distance control” with some
putts of 10-15 feet.
Articles & Musings
> Driving vs. Putting > Turnabout is Fair Play... I suppose!
> Chicago Connection > Sacramento Bee Article...Stanley Wins at NorthStar!
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" using the plumb bob method. Kaylyn 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 at Sacramento City College. Her first college year: her team received complimentary copies of The Putting Edge and a putting lesson from Larry and won the Big 8 Nor-Cal Conference and finished 4th in the State! During one of their tournaments, one of her teammates proceeded to one-putt the first 9 holes and had 7 one-putt greens on the back nine during a Nor Cal Tournament in Sacramento! Her individual winning score was 4 under par 68 vs. 4 other college teams!Her sister Lauryn also earned her varsity letter playing golf in high school...both are outstanding putters.
Kaylyn Kaylyn & Lauryn Gardner
(Lauryn, also a terrific golfer and actress
and a very successful "You Tuber!"
Check her out on YouTube.)
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, I've never seen you putt this well, 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!"I responded, well not now. :-) ---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...may be 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 at Tahoe GC! 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.
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.
Leaving the Flagstick..."In"
Use The Flagstick To Your Advantage...I suggest leaving the flag stick IN whenever you are chipping or putting from the fringe of the green or just off the green if you have a good lie. Leaving the flag stick 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 flag stick 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 flag stick is seated properly we can use it as a backstop. There will be fewer occasions when your ball will hit the flag stick dead center and bounce off. Also, by leaving the flag stick 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 flag stick 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 flag stick 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 flag stick dead-center and dropped in for a birdie! Mike went on to WIN the tournament. Side note...The Golf Channel reported that a scientific study was conducted about the age-old question, FLAG STICK IN OR OUT and the study concluded that 30% more putts and chips from the fringe are made when the flag stick is left in the hole!
* * *
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!
* * *
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!
CAREFUL: ETIQUETTE TIP for Proper Ball Retrieval...GOLFER'S, don't be penalized in tournament play! Inserting your putter blade into the cup in order to remove your golf ball can damage the edge of the cup. And under the "Rules of Golf" certain penalties can be incurred, including disqualification! If you have to do this because of a bad back or other physical limitation, you may want to purchase a plastic or rubber suction cup that fits neatly on the end of your putter handle which will allow you to remove the ball cleanly without damaging the hole. Some of the new putter grips have a ball retrieval feature built into the end of the grip.