BY GARY NICOL & KARL MORRIS
Anyone who has ever played this great game of golf will know that ultimately it is a game of hitting your golf ball the correct distance and direction. Whether you have a 3iron, an 8iron or a putter in your hands, that goal or intention doesn’t really change.
When you are on the golf course, yardages are vitally important. That’s why Tour Pros have such incredibly detailed yardage books. They show how far it is to carry bunkers, how far to the corner of a dog leg, how far to the front of the green, back of the green etc.. the detail really is incredible and for these guys, invaluable.
However, all these numbers in their books amount to nothing if they don’t know how far they hit any given club. That’s why they spend so much time on the range with their TrackMan units to find out how far they can hit each and every club in their bag. Essential information.
If distance and direction are so important with the long game, which as golfers we tend to be obsessed with, how important are they when it comes to putting?
When my good friend and colleague Karl Morris (Europe’s leading mind coach) and I work with our students on their putting at our Putting Performance Principles Master Classes, we always ask one question to start the day.
What is the most important factor when it comes to putting, line or pace?
After much deliberation, the answer is generally pace. They then generally confess to being pretty good at getting the line but often struggle with the pace or distance control.
We then ask them to walk and talk us through their process of how they read any given putt and more often than not, they crouch down behind their ball to study the LINE, stand up, have a few practice strokes, think about and their stroke and the line, then hit their putt. Usually the wrong distance. If they knock it 2 feet past or leave it 18 inches short, their reaction is generally “That was a good putt, I just didn’t have the pace right.”
Why did they think it was a good putt? Quite simply because they are relating it to line. If I place the ball 18 inches to the left or 2 feet to the right of the hole and ask if these results were better or worse than their own, they invariably say “much worse”, despite the fact they are the same distance from the hole as their own putts. Why? Again because they are relating the results to line. What if a change of your concept of putting could transform your performance?
We’ve already agreed that pace is more important than line – BECAUSE PACE DETERMINES LINE – yet they still pay more ATTENTION to line, before during AND after the putt. Interesting? We certainly think so. How can “the line” even exist if we don’t have the correct pace?
When you think about it, most putting training aids or gadgets focus almost entirely on the stroke and start of the putt. Straight back and through, slightly arced, inside to square to inside, low and slow, start line, got to get that start line right haven’t we?! Is your brain so overloaded with the science of your putting stroke that you have lost the ART of rolling the BALL into the hole?
Putting along a chalk line that’s about as wide as a razor’s edge paying no particular attention to the actual length of the putt. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us. Why do we keep doing the same thing hoping for a different result? Could it be that we are looking in the wrong places for the right answers?
We’re not saying line isn’t important, of course it is but where is the hole, your ultimate target? Correct, at the other end of the putt. Wouldn’t it make more sense to pay a bit more attention to that end of the putt, the part where we want to see the ball disappearing into the hole on the correct line BECAUSE of the correct PACE.
At our Putting Performance Principles Master Classes and Schools we have introduced our students to TrackMan Putting Performance software to ACCURATELY MEASURE how far a player hits any given putt, then ask them to hit another putt the same distance. After all, they all want to be more consistent.
The results are initially variable to say the least until they truly understand the concept of putting their ball the correct distance or PACE. Once they have grasped that concept and actually start to pay a proportionate amount of attention to distance or pace, the results, thanks to TrackMan’s ability to measure putts in their entirety, are there to be MEASURABLY seen. Why guess what you can measure?
As TrackMan Putting Performance software focuses entirely on ball data at the moment, this is a perfect fit for Line & Pace, one of the key PUTTING PERFORMANCE PRINCIPLES we focus on at our Master Classes and Schools.
We have found that paying particular attention to PACE in order to get the correct LINE, allows our students to free up their minds, stop worrying about their technique and trying to make “perfect” strokes and ultimately hole more putts as a direct result.
Don’t just take our word for it, this is what one of our students, who has played golf all his life had to say – “As people who know me will attest to, I’ve tried out too many theories over the years, all of which dissolve within a round. After taking part in one of Gary and Karl’s Master Classes (at Archerfield Links), I now have a string but simple tool set. The result, a sustained improvement in my putting. Thanks guys!” – Ken Whitson.
“If you are serious about improving your game, you really must go and see these guys.” – Andrew Coltart, SKY Sports commentator/ analyst and former Ryder Cup player.
For further information on how Putting Performance Principles can transform your game, contact TrackMan Master Gary Nicol – firstname.lastname@example.org or call – 01620 621188