Face-on Putting

Have a tip or a great golf website to share put them here. Also a great place to get some help with your game.

Face-on Putting

Postby thurman » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:34 pm

AKA sidesaddle. The technique Sam Snead used in the later part of his career.

Dave Pelz has found it's statiscally the most accurate way to putt. It also looks a completely ridiculous.

I've been thinking about it though, because I'm a horrendous putter. I rarely break 30 on the greens, and frequently end up 35 or worse. The only hesitation left is that I worry about the decision that the USGA and R&A are rumored to be considering on putters later this year, but I'd personally be surprised if they actually ban putters of a certain length (face-on putters are similar to the long putter with a different lie angle).

I've played around with it a bit and it feels pretty natural, though touch would be a problem on longer putts. Has anyone else tried this?
"Focus on golf. Screw everything else." - Earl Woods
User avatar
thurman
Champions Tour Poster
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: All over the damn country

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby smashdn » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:39 am

There is an old guy here at the club in Franklin that putts that way.

GHIN says he plays as an 11.8.
User avatar
smashdn
Pro Poster
 
Posts: 614
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:16 pm
Location: Franklin, KY

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby thurman » Sun May 12, 2013 10:02 am

I'm gonna give it a try.

I found a sidesaddle putter for pretty cheap last night on a whim after waking up at 4am on the couch and deciding to check ebay. Surely no one has ever regretted anything they purchased on ebay at 4am after waking up on the couch, right?

It just makes too much sense not to try it, and all the stories I ever hear of people who do it end with "As weird as it looked, the guy just never missed from inside 15 feet."

If it doesn't work out, I'll go back to a conventional blade. I've figured out in the last few weeks that my current putter just isn't a good fit. Its balance is very "toe down," and it feels really unstable with my straight-back-straight-through stroke. I'd swap it out for something face-balanced. But hopefully that doesn't happen, because I'm hoping I turn into one of those sidesaddle sharks you hear about through the grapevine who never miss from inside 15 feet.
"Focus on golf. Screw everything else." - Earl Woods
User avatar
thurman
Champions Tour Poster
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: All over the damn country

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby smashdn » Tue May 14, 2013 5:27 pm

You a straight back and straight through putter or a "gate opener?"

Mallets are supposed to be best for straight back and straight through and blades better for gate openers.

You ever fiddle around with your grip? I tried a claw grip for a season and did pretty well with it inside 25 foot. It made it hard on putts you actually had to hit to get to the hole however. I found myself going to a tradtitional grip on longer putts I actually had to hit so I went away from the claw all together.
User avatar
smashdn
Pro Poster
 
Posts: 614
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:16 pm
Location: Franklin, KY

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby stammalammy » Wed May 15, 2013 12:06 am

Dibs on that wacky putter when you tire of it :-)
"You can't believe all the quotes you read on the Internet." -Abraham Lincoln
User avatar
stammalammy
Semi-Pro Poster
 
Posts: 594
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:36 am
Location: Lex

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby thurman » Wed May 15, 2013 10:03 am

I'm pretty straight-back-straight-through. My current putter isn't a great fit for that stroke. I've played around with face-balanced putters a lot lately, and they feel much better than my current one with almost full toe hang. Much more stable and the higher MOI really does improve speed and directional control on marginal strikes.

I've also played around a lot with different grips over the years. I spent a full season with my left hand low, but couldn't lag putt well enough to keep doing it. I've also used a conventional grip, but my most successful has always been a split-hand grip with the right hand low. It gives me more stability and control.

If the face-on thing doesn't work out, I have full confidence that I can switch to a face-balanced conventional putter and be very good on the greens. I'm just too intrigued by face-on not to give it a shot. It makes too much biomechanical sense, and there's so much empirical data that suggests it's the best way to putt that I'd be an idiot not to give it a try (you guys know how I love empirical data). The only reason not to is that it looks funny, but have you ever paid attention to how stupid conventional putting looks? I can't think of a less athletic looking iconic sports moment than Jack Nicklaus hitting his "Yes SIR!" putt at the Masters in '86. With that in mind, I just can't resist giving it a real try.
"Focus on golf. Screw everything else." - Earl Woods
User avatar
thurman
Champions Tour Poster
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: All over the damn country

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby wilma » Thu May 16, 2013 10:48 am

I have always fealt that putting on local public courses requires a different type of putter than on upscale and private courses where they stimp 11 or more. Try the difference in feel between a 70ft put on a stimp 5 and a 70ft putt of a stimp 12. You really cant just use the clubhead for momentum on the first, you actually have to swing the club. No metronome, just *whack!*

I wonder how hard that would be face-on?

Doug
125yd hole out for Eagle at #7, Stonelick Hills, with a 9-iron. 6/13/06. 115yd Hole out for Eagle on #9, Stonelick Hills. 10/22/08.
User avatar
wilma
Champions Tour Poster
 
Posts: 1370
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 8:20 pm
Location: Covington, KY

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby smashdn » Thu May 16, 2013 7:25 pm

Six Sigma Putting by Jason Thurman

I'll be looking for it.
User avatar
smashdn
Pro Poster
 
Posts: 614
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:16 pm
Location: Franklin, KY

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby thurman » Fri May 17, 2013 12:00 am

That's exactly what this is. After doing an FMEA on my previous stroke during a kaizen event last week, I came up with a few PDSA cycle tests to try. This face-on thing is the first one.

All the equipment arrived today. I'm gonna take the putter out for a bit tomorrow and see how it goes. I've been swinging it a bit in the house trying to refine my posture. It feels pretty good.

Doug, I haven't given much thought to how it will work on 70 footers. Everything I've heard is that the binocular vision and natural "tossing" motion makes judging speed on lag putts easier. Then again, I hit all my approaches inside 20 feet so it's really not an issue for me.
"Focus on golf. Screw everything else." - Earl Woods
User avatar
thurman
Champions Tour Poster
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: All over the damn country

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby smashdn » Fri May 17, 2013 6:39 pm

Make sure you check normality of your data and its residuals.

I just got through Green Belt training last week. The whole time I was thinking to myself, "What are my golf game X's that affect my score Y?"
User avatar
smashdn
Pro Poster
 
Posts: 614
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:16 pm
Location: Franklin, KY

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby thurman » Wed May 22, 2013 12:12 pm

Just to update, I got the putter last Thursday and practiced with it Friday and Saturday. I was comfortable enough to put it in the bag for an evening 9 on Sunday and Tuesday.

It was really easy to get the hang of. I'm probably not yet quite as good at lag putting from outside 35 feet with it as I am with a conventional putter, but I'm confident I'll be better with the face-on putter on all types of putts within a week or two.

It feels really natural, and similar to playing cornhole or skeeball or something like that. It's really easy to start the ball on line, and it's also really easy to judge speed since you can look at the hole with both eyes as you make your stroke. I also think it will ultimately improve my green-reading, since I get to see the entire path of the putt with both eyes. I'm noticing that I've had an easier time figuring out when I misread a putt and when I pushed or pulled it when putting sidesaddle.

The biggest challenge is finding a good setup posture. A lot of your weight has to be on your dominant side leg, and it can make balance tricky. It's also really important to jam your left elbow tight into your abdomen. That's what establishes your solid pivot point and lets you make the swing without looking at the ball. If you let the left arm get a little soft, you'll mishit and push/pull putts. If you keep it firm, you roll almost every putt perfectly.

Basically, any putt inside 20 feet feels like it should drop. I'm definitely holing more mid-range putts than I was before, and I'm making almost all my putts inside 6 feet as long as I remember to keep that left arm firm. I'm excited about the potential.
"Focus on golf. Screw everything else." - Earl Woods
User avatar
thurman
Champions Tour Poster
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: All over the damn country

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby golfer1155 » Wed May 22, 2013 3:34 pm

Thurman in your Face On putting technique...do you have the putter anchored to your body ? This will of course be illegal under rule 14.1B in 2016.

What are your thoughts on the USGA decision and will the Tour adopt this rule as well. ?

I saw where the Tour siad they thought this rule would be determental to Amateur Golf. I think they are scared to death the ruling will have a LARGE out cry from thier own ranks. The Keegan Bradley's Adan Scott's and so on and so forth.
User avatar
golfer1155
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:40 pm
Location: Frankfoirt

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby thurman » Wed May 22, 2013 9:27 pm

No, the club isn't anchored to my body. The stroke will remain legal even after the anchoring ban takes effect.

I use a long-ish putter and hole the top of the club with my left hand. I press my left elbow against my abdomen to keep that left hand steady, as it establishes my pivot point. I then swing the club using my right hand with a pencil grip. It's basically the same motion you'd make if you were underhand tossing a ping pong ball or something like that. The putter itself has the steepest allowed lie angle, which lets me hold it almost vertical so that I can make a smooth pendulum swing at my right side. It also has a very heavy head for feel.

The anchoring ban doesn't bother me too much, though I do think it's a little late and much ado about nothing. Anchoring has been around since at least the 1920s, and well publicized for 30 years. The reasoning expressed really doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and I think it will ultimately hurt the game's popularity, even if just slightly. That's really not what golf needs after almost two decades of diminishing play now.

Still, I'm not very fired up about it one way or the other. I do think we'll see more Tour players putting sidesaddle (and complaining, as you mentioned). KJ Choi tried it for a week or two a few years ago, but he really didn't use the right equipment or technique. Sam Snead used it with great success in his later years. It's such a natural way to putt that I think we'll see it start to appear on Tour later this year.
"Focus on golf. Screw everything else." - Earl Woods
User avatar
thurman
Champions Tour Poster
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: All over the damn country

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby stammalammy » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:19 am

Ready to send that wacky putter to another sucker to give it a go?
"You can't believe all the quotes you read on the Internet." -Abraham Lincoln
User avatar
stammalammy
Semi-Pro Poster
 
Posts: 594
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:36 am
Location: Lex

Re: Face-on Putting

Postby thurman » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:43 am

Stamm, let's get a round in when the weather gets a little better. I'll bring it with me if you want to try it out.

I had pretty good success with it. It worked really well for lag putting. I was surprised that I had my biggest issues on shorter putts. I sometimes had a hard time starting the ball online.

There's no doubt it works though. I still think you'll see it used on Tour once the anchoring ban goes into effect. I've gone back to conventional and after a little focus on my fundamentals I've gotten back to being an above-average putter. But I wouldn't hesitate to recommend face-on to anyone who's struggling with the putter or anyone who currently anchors and needs to find an alternative.
"Focus on golf. Screw everything else." - Earl Woods
User avatar
thurman
Champions Tour Poster
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: All over the damn country

Next

Return to Golf Tips / Golf Websites

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron