NATURAL PUTTING is doing it as you like and having fun! There are so many theories, advisories and technical suggestions in the ‘putting world’. So much choice of putter: blade, mallet, winged, counter weighted, toe weight etc… How can they all be right?
Well they are not. It is a matter of personal preference; What feels most comfortable for you and does the job of getting the ball in the hole with most consistency and ease.
When you choose a putter, use it first. Don’t just buy it because tour players are using it with success. By all means get a custom fitting and check the lie, the loft the length of shaft and size of grip. Or just pick up an old hickory shaft blade from a second hand store, with none of the benefits of technology, of face grooves or inserts, of and see if it does the job for you.
There is also the ‘preferred posture/grip’ that the putting gurus insist produce the best results. But these ‘wise coaches’ often differ widely in their offerings. Hands must work as one….forward press the putterface….hit up on the ball….eyes exactly over the ball, keep your head still. Uh-uh! Not necessarily. Many of these are sound, well-meaning suggestions but they may just not work for you. So don’t feel badly if you prefer to putt with a right hand leading, a back tilted head and feet aligned left of target. That may be the most comfortable and effective for you.
There are a variety of grips and styles from the top guys on tour and they all, to some degree, work. The tour pros are successful because they practice and know that they have developed a repeatable, reliable stroke. This repeatable stroke leads to confidence and consistency in putting….and that should be your aim.
Reading the greens is another part of putting which can nowadays tie you up in knots. There are maps and arrows, gizmos which indicate the swales and tendencies of a surface, lasered detailed charts and wheels with positive and negative figures which need a higher Math degree to interpret. There are systems like Aimpoint which rely on training and getting you standing astride the putt line feeling the slope and then holding up fingers at estimated practised distances from your nose.
In NATURAL PUTTING each putt is individual and specific to that green, that course, that day’s weather and that pin position. It is a see, consider and react type of putt. “Chuck that ball over to that hole…” Our brains can often best calculate pace and target, distance and direction through simple VISUALITY. No information overload, just see and respond.
As a caddie I often muse on why, as I retrieve balls from or around the hole and casually toss them back to my player to continue practice (sometimes without even looking!), my hand-rolled aim inevitably sends the ball up to or very close on his awaiting putter face for his next practice stroke. Easy.
If you think about it, there is a lot to process in a putt. It is a blend of science and creativity to perform consistent strokes and get consistent results. It is a matter of processing a lot of information and performing a repeatable stroke. So don’t over-think – just relax. Ultimately your approach to putting should be individual, unique, inspiring confidence and producing results. One simple thought should override all others. Get it in the hole. That is NATURAL PUTTING.