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State Versus Technique In Putting

I didn’t get much golf in 2018 but I want to play much more in 2019 so I’ve been practicing my putting at home in between sessions at the computer.

At the beginning, I was convinced that there were some flaws in my set up, especially in terms of the ball being too far forward in my stance. I also found an issue with my putter face alignment. Yes, even I can be pulled down that technical road despite everything I know!

Well, whilst I was comforted by these discoveries I didn’t feel that I was either striking the ball as I wanted to nor rolling the ball smoothly, something I had always seen when playing with great putters. Generally speaking, all the pros I’ve played with who excelled at the short game had superb rhythm. South African, Bobby Locke, was undoubtedly the greatest player I ever played with and possibly the best putter the world has ever seen. Throughout his game, but especially in anything around or on the green, his swing just flowed like silk. It was so relaxed and effortless.

So, when thinking back to those past experiences and remembering those swings, in the last few weeks I have only thought about holding the putter with the lightest grip and swinging the putter with the very smoothest rhythm. Once the strike improved and the ball stated rolling off the face instead of jumping and bobbling I decided to see what would happen if I put the ball in different places in my stance. I know that I shouldn’t be surprised but I was. As long as I continued with my light grip and smooth swing it didn’t make any difference.

I am excited about trying this out on the course and will let you know how it goes but, in the meantime, can I ask you to so the same and let me have your feedback. I am sure that we have been so indoctrinated to believe that good technique (starting with a perfect set up, perfect grip, perfect posture etc.) is essential that we naturally fear or are anxious that we can’t putt well if we start off from an incorrect position. Of course, fear and anxiety cause tension and I think you already know what I think about that as I said in my book that tension is the golfers main enemy.

Let’s get together and see if we can make 2019 the best year we’ve ever had on the greens!

Brian Sparks

(3) Comments

  • Richard January 13, 2019 @ 7:54 pm

    Dear Brian,

    I have recently discovered your material online and am really enjoying what I am reading and viewing. I am 58 and have played golf since I was 12 years old. I have been unable to play for the last two years due to lower back pain. I notice that you have quite an upright stance. Did you adopt that in response to your own back pain? It seems to put less pressure on the lower back. I am hoping that this, together with your other recommendations might allow me to play again this year. Can I also ask you if you do any strengthening or stretching exercises?

    • Brian Sparks January 13, 2019 @ 9:25 pm

      Hi Richard
      Yes to both questions. I stand closer and taller exactly because it takes some of the strain away from my lower back and I have been doing stretching exercises ever morning for several years now. I took up pilates seriously last April and am just about to publish a series of 7 videos, initially on the platform, called “Pilates for senior golfers.” This has been filmed with me and my pilates coach, Ebrina. I add some pilates exercises to my morning session and also do a few throughout the day.
      I hope this helps.
      Best wishes
      Brian

    • Brian Sparks January 30, 2019 @ 9:26 pm

      Hi Richard
      I do stand taller and closer so as to reduce the strain on my knees and hips. This allows me to have a much fuller swing than when in then typical tour player posture so often taught to us all (I was guilty of this 40 years ago myself!).
      Yes, I have been doing Pilates since April last year and subscribers to our coaching platform can now purchase a series of 7 videos I have filmed with my coach, Ebrina form EB VO Training, called ‘Pilates For Senior Golfers.’ They can get this for £7.45 whereas it will be on sale elsewhere at the end of February at £14.95. More news on that in our February newsletter. Just let me say that my back hasn’t been as good as this in years and it is helping my golf quite dramatically. Pilates is ideal for us senior golfers as it uses simple, gentle but powerful techniques.
      Best wishes
      Brian

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