Everything you need to know about putting and then some in new golf instruction book
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – If you’re not interested in improving your putting, then you probably don’t want to check out the latest in Golf Magazine’s series of instructional manuals – “The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever!“
Of course some golfers are just naturally good putters. To them, I say, “God bless them, for they know not what most of us suffer.” I have my good stretches and bad stretches, and when it’s going bad, I review putting lessons and try to find something that works. The beauty of this new book – which features 10 of the best flatstick minds in golf – is that almost everything I was ever told is in there, plus a whole lot more stuff that I didn’t know.
The book covers some good old basics, but also reveals some of the latest trends in putting. This made for fascinating reading during my plane trip over to St. Andrews, Scotland yesterday and today. (I can’t wait to see how this stuff works on the links courses of St. Andrews.)
I’m particularly intrigued by Mark Sweeny’s AimPoint Technologies method of reading greens since this is an area with which I’ve always struggled. As a serial plumb-bobber (and yes, I do understand how it works and could explain it if I had to) I’m forever guessing on subtle putts. Sweeny, who calls himself a recreational golfer just like you or I, is in high demand with professionals and top amateurs. He’s also the guy who developed the computerized AimPoint line you see during golf telecasts, and it’s amazing how accurate those lines are.
Which is why Sweeny’s methods hold so much interest for me. In a nutshell, Sweeny says the most important part of reading greens is identifying the zero line, or the line where you essentially would aim a putt right at the hole, whether it’s straight or a double breaker. Working off that line, you build a clock system around that line to calculate the break. This is about as simple as I can make it. For more you’ll have to read the chapter in the book, and yes, it does seem complicated. Just understanding it, however, could make you a better green reader.
Sweeny’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. This really is the most complete putting primer I’ve ever seen even if it doesn’t include Dave Pelz, who has his own series of comprehensive manuals. Short-game guru Stan Utley’s in there and so is Mike Adams, Scott Munroe, Dr. David Wright, Dr. Craig Farnsworth, Maggie Will, Mike Shannon, Marius Filmalter and David Edel. I’ve interviewed many of these folks, and I can tell you that each of them have made great contributions to the putting science.
The thing about this book, though, is that you can’t read it cover to cover and expect to be a great putter. Like all forms of instruction, you have to pick and choose to find out what’s right for you. That’s never easy, but if you’re honest with yourself – or better yet – get somebody else to evaluate your putting, you can probably find some value in this book.
The book comes with one other feature that most would probably find valuable – an instructional DVD – “Ten Easy Putting Fixes.” And as all of these experts will tell you, the quickest way to lower your scores is on the greens.
The hardcover, 192-page book contains 150 photos. “The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever!” retails for $32 ($38 in Canada). It can be purchased at Golf.com/bestputting.
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