Saving Strokes with Science

With so many limits and restrictions being placed on golf club manufacturers these days it's amazing to see what really smart people can do, within the legal lines, to help us save strokes. This is a prime example from the engineers at Ping. Watch...

What the people at Ping found was that the depth of the grooves on the face of a putter played a tangible role in determining ball speed and thus how far the ball travelled off the face. They also knew that off-center strikes tended to travel shorter, so they used the groove depth to actually help maintain the intended ball speeds on off-center strikes.

All of the six balls pictured above were struck with a putting robot and the exact same stroke. The three circled/striped balls were hit with a variable depth grooved putter, with one being hit out the center, another 0.75" out the heel and the other 0.75" out the toe. The three non-circled balls were struck in the same fashion, but they did not have the advantage of the variable depth grooves. Notice the massive difference in dispersion!

We all hit off-center putts. We all despise three putts. The answer seems pretty simple to me! Please know, this is not a sales pitch for Ping putters, but before you go out and buy your next golf club learn about the science behind the design.

Thanks for reading.

Putting: Distance vs. Direction


 I always ask my students which is more important in putting: distance or direction? I am pleased to report that about 60-70% of them correctly side with distance. Think about it this way; are you more likely to hit a 30 footer 10 feet beyond/short or 10 feet wide of the cup? Hopefully your answer is beyond/short, because if it was wide you have serious additional issues.

Much of the information I read on putting today is directionally oriented; the arc of the stroke, face rotation and balancing, path and face and so on. Is this information correct and valid? Yes! I just don't believe it should be the priority. Think about the last round of poor putting you had (hopefully you cannot remember!) - I can almost guarantee you it was due to poor distance control. When you practice focus on speed control as a priority and you must start to encounter better results. Good distance control comes from; a solid and centered strike where the appropriate amount of energy is transferred to the ball and a backstroke that closely matches the through stroke (most golfers are short back and long through!). Here are a few things that will help.

Watch the HD video lesson HERE

Drills and Teaching Aids that Work:

This is an excellent drill to help you acquire the feel of a solid strike: Gather a dozen balls in the center of a green and quickly and casually “hit” them back to a point off the side of the green -- just like when you are clearing a putting green by hitting all the balls off the green with your putter.  Do not emphasize a target; don’t take time to set up; just pop the balls off the face of the putter. When done correctly, you should be able to feel how efficient the stroke is.  There should be a minimal amount of follow through, the strike should feel crisp, and the sound should be louder than what you are accustomed to. When I see a golfer struggling with the putter, they are almost always overemphasizing the “stroke” element and have lost the concept that there needs to be some impact or “hit.” The problem most often is that their motion is long, slow and overly mechanical.  You should be able to sense the ball compressing off the putter face.

An excellent training aid that conveys the feel of the correct strike on the ball in putting is the Ball of Steel from - each ball weighs 5x what a golf ball weighs and you had better transfer energy efficiently if you want to even have a chance of making a 3 footer with the ball steel. I have found it works really nicely when alternating between a real ball and a heavy ball, but be sure to stay within three feet. After using this teaching aid your putting stroke will be more compact and efficient and thus more consistent.

When putting key in on distance first and your results will improve dramatically - I guarantee it!

Ball of Steel product TOUR   


To purchase the Ball of Steel click HERE (be sure to use the code IMPACTBOOK for a discount)