Am I a car­rier, a skid­der or a roller?

Inside Golf - - Instruction - Glen­nWhit­tle

SINCE writ­ing the last putting ar­ti­cle for In­side Golf, I have given a num­ber of putting lessons and have been sur­prised at just how many play­ers are us­ing put­ters that are not suited to them. This is prob­a­bly not un­ex­pected when most golfers I sup­pose just pick up a put­ter in a golf store have a few putts to check the feel and weight and then buy it. But what they are not aware of is their putting will more then likely suf­fer as a re­sult. At the end of the day, putting is 50% of the game so it is im­por­tant that we take put­ter fit­ting se­ri­ously.

There are three ba­sic “types” of putting styles/ char­ac­ter­is­tics: Car­rier = A player whose golf ball car­ries a long way through the air be­fore it be­gins to roll Skid­der= A player whose golf ball skids along the green a long way af­ter they strike it Roller= A play­ers whose ball rolls al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter it is struck (This is ideal-You want to be a roller!)

It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand what hap­pens when we strike a ball with the put­ter. As you can see from the pho­tos, I ac­tu­ally use a high speed cam­era to de­ter­mine whether I am work­ing with a “Car­rier”, a “Skid­der” or a “Roller” when do­ing a put­ter fit.

Let’s clear up a few myths while we are at it: Ev­ery putt skids be­fore it be­gins to roll re­gard­less of what the ad­ver­tis­ers would like you to be­lieve. A min­i­mum amount of carry or skid and max­i­mum amount of roll would be the best sit­u­a­tion to con­trol direc­tion and dis­tance.

Min­i­mum carry or skid­ding can be ob­tained by strik­ing the ball just above the mid­dle of the ball (the equa­tor, if you like). Com­bined with the cor­rect loft, this gets the ball rolling quickly.

Let me ex­plain LOFT for a sec­ond – The put­ter­face has loft (let’s call this Loft A). Many golfers still be­lieve the put­ter­face is straight up and down (zero loft) but this is not true. The rea­son we need loft is sim­ple: the ball sits down IN the grass not ON the grass as we would like to think, so the loft lifts the ball up onto the sur­face of the grass. De­pend­ing on where your hands are po­si­tioned in re­la­tion to the put­ter­face as you strike the ball, the ini­tial loft (A) may have changed (Loft B). Some­times I will in­crease or de­crease the loft on a player’s put­ter and keep the stroke they have, know­ing that it will pro­duce min­i­mal carry or skid and re­sult in a con­sis­tent roll.

Re­search I have done at The Syd­ney Putting Stu­dio has proven that a putted ball per­forms more con­sis­tently when it is struck with ap­prox­i­mately 3.5 de­grees of loft at im­pact (when it is struck cor­rectly, that is).

In these two pho­tos I have drawn a ver­ti­cal line through each ball, a red line through mine, and a blue line through the ball of a ju­nior golfer I gave a les­son to re­cently. You can see the ball with the red line is rolling al­most im­me­di­ately and my shaft is fairly straight, whereas the ball with the blue line has been car­ried and hasn’t started rolling as yet

If you are hav­ing trou­ble with your putting – wouldn’t you like to know if your put­ter is ac­tu­ally help­ing or hurt­ing your game ? If so, per­haps it is time to get prop­erly fit for a put­ter.

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