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Psychological Putting Stance

The 49th Secret

There is a considerable emphasis in golf literature about the need for keeping the head still. Many people have gone so far as to advocate, "Knock the ball out from underneath the eyes," i.e., not moving the head until the ball is well on its way. Some have said that if the ball rolls true for the first six inches, you won't have to worry about the rest. These people have advised selecting a target just that length ahead of the ball. This may indeed be well for short putts when accuracy is the sole consideration, but it is unsound psychologically for any others. In order for conditioning to take place between the strength of the stroke and the length and curvature of the putt, the ball must be observed while it is rolling. Thousands of such immediate observations ultimately and subconsciously develop "touch" for both direction and green-reading. Hence, the stance of the putter must be open enough to enable the player to follow the roll of the ball without moving his head. Since man is incurably curious, I am afraid that closed stances have a tendency to induce head moving. Its vogue is more than likely due to the fact that with such a stance it is easier to put top spin on the ball. The player aiming at putting perfectionism would be wise to use a compromise stance. In the long-range development of your putting, aim at a putting stroke and stance that combine an open stance or view enabling the eye to follow the ball with a stroke that gives over-spin.