@#!*&%! Putting
By bkuehn1952 on 7/6/11
I hope I get to golf with Brian "bkuehn1952" Kuehn one day because I feel like it would be one of the most interesting rounds of golf ever. Enjoy his latest submission to oobgolf.

Let’s face it, golf is essentially two games. One game, driving and iron play, involves a degree of athleticism, balance and feel. The other, putting, is as athletic as shuffleboard. Ben Hogan felt golf would be a better game if putting were eliminated or at least reduced in importance. However, Mr. Hogan never got his way and one must be master of both games in order to succeed.

Unfortunately, like Mr. Hogan, most of us find consistent putting a challenge. So before we venture out on a course we will typically make a detour to the practice green. In a perfect world, the practice green mirrors the conditions one will find during the round. Unfortunately, we all know too well that the golf world is seldom perfect. If the course you are playing has huge greens, the practice green will often be the size of a postage stamp. Good luck with those 50 foot lags. Is there a lot of slope on the course putting surfaces? Naturally the practice green will be flat as a pancake. Don’t worry, it should only take 15 or 16 holes to figure out how much the greens break. If the practice green is slow, get ready for speeds only slightly less than Augusta National. Conversely, if the practice surface is lightning quick, the real greens probably haven’t been cut in three days.

Once a round starts, all aspects of putting will test your intestinal fortitude. However, of all green-related occurrences, nothing is more demoralizing than a lipped-out putt. You can live with a good honest miss. Maybe it is the fact that when a putt is going to miss by several inches to either side of the cup, you pretty much already know it is a miss; you have time to run through the seven stages of grief and accept the fact that the ball isn’t going to disappear into that dark cylinder. With a lip-out, however, your attention is riveted on the ball the entire way; your hopes soar. The putter starts to rise in triumph or your fist pump is readied. And then the darn ball takes a 90 degree (or worse, a 180 degree) detour around the cup and proceeds on its way. Your opponents barely hide their glee as they mouth vague commiserations (“Wow, I thought that was in!”) that only serve to increase one’s pain.

If lip-outs are the most soul-wrenching results on the green, then 3-putts come a close second. An inopportune 3-putt turns birdie into bogey. Worse, after struggling on a hole but still with a chance to save par or bogey, a 3-putt will consign the unfortunate golfer to a double or worse. Somewhere in Hell I hope Osama is doomed to 3-putt for eternity.

Finally, if the whole putting experience isn’t emotionally draining enough, we often must face the doings of the evil pin-setter. This dastardly master of sod-cutting can often find the perfect location that yields slick double-breaking putts from 98% of the green. After finally sticking an approach to within 6 feet, it is always great to discover one must negotiate a ridge with a 4-foot break. Yep, lag putting from 6 feet is a lot of fun. Throw in a lip-out and/or 3-putt and we are ready to be fitted for a straight jacket.

In the end, it is all okay. Just go out and buy another $200 flat stick; you will be one-putting everything next week. Or switch to a new version of the “claw”, left hand low or split handed grip!

So what feature of putting drives you crazy? Or are you one of the Oobers that LOVES to putt? Share your insights and stories!



This was written by Brian Kuehn, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

photo by Two Roses


[ comments ]
billbadaz says:
I think a three putt is much worse than a lip out. At least with a lip out you know you hit a good putt, and you can probably make the come back putt. A 3 putt means you just hit 2 BAD putts and are making bogey or worse. I played a course Friday I had not played in 2 years, and I had four 3 putts!! The next day I had none. Shot in the 80's and the next day in the 70's, all b/c of putting!!
7/6/11
 
666 Iron says:
I hate the lip out. Either the ball goes in or you miss the cup. Don't tease me.
7/6/11
 
homermania says:
Timely. My last round featured a three putt, lip out and a sucker pin all on the same green.
7/6/11
 
homermania says:
How about three putting for par. Now that gets me upset!
7/6/11
 
Envythepea says:
Buying a new putter believing that this is the reason your putting sucked. When I bought my new Odyssey 2-ball White Hot putter a few years back, I knew it was going to make me a great putter because I drained every putt on the cute little practice hole in the golf shop! I paid too much for it because I'm impatient and don't want to waste my time looking for good deals (ask my wife!). It didn't even come with a cover! I didn't care. During rounds my so-called golf buddies were soon offering to buy it from me for half price, and then with each successive 3-putt or missed short putt the offers would come down! Putting is hard when you're psyched out! I finally got the offers to come back up recently.
7/6/11
 
bducharm says:
Putting is something that EVERYONE can get better at. You do not have to be strong or athletic to putt well. There are some fundamentals that make putting easier (I didn't say easy!) and actually fun! I look forward to putting. Before I took my lesson with Marius Filmalter (www.mariusgolf.com) I considered myself an OK putter. Now I feel like I am going to make EVERY putt!!!
7/6/11
 
Banker85 says:
I really enjoy the days were i feel like i cant miss. Then there are days were just cant shake the thought of the lst 4 footer i missed on the previous hole. I dread the 3 putt more then anything in golf. I rarely ever hit the practice green before a round becasue all a practice green does for me is show me how to miss. Putting is fun tho when your holing em. otherwise i would have to agree with Hogan.
7/6/11
 
aaronm04 says:
I fashion myself as a pretty good putter. I have focused on it more recently than I ever have. I realized that no one having a good round of golf is ever putting poorly.

What I hate about putting is putting on punched greens. I recognize it as a necessity for long term green health. That doesn't mean I have to like playing on them. It's unfair enough with some of the pin locations on some holes. Then having to find the proper line on a turf-laden peg board that can turn your ball either direction on a whim is an exercise in frustration. Punched courses should have discounted rates until they heal. Or at least bump up the slope/rating temporarily.
7/6/11
 
SD Charlie says:
This reminds me of a quote I read somewhere (probably OOBGolf), it goes something like this: "All the good and bad things in golf happen on the tee, the fairway and the rough. The green is just there to make you hate yourself."

This article is just so perfect though. When does the practice green ever match the playing conditions?! At my local muni 9-hole course that is good for after work practice, there's a 175-yard par-3 with a steeply sloped and contoured green. The hole always seems to be cut at the edge of a ridge or cusp, so if you're above the hole, welcome to the 3-putt zone. If you're below the hole, then you must have missed the green... Finally hit a great, fading 6-iron to about 6 feet last week. Of course, when I tapped in for par, I was not surprised - hell, I was happy it wasn't a bogey!
7/6/11
 
Trav says:
3-putt doesn't sound so bad compared to my double with a 4-putt last weekend.
7/6/11
 
pvt4211 says:
God bless my putting. IT is the strongest part of my game (may have something to do with not being an athletic move). Ha Ha. It has saved my a#$ in so many rounds, it's pretty awesome.
7/6/11
 
legitimatebeef says:
I hate the early call, especially on the green. "Awww great putt!" -- right before the ball rolls 6 feet past the hole. I really hate the early call that's overly specific, like when people yell out "YES!!!!!" or "ITS IN THE HOLE" a moment before the ball lips out hard. I'm telling you the universe does not seem to like the early call. Whenever these things happen there is always a pall in the air, just an ugly, sad, shameful feeling. I wish people would control themselves.
7/6/11
 
Banker85 says:
2nd that @beef. Shut up and dont talk to my ball. Like when i hit it and some one says gotta go, No shit i hit it i know its gonna come up short! pisses me off.
7/6/11
 
billbadaz says:
I like it when I do a Saddam Hussein, Bunker to Bunker!!
Or the Junior Prom when I am putting, All Lip, No Hole!
7/6/11
 
jwilder78 says:
It actually gives me some solace to know that Hogan wanted to reduce the influence of putting from golf. I've mused with my friends about a variant of the game where everything is exactly the same, except the cup is twice the diameter.

Imagine, instead of 4.25 inches wide, you'd have 8.5 inches! This would absolutely smooth out the non-linear nature of putting, i.e. a miss of 2 inches is the same as missing by 2 feet. Instead, the game would be dictated by the rest of the long and short game, and only poor putts would be punished. For me, 95% of the game would be retained, but with far less pain.

Maybe it wouldn't have to be double-wide, but I would certainly enjoy golf more with a larger cup. I'd call it EssentialGolf :)
7/6/11
 
Envythepea says:
That's a good idea, jwilder...but then maybe have a windmill to knock the ball away to keep it sporting!
7/6/11
 
elhacker says:
I have the putting yips lately. A few 4 putts the last round wrecked what would have been breaking 90. Reading greens and judging speed are my key problems. What I really hate is hitting it short. On one put Monday, I read it going left, downhill with the slope. Damn ball rolled right, about 4 feet of the cup, uphill, against the slope. I'm just $#%^ing mental right now about putting.

Any book recommendations on putting?
7/6/11
 
falcon50driver says:
Played in a tournament today. I usually never practice on the putting green, but today I had time to kill before the start. I was putting lights out, dropping them in from any distance. During the actual round I must have had ten putts come up 4 to 5 feet SHORT. There was absolutely no resemblance from the practice green to the course. Fortunately I made a lot of 4 footers today.
7/6/11
 
stedar says:
The great thing a oob is the stats. Keeping a record of puts makes you realise that you will have a good 1-putt from time to time and the odd 4-putt to make you feel like you cant play. When all averaged out, you can set goals that are realistic, like trying to get a 2.5 avg if on a 2.8 or break 2 if you are just on it. 18 holes is a lot of putting, if you are in the 30's you are doing great, in the 40's you know you can improve and if you are under 25, you should be making money out of this game :-). After all, putting is the true test of golf, you need to be very focused and cant get away with a bad putt like a drive that is wayward but playable. Great story Brian - thanks...
7/7/11
 
mmontisano says:
it seems like everyone is money on the practice green. there's no tension on trying to make the putt. practice strokes on the practice green? pfffftttt.... i'm just gonna hit it.

since it was working out so well on the practice greens, i tried to take that same mentality to the course. it worked out well for a while, but now i'm putting horribly again.

in stead of making the hole bigger, i just want to say that everything inside 10 feet is 1 putt. if you're on the green out side that 10 feet, it's 2 putts. just take out the hole completely.
7/7/11
 
Trav says:
@ elhacker: Pelz' Putting Bible. He overanalyzes some, but he gets you thinking how to build a consistent stroke, which helps reduce margin of error to reading greens and, my personal nemesis, judging speed. Last weekend notwithstanding, it has helped me a lot. I am curious about Stockton's book since he seems to be the hot one nowadays.

Not a fan of the "mental" books, basically they can be summed up as "don't get upset, be confident."
7/7/11
 
bobhooe says:
I dislike having to repair 2 to 3 divots that seem to be in my path on very other hole. I blame my bad average on said divots.
7/7/11
 
putz says:
I have gotten better this year by being anal about setting up exactly the same every time. There are a couple of articles in the current Golf magazine, one of which by the current "best" putting pro. He uses the putter head to set his stance. I have used that method this year too. At least I can quit blaming my setup for my putting.
7/7/11
 
TimmyBede says:
Earlier this Spring I had 5 3-putts over 9 holes. On the 9th hole I 3-putt to loose the match (and $9). I've never putt that bad in my entire life. www.oobgolf.com/golfers/score.php?id=1491551
7/7/11
 
bducharm says:
@elhacker - Read Putting out of Your Mind by Dr. Bob Rotella. Very good book on the mental aspects.
7/7/11
 
666 Iron says:
Banker85 says:
2nd that @beef. Shut up and dont talk to my ball. Like when i hit it and some one says gotta go, No shit i hit it i know its gonna come up short! pisses me off.

This is cracking me up because it's so true. It makes me want to bury the head of my putter in the back of someone's skull.
7/7/11
 
robbie.dejarnette says:
I had two this past weekend. The first was a 4 footer straight uphill for par, so I hit it with a little pace to take any unseen break out and the thing went right over the cup to stop about an inch on the other side! The second one was another putt for par about 6
feet with right to left, downhill break. Playing the course numerous times, I knew the putt would be super fast, so I played it outside where I thought the line was and just tapped the ball. It rolled towards my target, turned toward the hole and, amazingly, I had guessed right as it was heading to the center of the cup. BUT WAIT! It STOPS about an inch from the cup like someone had slammed on the brakes! Two three puts for bogey with the combined third putt distance being about 2.5"!
10/12/11
 
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