There are many training aids, alignment aids, devices and gadgets to help with putting. Believe me, I know. I trip over them all the time in my house.
Two of the most important parts of the putting setup are alignment and club head path. If either is off, you will miss the putt no matter what.
One way I like to check my setup is simply by checking my stance and putter head alignment in the kitchen while making Greek chicken, Greek salad and sipping on a red. I’ll use two different alignments on the kitchen tile.
First I’ll set up with my feet on one line, and put a dissecting line in the center of my stance. I can check my foot alignment and club face alignment against the grout lines running perpendicular to my stance.
Here I’m checking foot alignment and club head alignment…
Second, I’ll set up with the putter face at a four way intersection of the tiles. There I can check the face alignment as well as try some strokes along the line.
Use tile intersection to check face alignment and swing path…
I’m a bit of a “swinging door” putter, so the head won’t travel perfectly along the line, but it still helps visually.
Bellied Sand Wedge – click to zoom
The rough around here has been quite thick lately. The course operators and superintendents love their green grass. That means some thick lies with bent or bluegrass here. It is quite tough to chip shots around the greens in thick grass and I try to use my putter whenever I can because it is much easier to control the distance. The problem with using the putter is that grass gets between the club face and the ball, creating all sorts of unpredictable results.
In a case where there is grass behind the ball, like when the ball is up against the 2nd cut, I’ve had great results using a putting stroke with a “bellied” sand wedge. I know this isn’t a “new” technique by any means, but it has been particularly useful lately. Let’s talk about it.
The club of choice is the sand wedge. Why? The sand wedge is the heaviest club in the bag. This will help the club pass through the grass easier.
Blade of wedge at ball equator – click to zoom
The setup is easy. Setup like you are going to putt the ball, using a putting grip. Open the blade of the wedge until it is flat (see picture). Square the blade of the wedge up to the target line and position it at the equator of the ball.
Use a putting stroke, definitely NOT a chip stroke or swing. Keep the position of the blade (at the equator) through the stroke. The blade of the wedge will cut through the grass and make solid contact with the ball. The ball will roll like a putt.
The bellied sand wedge is a great option around the greens and has been a stroke saver for me lately. The ball comes out clean, with a predicable and moderately controllable speed. I can get it much closer to the hole this way than chipping.
I may have to start a new category for all of the apps that are coming out in the golf world. Okay that is now done. New HOG APP CATEGORY created!
Yesterday Nike Golf announced a new app for golfers, the NG360 app:
Nike Golf NG360 – click for more images of the app
“The NG360 App is an easy-to-use tool that will allow golfers to track their rounds to see how they stack up; improve their swing techniques with the help of coaches; and view and implement athletic training workouts that are golf-specific.” ~from Nike Golf press release
Key components of the app’s first version are My Game, My Swing, My Body and My Gear.
“The new NG360 App is one piece of a bigger initiative that is a holistic approach to improving golfers’ performance through physical evaluation and training, custom fitting of equipment and digital tracking applications.” ~from Nike Golf press release
NG360 Video below. Not too hip on the “get the props you deserve” line, but the rest is fine.
I’ll add this system to my review queue and do a post about it when I’ve made some conclusions. Until then you can read the entire Nike Golf NG360 press release from the HOGWire.biz newswire for more information.
Sipping my morning coffee and looking out the window at the rain. It is spring. We are now in the April showers leg of 2012. I’m considering golf in my league today, but I’d have to brave the wet weather. It can be done, and rounds of golf in the rain can be enjoyed if you are ready for them.
Here are a few items I’d suggest players have on hand for golfing in the rain:
Gustbuster Golf Umbrella
Good Golf Umbrella
Regular umbrellas are not sufficient for golf. Golf umbrellas are larger and more durable, and some like the Gustbuster Umbrellas (click for review) are designed to stay stable in the wind. Another great umbrella I’ve reviewed is the Mibrella, which has an elongated section to help cover better.
Most golf shoes these days are waterproof, unless they’re those more casual styles. I’m a big FootJoy MyJoy user and have golfed in many rain storms and wet conditions with great results. Other great waterproof golf shoes I’ve covered come from Puma and Nike.
Columbia Sportswear Golf Rain Gear
Good rain gear is essential. I’ve reviewed many awesome rain suits and jackets from a lot of great companies. Check out my rain gear reviews for Columbia Sportswear, Frogg Toggs, Sun Mountain.
Throw an extra pair of socks in your golf bag. They’ll come in handy in the rain, about the 10th hole.
I’m not a glove wearer, but I wear a glove in the rain. It is important to keep a few gloves in the bag. Hang them from the inside of the umbrella to dry when not in use and rotate them. Same with small towels or rags.
Rain Wedge Club Cover
It is tough to hit good golf shots with wet clubs, especially when you use grips like I do which are very soft. Those soft grips can get slimy and slippery. I’ve reviewed some very cool and useful rain covers which help keep those clubs and grips from getting wet. My all time favorite is the Rain Wedge, which I reviewed way back in 2006. The Drizzle Stick is also a cool option.
Several manufacturers make waterproof golf hats. They come in standard baseball cap or bucket style. I prefer a waterproof bucket style because it can help keep the rain from going on my ears and down my collar.
Frogger Amphibian Towel - Dry Layer Inside In Rain
Keep several dry towels in your golf bag. When one towel gets too wet, you can bust out the next one. My #1 suggestion for a great golf rain towel is the Frogger Amphibian. The Frogger Amphibian Towel has a moist and a dry side. In the rain, the inside is used as the dry side and it stays dry. Water doesn’t soak from the outside to the inside.
Just before hitting the road for home today I watched a bit of the Tiger Woods presser on Golf Channel, from Doral and the WGC Cadillac Championship.
I wonder how long some of the scribes work on their questions or even think about what they are saying sometimes. For instance, this great one today:
“Tiger, are you on track for the Masters?”
Um, what answer would one suspect Tiger would give? Here’s an alternative:
“Tiger, are you on track for the Masters?”
“Actually I’m glad you asked. I have no confidence in my game at all, especially after shooting a 62 in last Sunday’s final round. I’m announcing today that rather than embarrassing myself at Augusta, I’ve decided to decline my invitation to the Masters..”