ESTABLISH YOUR PRACTICE FRAMEWORK（自己的练习体系）
Flow-lines—imaginary lines running through key parts of your body — are important because the stroke, the putter-head, and the ball move naturally in these same directions if the small muscles of the fingers, hands, wrists, and forearms are kept out of the putting motion. So set your flow-lines properly at address and you’re well on the way to starting your putts in the right direction.
*** Shoulders Are Number One （肩膀一定要平行于瞄准线）
The most important flow-line is that of the shoulders, the line running through your shoulder sockets. If your shoulder flow-line is aiming to the left, as shown in figure, there’s no way the putter-head can travel down your Aim-line unless the muscles in your hands and arms get into the act, compensate against the natural flow direction, and push the putter and ball back toward the Aim-line.
You can see most of your flow-lines by positioning your hands under your shoulders (relax and let gravity do the work) and pointing your index fingers toward each other. This “finger line” makes it easy to see when your hips, knees, feet, and shoulders are parallel-left of the Aim-line. Once both your hands and shoulders are in this perfect position, simply swinging them back and through will create the ideal pure-in-line and square putting stroke.
The best learning aid for shoulder flow-line alignment is Elk’s Key. “Elk” is Steve Elkington, who helped me design this device during our struggles with getting his shoulder flow-lie parallel to his Aim-line.
*** Vertical Shoulder Rotation(肩膀的垂直面转动)
When you putt with a vertical pendulum (hands vertically below your shoulders), your shoulders shoulder rotate in a vertical plane. But many golfers (out of habit) rotate their shoulders around their spines horizontally because that’s what they do in their other golf swings. If this is your problem, it’s a habit you should break.
Learning vertical shoulder rotation is easy. Get your putter and something light and about 36 inches long and connect the rod to your shoulders with rubber bands or hold it against your shoulders. Make sure the rod is tight to your shoulder line and that it’s about one inch away from the wall on both sides when you take your putting address position. Stroke putts along an imaginary Aim-line that is parallel to the doorway wall. If your shoulders try to move around horizontally, the shaft will hit the wall. Learning to make a pure, vertical swing with your hands and shoulders won’t take much time. If you do this drill for five minutes a night for a couple of weeks, you’ll probably never have to do it again.
*** Forearms Are Number Two(前臂与瞄准线的平行)
The second most important flow-line is that of your forearms. The usual error is to align it too far to the left. Many right-handed golfers set their forearms this way because it’s the instinctive position for those using the conventional “right-hand-low” putter grip with their forearm flow-line pointing left, most golfers cut across their putts (it’s the natural flow direction) and compensate by opening their putter-faces through impact. To align your forearm flow-line parallel to your Aim-line, either tuck your right elbow into your body or use the left-hand-low putting grip.
*** Eyes Are Number Three （眼睛平行于瞄准线）
When you stand behind your ball and judge the distance of the putt, keep your eye flow-line horizontal to the ground. This is called the binocular position, because both eyes are working together and feeding a properly triangulated picture of the putt distance to your brain.
As you address your putt holding your head over your Aim-line, try to align your putter and body to it. In this case both eyes should be on-line – that is, vertically over the Aim-line to help orient your flow-lines and putter-fact to it. Many golfers unknowingly set their eye flow-line so it cut across their Aim-line to the left – because they stand open to the Aim-line trying to “see-the-target” better – which ironically makes it more difficult to see their proper setup position correctly.
During setup and alignment, head should rotate along the vertical plane above your Aim-line. It’s best to turn your head this way, keeping your eyes in the plane of the Aim-line to help orient your shoulder and forearm flow-lines, and ultimately your putter path, to your Aim-line.
*** The Rest Are Less Important (次要因素)
The flow-lines of your hips, knees and feet are important only inasmuch as they affect the flow-lines of the “big three” – your shoulders, forearms and eyes. So it is possible to stand with your stance closed or open and still maintain a properly aligned shoulder flow-line. However, I prefer to see my students set the flow-lines of their lower body square, starting with their toes an equal distance from their Aim-line. There’s a much greater chance of success keeping their shoulders and forearms in good positions if the lower body also is square to the Aim-line.
*** Stance and Ball Position （站位与球位）
The perfect putting stance, assuming everything else is normal, is to set your feet shoulder-width apart. Stance width is measured from the center of your feet and the center of your shoulders. Wider than this is okay, but sometimes a little uncomfortable; narrower usually is not as stable.
Once you’re standing properly, the ball should be positioned just ahead of the bottom of the stroke arc, so it will be launched only slightly upward at impact. For most golfers, this puts perfect ball position about an inch and a half (almost the diameter of one ball) behind the instep of the lead foot, and – this is important vertically under your eye flow-line. Once you see that your stance is perfect relative to the Aim-line, and that your eyes are vertically above the Aim-line, measure the distance between your toe line and the inside edge of the ball. This distance, is usually about the length of two putter heads, and should stay the same for all your putts on level putting surfaces. When putts are significantly above your feet, you can stand slightly farther from the ball, and for balls below your feet, a little closer.
11.6 Fit Your Putter （选择合适的推杆）
A properly fit putter is important, but it’s not the top priority in helping you putt better. The best putters of our time – could putt well with just about any putter. A poor fit (especially for beginner) can be a significant deterrent to a golfer’s ability to learn to putt. Because when the structure of new equipment is wrong for a golfer, and he changes his posture of stroke motion to compensate for it, it’s wrong.
You should understand the primary purposes of putter-fitting: (1) to allow your to set up properly as you learn stroke mechanics; (2) to not screw up your already established stroke mechanics (assuming they are good); and (3) to help you aim better.
A badly fit putter can hurt you, while a perfectly fit putter will usually only not hurt you. A perfect putter usually won’t make your stroke better, it won’t make your green-reading any better and it certainly won’t knock the putts into the hole for you.
*** Lie Angle and Shaft Length（ 杆底角与杆身长度）
These are the two specifications you should get fit first. Starting in a perfect setup position – eyes vertically above the Aim-line, hands vertically under the shoulders, shoulder and forearm flow-lines parallel to the Aim-line, posture and back-to-hip angles comfortable – there is only one lie angle and one shaft length that will position the ball exactly at the sweet-spot of the putter while connecting the putter-head to your hands.
By the way, the shaft can be a little long without hurting the overall balance. As long as you can move your hands down the grip, you’re fine. But don’t let it get so long that it gets caught in your clothing especially in any rain gear or other weather wear.
*** You Must Commit （给自己的承诺）
So you have a putter with the lie angle and shaft length that fit your posture. And you like how it looks and feels at impact. Now, before you begin an improvement program, you must make a promise to yourself. You must commit to using that putter, and no other, for at least six months.
*** The Long Putter （长推杆）
How do you know whether or not you’d putt better with a long-shafted putter? Give one a try, and not for just two or three putts, work with one for several half-hour sessions. The long putter offers several advantages over ones of standard length: There’s no breakdown of the wrist joint during the stroke, and there’s no rotating of the forearms, so golfers are less likely to try controlling the putter-face.
I also like the long putter because it looks something like the pendulum of a grandfather clock, so it help golfers understand the concept of the pendulum motion. I do believe all golfers should at least give a long putter a try. Many golfers actually improve their putting with standard length putters after sending some time putting with the long one.
*** Minimize Hand Control (减少手的控制功能)
When you try the long putter, there is one thing you must do. Make sure you let it swing through impact without controlling its face angle. So rather than wrapping your lower hand completely around the shaft, takes a grip that minimizes hand control. I have found the claw and fingertip grips the best options for achieving this. Allowing the right forearm and hand to control the putter-face and rotate through impact erases the advantages of the long putter.
*** Are You Limited to One Putter? ( 最多带一只推杆？)
I am frequently asked if I think it is smart and / or acceptable to carry more than one putter at a time. My answer is always the same: “Only if you will putt better and score lower by doing so.”
In all honesty, I’d carry five putters if I thought they would help my putting and lower my scores.
But be sure to test for distance efficiency and then commit to a particular putter for putts of a particular length before you play. You don’t want to be deciding on the course which putter to use.
*** Shaft Axis （轴线）
An often overlooked component of a putter’s construction is where the shaft connects to the head. It’s important because it helps determine the axis around which the putter-head rotates, which can help minimize head rotation on mis-hit putts. It’s important to make consistent contact on or as near as possible to, the sweet-spot. Golfers tend to mis-hit toward the toe of their putter – their impact pattern resembles the one should look for a shaft that connects to the head closer to the mis-hit area, that is, farther away from the heel of the club. With his toe-impact pattern, a heel-shafted putter will twist off-line to the right. Conversely, golfers whose misses are toward the heel should use a heel-shafted putter.
The important principle here is to get your mis-hits to occur near the putter sweet-spot or between the sweet-spot and the shaft axis of rotation of your putter. Two of the smartest golfers I know, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus, have used heel-shafted putters throughout their careers.
*** Head Balance: Heel-Toe Weighting (杆头平衡：跟部与趾部的平衡设计)
There is good news and bad news regarding the balance of a putter-head. The good news is that the more the putter-head is “heel-toe” balanced – more of its weight is placed toward the ends of the head – the less it twists when mis-hit. In general, this is good, and explains why heel-toe-balanced putters have sold well over the years: putts hit away from the sweet-spot roll a little closer to their intended speed and line. Of course, no putter can make putts hit away from the sweet-spot roll perfectly, but the greater the heel-toe weight distribution, the more forgiving the putter is on mis-hits.
Now the bad news. The less a putter twists when mis-hit the better it feel. That sounds good, right? Well, think about it. Using a putter that feels good even on mis-hits lets golfers get sloppy with their impact patterns, which leads to long term degradation of putting performance, because the putter masked the feel of a mis-hit.
I suggest that you continue using a heel-toe-weighted putter on the course, and when you practice use a device called the “Teacher Clip”, which trains your stroke to sweet-spot contact. This combination helps keep impact pattern tight while still being somewhat forgiving on the course.