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Every so often an innovation comes along in sports that really works. I'm referring now to methods of execution and technique rather than scientific and technological advances in equipment.
What comes to mind is the "Fosberry Flop" in the high jump. Most of you have never seen the "Scissors" style that has since disappeared.
Another is the two handed tennis shot. Most players today are not competitive without it.
Still another is the soccer style of field goal kicking in football.
In golf, you rarely see the flippy wristed putting of earlier days once the one piece, pendulum method proved more reliable.
And then, of course, the croquet style of the early sixties (See HOLE NO.14 Me & Sam & the "DUDE") which was just a bit too effective for the USGA.
Others methods are more subtle but no less effective involving training and mental techniques, drills, diet and the like.
More recently, tall split-grip putting is beginning to emerge as the technique of choice for many amateur and professional players.
The reason is simple... it eliminates one of the major problems of conventional putting... namely, the difficulty one encounters trying to keep the stroke on line and the face square with two hands rather than one. Even though you are still swinging across your body, it's a big step in the right direction. More and more professionals are saving their careers with this method. Most of them, if you notice, are quite open with their stance... still trying to improve that awkward look you get at the line when standing at a right angle to it and the loss of feel for pace you have swinging across your body.
I wonder why they don't just turn all the way around and face it.
Actually I think I do know. I began putting this way some years ago. It was a major improvement, particularly on putts under 1O feet. I tried facing the hole with the of-the-shelf, tall putter I was using with little change in results. The reason seemed to be the putter itself was unsuited for it due to it's shafting... wrong angle and off center. Also the head type seemed all wrong... too narrow.
However, John Ramsey, a local professional here in Las Vegas, has great success teaching this "sidesaddle" method with the same tall Ping putter I was using.
Before you buy another putter for "sidesaddling", try it with your own putter on shorter putts... Sam Snead style.
If you are right handed, place both feet on the left of the line facing the hole.
Play the ball a few inches in front and to the right of your right toe. Grip the top of the putter like an ice pick with your left hand.
Square the blade and the palm of your right hand to the line.
Now grip the shaft with the right hand well down the shaft eliminating as much bend in the elbow as is comfortable.
Hold steady with the top (left) hand and "stroke" it with a feeling of "tossing the ball along the line underhand" with the right hand.
The sensation you get... right from the start... is one of much less tension and a sense of confidence even when you miss.
Remember, 9O% of successful putting stems from confidence and lack of tension.
After this experiment, you might try it with one of the taller, split-grip putters. If they have one in your pro shop, ask to take it out to the putting green. Look for one that is center shafted and with as deep a head as possible. (Front to back) NOTE: The two center shafted mallet samples in the other column meet both of these criteria.