The Straight Putt/Intermediate Target Skill Challenge
I had a wonderful time visiting with my putting mentor during the 2016 Ryder Cup, Phil Kenyon. The Golf Channel reported Phil was Europe’s secret weapon as the putting coach for most members of the team, but the USA won the Cup in an epic contest regardless of Phil’s coaching efforts. I thought I’d share an example of something I experienced watching the master at work.
Justin Rose was practicing with Phil at hand. A process he used which can help everybody improve their aim was to hold the putter waist high with the shaft aligned to the target, favoring the dominant eye. Then select an intermediate target along the shaft line for the ball to transit en route to the real target. Most golfers do something like that for almost every shot. Sounds pretty simple, and a skill easily acquired.
But there’s a but!
But during practice Justin actually marked the intermediate target spot with a Sharpie, and Phil used his laser chalk line to make sure there wasn’t any visual bias which could influence the desired result.
And there’s an and.
And Justin is 6 feet 3 inches tall, so with an educated guess his intermediate target is 6 feet from the ball. That distance is out of precision range for most of us! So there’s more to it than simply aiming at that 12 inch intermediate target we like to use. We all should rehearse the cluster of the pre-roll set up to improve our aiming skill with an intermediate target at ever increasing distance intervals. The farther we can move the intermediate target the greater the accuracy, and the less chance for the ball to roll off the desired line.
And then…what’s next?