The full swing is a circular motion, like a Ferris Wheel. But unlike a Ferris Wheel, the full swing is slanted at an angle to accommodate the spine angle established at address and the lie angle of the club. Anyone can grasp these facts. What most people miss is that the putting stroke is the exact same motion, rooted in the laws of motion unlocked by Isaac Newton more than 400 years ago that also govern the full swing. Straight-back-and-through? It’s a putting myth that has caused heartbreak and high scores for millions of golfers.
Blame the laws of pendulous movement, formulated by Galileo in the early 1600s, which have been universally accepted as the most accurate way to describe a solid stroke. Yes, the putter swings like a pendulum, but not vertically like the one inside a grandfather clock. Like the tilted Ferris Wheel, the putting pendulum is angled. And since its length (or arm) is fixed, it naturally creates an arc, not a straight-back-and-through motion.
With these facts in mind, making a putting stroke should be easy, at least from a physiological perspective. We all know better. Putting, for some, is in fact the most challenging aspect of the game. Consider the requirements:
1. Striking a round object with a flat surface, and then control both the distance and direction the object is traveling.
2. Applying the required length of stroke with the correct tempo given the distance. To the hole.
3. Precisely reading slopes on the green, adjusting for the wind, taking into consideration the existence of grain, and calculating the effects of gravity on the roll of the ball.
To make things even more difficult, every putt is different, and you only have one club to deal with all of the variables. No wonder there’s less than a 10 percent chance that even a Tour pro will sink a 25-footer. Putting—simplicity and complexity in severe amounts.
Rote practice won’t necessarily help. Training your brain will. As you know, the brain controls all thoughts and actions. These thoughts and actions are based on the sensory information gathered and stored in the brain’s memory bank. In other words, actions are structured by the input we receive and the decisions we make. That’s what determines the outcome of our actions, and the subsequent feedback determines future decisions.
Should you provide the brain with too much information, it’ll short-circuit, and the quality of your decisions—present and future—will be impaired. The brain can only process one thought at a time—you cannot think of your wife and girlfriend at the same time. As such, it’s nearly impossible to simultaneously control distance and direction, at least without simple yet clear strategy. That’s why it’s critical need to break down the complexities to putting into sensible and easy-to-repeat steps and practice them one at a time. The more knowledge and understanding you have of these principals, the easier the task becomes.
I can explain these principals. I cannot understand them for you, but that’s my challenge as your teacher. I’m ready for the challenge.
"I learned more about putting from Marius in one hour than I have in the thirty years prior. He has a wonderful ability to explain and demonstrate changes that make a difference in improved putting."
Rick, New Hampshire
Marius Filmalter: GOLF Magazine's 2009
INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
View more of Marius' video tips on GOLF.com
"I conducted an internet search to find a putting guru who worked with PGA touring pros who would be willing to work with an amateur. I'm thrilled beyond belief to have had the good fortune to spend some time with Marius in his lab in Dallas. For years I had used a long putter, tried the "Kuchar" method and then to the conventional method in anticipation of the anchoring band. Needless to say all of these adjustments had gotten me very far offline. Marius, along with his technology, and brusque bedside manner (haha), was able to get me back on track. As he would say. .. "there you go". A heartfelt thank you for game changing instruction and great company."