Saturday, 11 February 2017

Bobby Jones' Conclusion About Putting

In his book Down the Fairway, Bobby Jones was quite clear about the fact that he did not consider himself to be a great putter. This could simply be his modesty at play, because you don't win thirteen Majors by the time you are 27 without knowing a thing or two about rolling your rock. 

But Bobby did, during those seven lean years from fourteen to twenty one when he couldn't quite win a Major, suffer some agonies on the greens. And he managed to find the solution that worked best for him. He did not necessarily recommend his method to us, since he well understood that putting is the most individual part of the game. The only rule is that you get the ball in the hole.

Consider what Bobby wrote as a conclusion to his ideas about putting in Down the Fairway. He wrote:

    "Now, I haven't said much about grip or stance because I've changed mine a good many times and may change them again, and anyway, I do not think the secret of putting, if there is a secret, is in the mechanics, granted that the swing can be made smoothly and to a fair degree automatically. I do say that for me there must be some flexibility, and hence movement, of the knees and body, and of the arms, in putts of some length. I keep my hands opposed; that is, with the palms opposite and the wrists thus working exactly against each other, which is not done in bigger shots, where my left hand is more on top of the shaft and my right hand also a bit farther over.
     But as I see it, the thing that hurt my putting most when it was bad--and it was very bad, at times--was thinking too much about how I was making the stroke, and not enough about getting the ball into the hole. I have always been a fair approach putter, and I am not so bad at holing-out now, though not in the class with a number I could name. But I have concluded that, having acquired a fairly smooth and accurate stroke, the thing for me to do is to forget it as far as possible and concentrate on getting the ball into the cup.
     Which seems to have been the original object, in golf."

To that, I can only say,"Amen." If I could only put that to practice in my game. Some days are better than others. But the more I focus on holing the putt; and the less I think about how I'm stroking the ball; the more often the ball goes in. That Bobby Jones was a heckuva player, and he wasn't exactly a slouch when it comes to writing. If you get the chance, read his books. They are still the best books you can find on how to play this game.