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Senior Golfer - On The Green


What's new in the world of putting-Part II

The Putting Green

In this feature, we continue with my interview with Kevin Weeks, the 2005, 2007, and 2009 Illinois PGA Teacher of the Year, on what's new in the world of putting.

Q: So, there is no one best way to improve our putting stroke. Could you elaborate a little bit on this?
Weeks: I happen to work with tour pros, and just this past year (2009), I worked with two pros that won events on the PGA Tour and one who was in two playoffs. Mark Wilson putts cross-handed, left-hand low and Michael Bradley uses a conventional grip. George MacNeil is a little different than both of them. There are five or six different ways to have successful putting strokes. Everyone is different when it comes to putting, but the commonality is stroking the ball into the hole.

Q: Where do I go or to whom should I go to get my best putting stroke?
Weeks: You need to go to someone who does this for a living. Go to your local PGA professional and ask his/her advice. Go to be people who know what they are talking about because there is nothing worse then getting the wrong information.

As an aside, I also tell people to hang around with good putters. Although they are different, they all have one thing in common: T hey all think they can make any putt. They never think they will miss a putt. I compare them to shooting guards on basketball teams. They never think they will miss a shot, and when they do miss a few, they will keep on shooting to get out of the slump. The same thing holds true for good putters.

Contrast these thoughts to what you hear when you go into a pub after a round of golf. Here, you will hear players moaning about the putts they missed. "If only I had made that three-footer." "If only I had not three-putted the fourth green." You never hear that from good putters. I worked with a pro who missed a six-foot putt to get him into the top 10 of a tournament and increase his earnings by $85,000. When I asked him how he putted, he replied, "It was a great week of putting. I saw the lines, hit the putts where they needed to go. It was a great week of putting." He never mentioned that missed putt, and I never asked about it. The point here is that good golfers and good putters never dwell over missed shots. They're endlessly positive in their approaches.

Q: If you want to be a better putter, what is the best advice?
Weeks: Hit the ball closer to the hole. That sounds like a joke, but it is the truth. Hit those lag putts closer to the hole and you will have fewer putts. The best advice I can give to people is to swing the putter the same way back and forth. In my research, I have found that it is very difficult, if not impossible to swing the club straight back and straight through. It is also tough to decelerate through the putting stroke. The goal, however, is to swing the putter the same length back and the same length through at the same speed. I tell amateurs to react to the hole. See the hole, see the line from the ball to the hole. Keep your eyes on the line. Get up and stroke the putt into the hole. When you start thinking about the mechanics, that is when you get in trouble. That being said, I think that not having the right equipment makes a huge difference in your putting. If the club is either too short or too long, the golfer will find putting a difficult chore.

Q: Can seniors change their putting strokes to become better putters?
Weeks: Yes, by choosing the right equipment, having the right posture, and developing a repeatable stroke, they can become better putters. On the other hand, I find most seniors are not willing to put in the time and effort to become better putters. They are more interested in playing golf then becoming better. Golf seems to be more of a social occasion than a serious game. There is nothing wrong with it, but they can enjoy the game more if they became better putters.

Q: Do you have any advice for those people with the YIPS? Can they be cured?,br /> Weeks: I am a firm believer that you can cure the YIPS, and I say that after having done some research and read about research from a German doctor. In short, the YIPS can be reversed. The YIPS are a neurological response to anxiety. Knowing what it is and fixing it are two different things, but they can be fixed. It takes a person who has a lot of knowledge about the physical response and an individual who is willing to work to cure the YIPS. It takes work, commitment, and perseverance, but it can be done.

Thanks, Kevin, for your insight. To contact Kevin Weeks about lessons at Cog Hill or on putting, call 630-301-9357 or e-mail him at coghillpro@aol.com.


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