Fix My Putting: Effective Practice
A word that screams complex for some or invokes painful memories of agonizingly long 8AM college classes for others.
A prickly word that triggers an analytical, technical mindset. Or in my case...
A word synonymous with treasure map...
Since the advent and rise in popularity of Strokes Gained Putting, I have received a lot of questions about it. Does it matter? Why is it important? Does a negative number mean I suck? What’s an average performance? What information does it tell me?
Information helps coaches make sound decisions. Information helps players understand what happened. Information allows us to practice effectively.
It's a treasure map shows us the gold
Strokes Gained Putting serves as a barometer for a player’s performance relative to the Tour Average on any given day. Oftentimes, that information is just a blanket number, either positive or negative, and judgement is quickly passed.
The number is positive and we label ourselves. Confident. Successful. Excellent.
The number is negative and we label ourselves. Worthless. Struggling. Yippy. Doubtful.
Can you imagine living on that roller coaster for every single round? A lot of players do, and it stops today. The treasure is being able to practice effectively.
SpiderPutt is a mobile app that allows us to track SGP. But what separates this mobile app from the rest of the stat tracking services on the market?
Instead of just that blanket number for an entire round, the data input allows us to see a hole by hole results with more precise information. The program doesn’t collect just the distance of the first putt on the green, but of each putt. And it doesn’t stop there.
Other parameters like the amount and direction of break are also tracked. Players can even indicate the cause of missed putts as well.
Sounds Cool, But...
Think it’s too much information? It’s an essential part of the road map because we need to know more about how the total SGP number was created. Consider the following example.
A tour professional finishes -1 SGP for the round. Did the player have a bad day? At first glance, you could say yes, because the number is negative. But that single number doesn’t tell the whole story.
It leaves out the fact that the player missed two 8 foot birdie putts that were both on severe slopes of 3% or greater. And anyone that has had “a swinger” from close range knows they are wayyyyy harder than a gentle breaker.
Would it have been nice to make one of those? Sure. But do we want to judge this player’s putting performance and ability based on a couple of extremes? Likely no. In fact, we probably want to credit the player for putting Tour average for the other 16 holes. And the examples don’t stop there.
Ran one 6 feet past the hole and made the comeback putt? Your statistics should reflect that.
Want to know if you’re a better putter from 3-6 feet or 6-10 feet? Got it.
Want to know if you’re better on left to right or right to left? Got it.
Want to know if you should spend more time improving green reading? Got it.
Intrigued? You should be.
Now for the Treasure Map
Jordan Spieth’s coach, Cameron McCormick, once said that he is not data driven, he is data informed. And as your putting coach, it’s my job to make informed decisions to best help your putting. To best help your game, we need to make sure you are practicing effectively.
The data that SpiderPutt collects is the treasure map to find the gold. This map will read differently for all players. Some will show trends of struggles on left to right putts. Others will quickly see that their speed management needs work from 10-20 feet even though their lag putting might be good.
Whatever the map says, it will be much easier to read than interpreting if a round was good or bad based solely based on a total SGP.
The Wrap Up
I have one final thought that comes from my friend Jason Sutton’s Golf Guru Show podcast. He had Dr. Bhrett McCabe, one of the world’s leading sports performance experts on recently, and the topic of statistics and measuring.
Jason: How important is journaling and reflecting to... refer back to [your performance] in future practice sessions or tournament?
Bhrett: I think journaling is critical, because if you’re not journaling, then the only emotional mark that you’re getting, the only assessment that you’re getting is the emotional feeling in the moment. If the only assessment you have is how you feel in the moment, then you’re never going to think you’re very good.
But, if as a player, you can look and say ‘Man, I got my butt kicked today,’ or ‘I kicked its butt today,’ but look at the journal today and go well ‘I kicked its butt today because I’ve had 8 weeks in a row of really, really, solid play,’ why wouldn’t you be confident?... I think it’s just important that we capture that and we know the things that we do well, the things that we don’t do well, and we’re willing to take an analysis of our stats.
Don’t take it just from me. Take it from other field experts too.
Download the app. Watch the video series below. Create the treasure map.
Together, we can use SpiderPutt to practice effectively. That’s the gold.
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The video below is the first in a FREE 6 part series that introduces SpiderPutt and how it can help you benefit your game. SpiderPutt is included with the purchase of a 3 Session Online Lesson Package, Annual Online Lesson Membership, or attendance in The Putting Experience.