Get Your Eyes Where?
I have another all time favorite myth for us to tear apart: Your eyes need to be over the ball at address.
I cringe every time I hear it. Everyone has heard it. And just about every amateur that takes a trip to my putting studio has mentioned it when we chat at the beginning of The Putting Experience. It has been shared for for too long and it's about time it stopped. So, I shared my thoughts on this topic in Golf Digest. Insert 🚨 Shameless Self Promotion 🚨 alert here.
The Golf Digest Article
Setting up with your eyes directly above the ball is one tip many golfers think is a putting fundamental. Truth is, less than 20 percent of the tour players I’ve watched do it, so it’s far from essential. In fact, this setup can make your putting worse. When your sight line is over the ball, the tendency is to lean onto your toes [right].
With pressure too far forward at address, it’s easy to drift back onto your heels during the stroke to compensate, which increases the potential for a poor strike or to get the putt started on the wrong line – or both.
A Better Setup
Instead of worrying about eye position, focus on balance – maintain pressure underneath the laces of your shoes [above]. To find this balance point, rock back and forth between your heels and toes until you feel centred. The goal is to find a comfortable, balanced stance that prevents excess movement, allowing you to strike every putt solid and get the ball rolling on your intended line.
There's Gotta Be More
Of course there's more. There's only but so much print space available, so that seemed like a good stopping point. As for the details, you don't simply lean forward and expect everything to perfectly align. Because your setup is a complex structure of body segments that need to cooperate with your optics, we need to take the time to find exactly what does work for you.
If you took a look at the last myth we discussed about the letter Y (click to review if you didn't), you know that the ball position for most golfers is some amount forward of center. Your eye dominance can influence how far forward is too far forward, but there aren't any rules that I have noticed for players. Given that, I don't ask about eye dominance or teach a particular setup built around that.
And here's one to keep you on your toes. Did you ever think about ball position in terms of distance from the ball? I have. And it influences...
How upright or crouched you are at setup will definitely change where the head is positioned. And don't forget how about if it is slightly open or closed to the target line.
If you're struggling to see the line on some days, but not others, perhaps your setup could use some guidance...
Here's the crash course on your head. No, crash helmet not required. You have head bend (nodding yes), head turn (shaking your head no), and head tilt (like you're moving either ear closer to either shoulder). There is some combination of bend, tilt, and turn that allows you to see the line better in addition to some of the other pieces we have touched on so far today.
Thank you to David Orr, founder of Flatstick Academy, for sharing a lot of the information that helped me, ummm, get my head on straight when it comes to the complex stuff. Pun intended.
The Wrap Up
Phew. That was a lot of information to cover. I think everyone can safely say now that there are more than a few exceptions to the rule "Keep your eyes over the ball."
There are only 3 Things to Know if you want hard and fast rules for putting. Get those HERE in my free e-book.
If you want to know how to find the best setup for your own putting, click HERE to book an online lesson. We'll clean up your alignments and get you working on the right stuff!