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Inside The Garage: Setup

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It's a safe venture that a large percentage of players, especially competitive ones, use some kind of alignment rod or club for general reference frames on the range. A disproportionately small number of those players use a reference point for their setup on the putting green or on their at-home putting mat.

It's time to change that. And this post is going to show us why.

How Much Does Setup Matter?

This question came through a recent Grab Bag, so we wanted to review a recent lesson and talk about how some setup components can impact the stroke itself. This is not by any stretch a complete list from start to finish of the things that I am looking for at setup, but those reading should at the very least be aware of them.

Forward Bend

When looking at forward bend, I'm specifically looking at the lumbar spine, or lower portion of the spine.

I divide the spine into "parts" when assessing this because the the spine is not straight (if you don't believe me, look here).

Trying to draw a line across the entire torso is could, as seen here, give you a false indication as to how much forward bend a player is employing.

If looking for a specific number, it varies from player to player and their needs, but we'll communicate it terms of degrees away from the vertical. If using the iPhone edit feature and ruler of a still photo, that number is measured from the horizontal. 90 minus the degrees shown on the ruler gives you your forward bend.

In this case, too much forward bend on the left photo has some additional implications.

Eye Line

I'm going to emphasize this. This segment is not about getting your eyes over the ball. They just happen to be there for this player. What we do need to notice is that the additional forward bend moved the player's eye line outside the ball at address. This can cause a player to comment "something doesn't look right over the ball" as well as see changes in ability to manage speed.

Arm Bend

Because the player has too much forward bend at address, the positioning of the arms changes as well. This isn't something the player proactively does. It's just a result of being closer to the ground but attempting to hold the putter in the same spot on the grip.

Players might notice feeling "jammed up" or "crowded" in this scenario. It can also lead to a change in their stroke shape (path), and ability to generate speed of the putter head. You'll see that change in the below video.


Before and After - Down the Line

From the down the line view, the new found "space" will help with the reduction in the amount of arc in the stroke. Not to say that less arc is better, but this player benefited from less arc and a more neutral swing direction.

Before and After - Face On

The changes from FO go beyond a "look" that we're chasing. When a player has too much forward bend and consequently arm bend, you might notice compensations like head movement in an effort to regain lost speed. The Wrap Up

Your biggest takeaway from this should be that having a setup built for you is incredibly important. That should shortly be followed by proper maintenance practices to ensure that once it's built, it never gets off. That strategy will help you keep the train on the tracks and the tracks in good working order. If you need help building the train or the tracks, just click to read more about online lessons or The Putting Experience.


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