Sunday, February 15, 2015

Putting: Before the End....

By TAFL  Hols

In my first post, we looked at the end of the putt's flight. We can now move backward in time and try to figure out what the expectations are for the middle of the flight. Again, while I'm discussing the issues as I considered them, I figure they may lead other people to figure out what it is they want to have happen when they're putting.

Keep in mind that the discussion, fo far, is about a primary putting style. The approach taken for the vast majority of putts. There are circumstances where I use different techniques, certainly, though that's a topic for discussion at a later date. For discussing basic putting, we'll keep the focus on primary putting techniques.

By "middle of the flight," I'm actually referring to that part of the throw shortly after the disc leaves the hand to right before it reaches the target (or as close to the target as it's going to get). That's actually the longest part of the disc's flight, though it seems to actually involve fewer expectations.

Some of those expectations are dependent on what I want to be happening at the target, as laid out in the earlier post. I want the disc descending at the target--headed for dirt--to minimize distance on a miss, as I stated there. That means that I expect the disc to have reached the apex of the flight somewhere in the middle of the flight. Yes, even on uphill putts, I want the disc to have reached apex and be descending when it gets to the basket.

I want the disc to fly reliably, which for me means that it has to have enough spin to reliably hold the line I put it on. I've watched a great many putts that a player released on what appeared to be a good line and yet the disc just didn't fly well because it just wasn't spinning enough. It also seems to me that putts hold lines better in windy conditions when they're spinning rapidly. I want to always have a goodly amount of spin on a putt.

I want the disc to reach the basket when it begins to power down. That is, it's gliding to the pin and not breaking hard on a fade when it reaches the target. It seems to me that the disc is less predictable when it's fading at the end of the flight, especially in the wind (and I live in the Midwest with lots of wind and courses with few trees), so I want that final fade to happen close to the basket.

I want the flexibility to shape the line in any direction. I want to be able to run straight at the pin, run it on a hyzer line, OR an anhyzer line. I want to be able to minimze the arc of the flight under low ceilings or heft it on high to bomb at the pin. I want to be able to use one basic technique to attack the pin from any angle, without having to make a significant change in technique to achieve it.

One could say that most any putting technique can achieve that. I have to wonder about that claim, though, as I've seen lots of players over the years struggle with some lines--they have difficulty with anhyzer lines using their primary putting styles, for example, so when they have to bend the line around a tree, they just don't seem to manage it well. (Push putters and chicken wingers seem to struggle with anhyzer lines.)

I suppose one could just decide to develop a technique to use for anhyzer lines and something else for the rest. That seems to be a lot of extra work, though, as the techniques that work well for anhyzer lines also work for hyzer lines and straight lines. If you're gonna use it for anny lines, might as well use it for the rest.

So, I want the flexibility of choosing from among many lines to attack the basket, and the disc to have a lot of spin while flying to help hold it on the line chosen. I'm not looking to limit putting to just straight lines (or just hyzer lines) as I've seen some do (and if the folks who do that have done so because they've made a conscious decision to do so, then I'm in full support).

[On a side note: I've been working on rebuilding my driving technique. A couple of weeks ago I found that my putting ability seemed non-existent. I was spraying discs wide right and left--something I've not done in ages. I finally figured out what was going on--the changes I'd made in my grip for driving had resulted in changes to the way I grabbed the putter to putt. Before my last round, I threw two stacks putting from 15' just to review my putting grip--I use a fan grip--and got things straightened back out. Just goes to show how interrelated all parts of the game are; changes in one part can affect routine bits of other parts.]

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