I use a simple technique to show the Putter…

It’s called “The Five Ball Drill”.

We find the longest toughest putt on a Putting Green… usually over 75 feet, the average is perhaps 90 feet. Usually, a few feet of break… if I’m lucky, maybe 10 feet of break or so. But always whatever slope we can find.

Now, you have to remember, when I played competitive golf decades ago, I was a “choke” putter. I used to fear three footers.

So… I tell the person(s) I’m demonstrating for, that I’m going to hit 5 balls at this “90-footer”, and ask how many they’d like me to make? Usually, I get a look like “are you crazy?”.

To make it into a sensible proposition, I then tell them, Tour Pros are 1% makes from this distance… that if I made even one it would be a fluke… in fact, if you go to “Stattrek” http://stattrek.com/online-calculator/binomial.aspx and plug in the inputs (.01 as probability, trials 5, successes 2) you’ll see it is 1000:1 odds against making 2 or more…

The answer? Cumulative Probability: P(X > or = 2) 0.0009801496… actually 1019:1.

Even 1 out of 5 is a 20:1 against event.

So I must be nuts, right?

To make it even tougher, I tell them that I’m hitting the sweet spot (face center) on the first putt (to get speed right) only. Then, I’ll hit it way off the toe (2 balls out), way off the heel, then top one off the toe (almost a shank) and topped off the heel.

Now… I’ll never hit a ball that bad in my life. But the purpose is to show that even extreme miss-hits are going to roll about the same distance. In other words, smaller miss-hits won’t vary much at all. What we’re looking for is proximity mostly…

So… how do I do? I’ve done this for about 15 Tour players so far… ask a few of the Players who have observed this…

For Ricky Fowler and Hank Kuehne… 2 makes out of 5 from 75 feet at The Medallist.

For Morris Hatalsky at TPC Sawgrass… 2 makes out of 6 from 90 feet at the Tour Academy green. (He had six balls with him, so I joked I’d make 2 of 6, instead of 1 of 5).

For Garrett Willis & Robert Damron… 1 make out of 5, then 5 makes out of 25 from 75 feet at Islesworth.

For Bob Dickson at TPC… 2 makes out of 5 from 90 feet at the Tour Players Green.

For Deane Beman at TPC… three balls of five within 1 foot of the hole from 140 feet at the Dye Valley Green (a fourth ball that looked better than the others hit another player’s ball while rolling).

For other professionals (PGA Club & Teaching pros), I routinely make 1 or sometimes 2… the best ever so far is 3 of 5 (done that three times). For golfers who come to see demonstrations, it’s about the same. The average in makes is probably 0.5 per 5 balls, or 10%, from 75 feet.

To get a handle on it, I did a 200 putt trial (40x the 5 ball) from 95 feet for various witnesses at Duran Golf Club… observed by Jeff Symmonds, PGA teaching professional (he witnessed all 200), plus dozens of golfers who watched, in part.  The result? 16 makes out of 200… 8%. Then, when Jeff asked me what the odds were if I just hit the sweet spot, I joked and said probably I’d make them all. So I hit 5 putts off the sweet spot… and three went in. You could have knocked Jeff over with a gust of wind.

Is it me? Is it luck? Is it magic? Is it magnets under the hole with steel cored balls?

No. It’s the Putter.

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