November 9, 2009

Dave Stockton On Putting

The newest Golf Guru of The Stars is Dave Stockton, who has ten wins on the PGA Tour, and joined the Champions Tour in 1991, where he topped the money list in 1993 and 1994. He won fourteen senior titles including three of the Senior Majors. He was also the American captain for the infamous "War on the Shore" - the 1991 Ryder Cup.

Here, Stockton gives his thoughts on putting, and gives good advice that any amateur can take to the course and put to good use. The long and short of Stockton's advice? "Don't worry about making the putt," and "don't tarry over the ball." Stockton also relates his thoughts on grip pressure, which in my mind ties into taking too long over a given shot - any shot - because waiting a long time gives your mind time to put tension into your muscles. Anyone who plays a lot can tell you that tension in the body is a recipe for disaster. Yes, there is taking time and giving a shot the attention it deserves, but there is also waiting, waiting, waiting, allowing the hands and the rest of the body to stiffen up in fear.

After watching Stockton's video and thinking about it, that's the main thing I picked up -- don't play in fear. That's good advice for a golfer at any level - Stockton's, Mickelson's all the way down to mine. Fear is really fear of failure, and fear of failure all too often creates a self-fulfilling nightmare prophecy.


  1. CB - I think you translated Stockton's words better than he did. The more he talked, the more he backed over what he said earlier - but you pulled the essence of what he was talking about.

    Of COURSE it's easier to care less about a mulligan - that's not the one that goes on your scorecard, Dave. (lol)

  2. Nervous? Who, me?

    I quesstimate I make 50% of five-footers for birdie; 60% for par; 70% for bogey; 80% for dub and 100% of conceded putts.

    My friends and I often debate whether I am a choker or a gagger...

    Dave Pelz has a tough system for putting - straight back and straight through. I found myself following the putter head back to make sure it did not go inside. That is a recipe for disaster. I like Utley's philosophy, especially his grip and alignment. It just makes more sense to me.

  3. ^ I really have my doubts about a lot of the things Dav Pelz espouses. They either simply do not work for me or they are for much better players.

    Pelz kind of irritates me a little anyway with his whole "rocket scientist" thing. Pelz did indeed work for NASA and he did manage a few satellites, but the thrust of his research was on atmospherics, not flight dynamics or other real rocket science.

    My Grandfather, who only retired as Chief Telemetry Officer and Manager of Information Systems for Kennedy Space Center, never called himself a rocket scientist. He said he was an electrical engineer, which he was.

    His son, my uncle, well, he WAS a rocket scientist. He had over 400 public patents in his lifetime related to either civilian or military aerospace. His greatest work, however was a project he managed for Boeing: the S-1-C. You and I know that as the first stage of the Saturn V. THAT'S what I think a rocket scientist is.

    But I quibble.

  4. CB - Pelz also has degrees in Physics and played golf at Indiana Universsity. He has a good bit of experience in research and a pretty fair understanding of how things work in theory and practice. Guy's got a lot between the ears.

    All that and Mickelson won't let him near his putting stroke. :-)

  5. Interesting... the one thing I hate more leaving a ball short is htting it long! I like to die them into the hole just like Dave Stockton says.

    Best putting tip I heard was to occupy your mind - say a rhyme or count down backwards from five whilst making your stroke. Do something to take your mind off it. Just don't do it out loud....!!


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