It is well known that Jordan Spieth looks at the hole when putting short putts. This is something he has done for quite some time and he is quite good at it. He does not do it on putts of more than five or six feet but anything that amateurs would call “inside the leather” or a “tap in” Jordan putts without looking down at the ball. This is something one of my good friends has done for a long time and he isn’t that bad at it.
I have never tried to hit a ball without looking at it; whether it be putting, chipping, full swinging or acting a fool. I have very good hand eye coordination but hitting a ball without looking at it just seems silly to me. My friend Mike and I started playing golf in March of 2010. Ever since we picked up the game he has looked for ways to improve his score. Something he started doing early was looking at the hole while putting.
When I first saw him do this I thought it was a complete joke. After seeing him do it for a few rounds I got used to seeing it. Now, whenever we play with someone new they always ask him about it. He is hellbent on the fact that it allows him to see the lines better and it makes him a better putter. I have never seen him putt any other way so I cannot argue the point.
Over the course of the last four years Mike has holed some very long putts. That said, the problem with not looking at the ball is you can completely miss the putt and leave yourself with a bomb for a second putt. While Mike isn’t a terrible putter, there are times when he leaves himself 25 feet for his second putt. The fact that he is not a member of a home course makes it difficult to determine just how good of a putter he is. Every time we play it is on a public course and the greens are not in tip top shape.
I learned how to putt on the very fast greens of Hasentree. They can run as fast as 14.5 on the stimpmeter so I catered my game to lag putting. Hell, I lag putt even when I have a nine or 10 foot putt. I would much rather have a tap in for my second putt than a five footer coming back. Hasentree’s greens are some of the best in the area and I know every break and movement on the greens having played so much. Two putting is all I can ask for on these greens.
Mike does not play Hasentree more than a handful of times per year but when he does he putts rather well. This makes me think that he would excel at putting on fast greens with his looking at the hole style. No matter how silly you think someone looks doing this, it is a technique that I have seen work quite well. Once again, this is never something I would do but I have seen some long putts holed.
Ultimately, my goal is to two putt and keep three putts to a minimum. If I have to lag putt the majority of my putts that is fine with me. It has helped to keep me at a consistent 11 handicap and I will never complain about that. If you are looking to try a new putting technique consider looking at the hole on the short putts and just see what happens. If you start doing this on long putts, well, more power to you.