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March 6, 2024 49 mins

Shane and Marty welcome PING Brand Ambassador Dr. Sasho MacKenzie to the pod to discuss putter fitting kinetics. They dive into why golfers miss putts, the four things a golfer can control, putter offset, and heads up putting.

 

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
The guys from Ping.

Speaker 2 (00:01):
They've kind of showed me how much the equipment matters.
I just love that I can hit any shot.

Speaker 3 (00:05):
I kind of want we're gonna be able to tell
some fun stories about what goes on here to help
golfers play better golf.

Speaker 4 (00:11):
Welcome back to the Pink Proving Grounds Podcast. I'm shape
Bag and that's Marty Jersey. Marty, how we doing today?
We're gonna talk a little putting. I'm struggled with my putting.
I can't make anything right now. I need the advice
for our guests.

Speaker 3 (00:23):
Yeah, there's a lot to putting. I think Sashow has
been doctor Sasha mackenzie has helped us in a number
of ways as an engineering brand ambassador for US, but
he's spent going deep on putting. How do you make
more putts? How do you miss less putts? And what
is the causal reason? I think that's where we want
to dive really deep with Sashow today of why you

(00:46):
miss putts and then tie it together to putter fitting Shane,
because that's kind of the you know, we want to
kind of tie all these different pieces together.

Speaker 4 (00:53):
Sasho, I'm not making a lot of putts what am
I doing wrong? I mean, without looking at me, without
seeing my stroke, without saying the way I'm hitting it,
What is what am I most likely doing wrong? To
where I'm to Marty's point, either missing more pods, putts
are not making as many as I like.

Speaker 2 (01:11):
Yeah, Number one reasons probably green reading. So that's a
massive chunk. At least fifty percent of miss putts are
due to green reading errors. Let's assume we're talking about
makeable putts, you know, like twelve feet and in kind
of kind of thing. Then it's probably your speed control.
If you improve that, you're gonna sink some more putts.
Then probably face angle control, so face angle variability, speed

(01:35):
club head speed variability, putter it speed variability, and then
it's then it's a steep drop off to things like
where the ball is hitting on the face and path,
but those those top three green reading is the biggest,
Then speed control and then face angle variability.

Speaker 4 (01:52):
Esasho, how do you practice green reading? I mean, you know,
I mean obviously we've got green reading books and things
like that, But how does someone go out and actually
work on that part of the game. Because it makes
sense to someone like me to work on path and
to work on speed and things like that, but to
go out and actually perfect my ability to read a
green seems relatively daunting for me.

Speaker 2 (02:13):
Yeah. Well, then the number one thing that most people
can do that they're not doing is and this is
when I work with players, especially Mini tour players are
really good college kids. I asked them, how many different
putts do you see in your putting sessions? So you're
practically putting for an hour, how many different putts are
you hitting, like different starting positions to different holes. A
lot of them don't really know the answer, but a

(02:34):
lot of times it's like, well six, you know. So
the more experience you can have hitting different putts, so
you have to actually assess what are you going to
do and then consciously thinking about what happened. That's a
big thing is that most people do not know if
they've misread the putt or if they've miss executed on

(02:56):
the putts, so then there's no learning. So you need
to see a lot of different putts, and especially putts
where your ability to read the green matters and you
can discern it based on the outcome. So forty footers
not so much. But you know, if we're down inside
twenty feet and definitely if you're missing putts, you know,
eight to twelve feet, you should be able to say

(03:17):
did I execute as intended? If you did, then it's
a misread, and then you can learn. You can start
to learn. Okay, I'm underreading the speed. You know, I'm
bad at judging whether the putt is uphill or downhill.
Because I hit this put as hard as I wanted to,
and I thought this is going to be close, and
you're like, whoa, you know that's that's still rolling right?
That was a misread, sash.

Speaker 3 (03:38):
So this is very anecdotal, but I think we can
have Shane chime in on this because he was a
caddy at St. Andrews, done a lot of caddying in
his career. I feel like I was the best at
green reading when I was a fore caddy. I was
a fore caddy at Castle Pines in college and I
would just watch a ton of putts. I'd have to
debate Shane. You know, you know how this goes, like
should I tell the player where to actually hit it

(03:59):
or on underreading it for him? But I just was
maximizing the learning. I think, Sasho, Shane, what are your
thoughts on that from your experience Caddy.

Speaker 4 (04:11):
Yeah, well, I mean Sasha made a great point about
the lengthy putts. I mean, Caddy and at St. Andrews,
you know you'd have a guy having eighty footer. I
mean it's not I'm not gonna give you a whole
lot of help in terms of speed. I can maybe
give you a line, but yeah, I couldn't agree with
you more Marty in terms of being on the back
for someone and watching a whole lot of different point
of putts. I mean sashow bringing up the idea of

(04:32):
a great player saying I hit six putts on the
practice screen and a half hour, and then you think
about going out on the golf course in real time
and how many puts you might face in around of golf.
I mean there's a chance you might face eighteen different putts, right,
I mean, there are a whole lot of different ones
out there. But Marty, I think you're spot on and
the idea of when you're watching someone else do it,
it feels like you learn a lot more than when

(04:53):
you're actually doing it yourself.

Speaker 3 (04:55):
Yeah, Sasha, I think you also brought up something interesting there,
which is that path is not too big of a
factor to necessarily practice. So what are those kind of
like ballflight laws of a putt and why is it
exactly that a golfer should be focusing way more on
minimizing their face variability than their path variability?

Speaker 2 (05:16):
Right, So what I look at is you want to
know from just a straight up physics standpoint. Okay, let's
say we're hitting a twelve foot putt. Just pick a putt,
straight flat twelve foot putt to pick one, So we can,
you know, set up some boundaries here, some understanding. Well,
you have to have your face angle be plus or
minus or sorry, your path be plus or minus three

(05:37):
and a half degrees to miss that twelve footer in
order to pull the ball far enough off your intended
start line. So you have to take the physics and
then say, okay, well what is a golfer's variability and path?
You need to look at both. So okay, is this
something that if I improve it will make a difference.
The worst putters that come through my lab do not

(05:59):
have have path variabilities that get plus or minus three
point five. Tour players are within plus or minus one.
So grinding on on nailing your path improving your path
is not going to move the needle and sinking more putts.
So I look at just since you brought a path,
but there are really four things that are predominantly under

(06:20):
the control the golfer. You've got path variability, face angle variability,
impact spot variability in the face of whether you're hitting
it off the toe the heel out of the center
high or low. And speed variability. And so you look at, okay, well,
how far let's take impact spot variability out of this
away from the center of the face. Do I need

(06:41):
to be before I miss that twelve foot putt? And
it is like plus or minus half an inch? Okay,
before you're going to start to miss a twelve inch putt.
And then you say, well, where am I at? How
many if I hit one hundred and twelve foot putts,
how many of those impact spots are going to be
outside plus or minus half an inch? And the answer
is zero. Right, Your directional miss is going to be

(07:03):
two percent of put length for every one centimeter outside
the impact spot. So you know, twelve foot pot one
hundred and forty four inches, you go, what's two percent
of that that? You know? If you go to the
extreme of how terribly you can miss a pot on
the putter face. It's it's accounting for virtually nothing left
or right of the hole, and it's only one percent

(07:25):
of rollout distance, so one hundred and forty four inches,
well one percent of that. I mean, the impact spot
variability gets completely washed out by face angle variability and
putter head speed variability. So that's when I say, what
should a person work on? Green reading is really important
seeing as many potts as you possibly can with different

(07:46):
slopes and brakes, and quantifying whether you misread it. But
then that same type of practice will benefit your speed control. Right,
you want to hone in your speed control. Okay, let's
hit a downhill pott. That's you know left right now
we're going uphill from fifteen feet now we're going side hill.
You start to that's the best way to get a
better sense of your speed controls to hit lots of

(08:07):
different putts to see it. You know, can you judge
those those speeds. Don't do drills are going to work
to reduce your very building path, to reduce your very
the impact spot. There's just not going to be any
gains to be had from improving those things.

Speaker 1 (08:18):
Sasho.

Speaker 4 (08:19):
How did you get into this world? I mean, I
mean listening to you talk has already opened up my
brain a bit. I mean the fact that you're telling
me I can hit a bad putt and still make
it if I've read the putt correctly makes me the
weight is lifted off my shoulders. Hearing you talk about
putting is amazing already. How did you get into this world?

Speaker 2 (08:36):
I think I'm really drawn to it for two reasons. One,
there's not a put out there and any green that
any golfer can't sink. There are a million different shots
that only the best players in the world can hit.
You know you're going to try to carry a bunker
at three twenty, Well, that's eliminated just about everybody in
the planet. But everybody has the ability to sink every putts,

(09:00):
So that that's very attractive to me from like, hey, like,
let's see what we can ofpud. The other thing is
that it seems like there is a ton of room
for improvement. So if you took someone who's not into
golf and you watch them, you said, let's let's watch
Scotty Scheffler here hit this drive. You know, a hero
world challenge, and you said, are you impressed by that?

(09:21):
Everybody like holy smokes, like they'd be so impressed by
how far the ball goes. And then if you took
him on a putting green and you said, okay, here's
an eight foot putt. What percentage of these do you
think Scotty Scheffler's sinking? And they'd say, I don't know.
I just watched, like I hit probably like ninety nine percent.
Like you know, this this hole is like barely any
distance away, and you're like, well, he'd be doing good

(09:41):
to make half of his putts from here. So it's
like what you know, and if you go into a
lab situation, you can get players sinking nearly one hundred
percent of his eight footers. So there's a massive you know,
there's a massive potential there, I think to improve in
the putting green. And maybe I'm being a bit naive,
but I think that someone could come along and separate

(10:03):
themselves with putting to the same degree that say, you know,
Bryson did a few years ago with driving, or Rory's
you know kind of does with driving. But you know,
we haven't quite seen that with putting on a consistent basis.
So those are the two reasons. Is that it seems
like there's a lot of potential and everybody can do it.

Speaker 4 (10:21):
Marty, it's so interesting to think about. I've never thought
about that before. Where you know, if you and I
go to the Masters and we go stand where Bobba
hit the shot on ten, I mean there's seven people
on the planet. They're going to hit up ye pull
you know, a pull hook gap wedge to twenty five feet.
But if you go stand on the back of the
eighteenth of Tory in theory A. Sasha's point, everybody can

(10:43):
make the putt raw mate. I mean, you know, you
get it on the right line with the right speed,
it's going to go in. I mean, I've never I've
never thought about that before.

Speaker 3 (10:50):
Yeah, it is fun to think about, and I like that, Sasha.
What he brings to us is an engineering ambassador. Is
this first principles thinking right. It's just like some of
the the concepts are obvious in hindsight, Sasho, now that
we've established the importance of face angle and delivered face angle,
let's talk about how we can affect that with the

(11:11):
putter right. Sure, and I think a big thing our
founder and a ping we've always known is that hey,
you know, if you have more arc in your stroke,
you generally do better with the more toe down putter,
less arc, more face balanced putter. Can you dive into
a little bit of why that is and the kinetics
and kinematics that connection and expand upon that a little bit?

Speaker 2 (11:34):
Yeah, absolutely, so. I think there's there's two ways you
can you can measure or what you can look at
in terms of a of an outcome of what the
putter is doing to decide whether a putter is going
to be better fit a better fit for you. You've
got reducing the variability yep, so being more consistent with it,

(11:56):
and that's I think predominantly when we're fitting for a
stroke type. That's what we're trying to do. So this
is a little bit theoretical, This is kind of a
getting a bit into my opinion, but I you know,
I still think it's a pretty cool way to think
of it. You have folks that tend to put a
little bit more straight back, straight through, and they tend
to putt better with a face balanced style putter, where

(12:19):
you know, if you balance on your finger, the face
is pointing to the sky. These putters inherently give very
little feedback if you rotate them in your hands, because
the center of mass is very close to the shaft.
And I think there are a lot of folks who
don't want to feel the face opening and closing or
get any sensation of that. They set up an address

(12:40):
and they think, Okay, I've got this putter face pointing
where I want. I want to make my stroke. I
just want to know that if I don't do anything,
the putter doesn't do anything, this thing's going to be
delivered square. And those folks tend to do better with
a face balanced putter. Then you have people who inherently
like to feel the face opening closing. They want to
feel that that mass moving or so they have some

(13:02):
natural arcs, natural opening and closing of the face, and
you can enhance that feel with a putter that is
toe hang so. And that's where you'll see if you
go through like the putting sizes I've done in my lab,
and you know it happened at ping for a number
of years. Those putters that like to have some arc
in their stroke or tend to smark on the stroke,

(13:22):
they like little more feel. They do better with a
toe hang face balance better for the straight back straight through.
So that's that's one way to look at it. But
then I think some really low hanging fruit is addressing biases.
So a lot of people don't realize, but as you
go through the course of a round of golf or

(13:43):
a practice session, you might miss sixty five percent of
your putts to the right, and that's enough to make
a difference. You want to be fifty to fifty right.
You want to be in have that middle of the
bell curve of your misses be centered on the whole.
But you know, if it's sixty five thirty five, that's
not enough for us to remember right as we go

(14:05):
we're focusing on other things. It's tough to mentally if
you miss one hundred percent. Yeah, you're like, okay, I've
missed every put to the right, but it's tough to track.
So those systematic biases can kind of go on notice.
But hopefully you've done something where you pick up on
that right. Hey, i'm a right handed putter. I'm missing
everything out to the right. So we've done some really
neat studies showing that you can address those biases with

(14:26):
your putter type, and it seems like, well, we know
that toe hang putters, so uh, putters that have the
center mass off the shaft right, you're gonna tend to
leave the face a little bit more open at impact.
And that goes right across the board for pretty much everybody.
So if you tend to pull your putts, you're your
missing putts to the left. Hey, let's move you into

(14:48):
a toe hang we can address that bias. Your stroke
feels good, you don't want to start changing your stroke. Okay,
let's just go to a toe hang putter. Similarly, if
you tend to be you know, missing your putts the
other way, you tend to be pulling your putts, go
to a toe hang putter that's going to tend to
leave the face a little bit more open. I think
I've said those correct.

Speaker 3 (15:07):
So, Sasha, is just a wrap a bow on these
two concepts. Here one would be and we've seen this
with iping. We have our consistency score that incentivized as
being more repeatable, and we can measure do a b
testing with different putters. We've seen it time and time again.
Like you said, if a player wants to feel less
resistance or the putter kind of feeling like it's going

(15:28):
to stay more square through the stroke. They have generally
a higher repeatability score. We can measure that, we can
we can improve the repeatability. That's number one, trying to
match the balance of the putter to what they're kind
of innately like the feel of. And then number two,
we can we can adjust the delivered face angle, which

(15:49):
will affect the face delivery. And because we know face
angle is is the primary thing we want to influence there.
We can eliminate a pull by playing a more toe
down putter, eliminate pushes, reduced pushes by playing more face
balanced putter.

Speaker 1 (16:03):
You got it?

Speaker 3 (16:04):
And why is that? Why is it that the face
is delivered more open? Uh, if you play more toe
down putter.

Speaker 2 (16:11):
Yeah, And this this comes down to the kinetics, so
that the forces and torques that the golfers applying to
the club. So I'll try my best to do this
on a podcast, but there is a natural tendency of
you the center of mass off the shaft. When you
start your stroke, you're applying a force on the grip
away from the target that's actually going to tend to

(16:34):
close the face. So if your toe hang, the face
is going to start to close more in the backstroke
than the face balanced. And then what's interesting is then
from there on it's gonna be lagging the face balanced,
and it's going to get even more exaggerate. So as
you transition into your forward stroke, now you're applying a
force towards the target, and that starts to swing the

(16:57):
putter more open. So the towinguter is going to start
to open up more than the face balance. Okay, and
so now it's lagging in this open position. What's very
interesting is that that's going to be maintained all the
way up to impact so that it never catches up
to the face bounce. It's actually going to remain more open.
But what's interesting is that the rate that it's closing.

(17:20):
And so, I mean, I don't know whether this is
like a subconscious thing where folks realize who you know,
they're not perceiving it, but they're trying to close it faster,
or it's just just a reaction that you know, they're
not even controlling themselves. But the rate of face clothing
is faster at impact with the toe hang, so's it's open,
but it's trying to catch up. So that's the cause

(17:41):
for that face to be a little bit more open
with the toe hang hutter, and it's important to point
out that that's not a bad thing. You might actually
overclose with the face balance, so you need that little
bit of open bias.

Speaker 4 (17:55):
Sasha, how important is it for people to maybe give
multiple putters a try, I mean to I mean, obviously
going through fitting is important and use an iping, but
to get those feels that you're talking about, to kind
of see throughout the options that maybe ping has available
to see maybe what you're describing on the pod.

Speaker 2 (18:16):
Yeah, absolutely, I think that, you know, Pink does an
awesome job with the putter fitting. It pushes you very
strongly in a direction, but when it comes right down
to you, you do really want to try a couple
of putters, you know. Yeah, I firmly believe in that.
So there's there's always going to be someone who, you know,
if if you're not comfortable with it, it's probably not
going to work in the long term. It's tough to

(18:38):
really start to love a putter over time if you
don't like it, you know, within the first few days.
So I think that especially if you have you know,
you're like, I could use either of these, Hey, great
reason to go with the fitting, and the fitting is
certainly going to give you an excellent head start. But
I think I think testing out one or the other
is you know, we're both is obviously the best way

(19:00):
to go.

Speaker 3 (19:00):
Sasha. We've had fun doing studies in our lab and
then you duplicate them in your lab and we don't
share results until until we both kind of completed them,
and that's kind of like two factor confirmation on our
our findings. One of them we did was on putter offset.
I know that's something you know a lot of the
golf world and you know, folks who followed the Proving

(19:21):
Grounds podcast probably curious about. So give us a little
overview and that that study we did a few years
back on a putter with more and less offset and
what we saw and maybe some of the again the
kinetics reasons for the findings there.

Speaker 2 (19:36):
Yeah, So the offset is a really interesting one where
the first study of ping was done mostly with iping,
and I use a motion capture camera, so I get
a little bit different data, some of the little bit
we'd say even extra data in terms of what's happening
it's set up, and with the iping data, it was
pretty clear that if you play with more offset, you

(19:58):
are more likely to start the ball to the left.
You're right handed, part of your start line, your facing,
the impact, everything's going to be a little bit left bias.
And the question was, okay, well this is showing up
an iping is it's something that's happening in the stroke
that would be my flinch. What was interesting is that
when I repeated this study in my lab, I saw

(20:21):
the same thing. It was actually and I will add,
you deliver more loft and you start the putt more left.
But what's interesting is that those biases are pre set
at address, and it's not something that the golfer is
obviously conscious of. So when I run tests, I'll have
participant number one will come in and they will hit

(20:42):
five putts with a putter that has offset, and then
they'll hit five putts with no offset, and they'll go
back and forth in these blocks. Participant number two will
start with a different condition first and they alternate throughout
the So we try to remove biases. We try to
have a nice balance study design, and this effect shows up.
But it's actually unlike predominantly unlike the toe hang versus

(21:07):
face balance, which is a thing that happens during the
stroke and interacts with the kinetics. The offset is more
of a visual thing that the player tends to adjust
to an address and then it stays in the stroke,
which is very interesting. That seems to be the dominant effect, Sawsho.

Speaker 4 (21:26):
I've got a dumb question that I figured you'd be
a perfect person to ask, Why is it that? And
I don't do this anymore because it just doesn't work
for me in my putting. Why is it that when
I put a line on my ball, I line the
ball up perfectly where I think the break's going to
be In all that, when I stand over the ball
with the putter, why does it at times not feel

(21:46):
like it's directed where it should be directed. Because I've
talked about this with a lot of my buddies, especially
my good playing buddies, and you know, it's a real debate.

Speaker 1 (21:55):
Do you use the line? Do you not use the line?

Speaker 4 (21:57):
Why is that something that happens to us golfers when
you get over the putt and you feel like the
line's not not accurate.

Speaker 2 (22:04):
Well, the reason is how we've evolved to use vision
and when our eyes are over the ball and we're
looking down at a line to sum it up. You know,
it is not a great way to line something up
with you with your eyes exactly exactly, no one would
ever shoot a gun point being, you know, holding the

(22:26):
gun below them, you know, the way you have your
line on the ball and be like, right, I am
going I definitely like snipers aren't like you know you're
featuring me.

Speaker 1 (22:36):
That you would be.

Speaker 2 (22:37):
Yeah, you have very limited ability, so that I mean,
that's the short answer. Why is that we have not
evolved to try in if you know we're chasing down
prey or trying to you know, things over time, get
away from something you know, we want to be behind it,
lining it up, whether we're throwing a projectile or lining
up a gun, you know, without getting into the reasons

(22:59):
behind how our vision works.

Speaker 4 (23:00):
Yeah, I mean, so trust it. It's it's trust the
line you put on the ball when you set it down.
Don't trust in theory your eyes that are seeing something
that's not not accurate or it's like you said, your
vision is telling you something different.

Speaker 2 (23:13):
Right, And I think you can if you work hard
and have some trust, you can calibrate yourself to believe
that that is straight. You know, That's one thing that
our vision is potentially good at is we can adapt.
You know, our vision will will start to adjust. It's
also sometimes you know, your alignment can drift over time
as well, because you know you can get these biases

(23:34):
can work in, and that's that's why we end up,
you know, having alignment rods to prevent that bias from
drifting in, so you can you can recalibrate. So you know,
if you work hard hard enough out of chain, I
think you can start to make that line on the ball.
Look right as you're standing over it, Marty.

Speaker 4 (23:52):
This came up so much with the Jordan speedth phenomenon
early in his career when you would, you know, look
at the hole right, and it was you know, Steph
Curry's not you know, he's looking at the bass right,
He's not looking in theory at the ball.

Speaker 1 (24:03):
And I feel like that was a debate.

Speaker 4 (24:05):
And of course I know Jordan's bounced back and forth
with that, but I mean you're thinking that's six foot circle, right,
I mean five foot circle scoring circle, and almost Jordan's
theory or you know what he used to win golf
tournaments was such a different idea, yet it was something
that works in almost every other sport or every other

(24:25):
you know, athletic feet out there right.

Speaker 3 (24:27):
Sasha has done a little bit of research on this, Sastra,
I heard. I don't know if it's true, but over
half your town putts heads up putting up there. But
tell us about your your research and heads up putting,
your find your your kind of academic findings behind it,
and uh and where you where you stand currently on

(24:48):
on uh this this technique heads up putting versus not?

Speaker 1 (24:52):
Do you putt heads up? Sasha?

Speaker 2 (24:53):
I absolutely putt heads up? Okay, and it feels so
wrong to putt heads down. Now. I have a million
anecdotes and thoughts on this, but let me start with
a stat that eighty percent of the golfers that come
through my lab end up putting meaningfully better heads up.
And these are golfers, you know, they could been playing

(25:14):
golf for thirty years, they could be scratch handicaps, and
they think I'm crazy to even have them attempt this.
So what's the motivation. I've done three three really solid
studies looking at heads up putting? Now, what was the
motivation for that? Well, it comes from, as Mary would say,
first principles it's like, well what matters? What what can
I do to sink more putts? What are we under

(25:37):
the control of putter? Head? Speed variability is massive? Right,
so what can we do to improve our speed control?
And what are currently people doing that are really hindering that.
So if anybody who's listening to this, ball up a
piece of paper, grab a pan, a set of keys,
wherever you got in the desk, find the garbage can
and go, okay, I'm gonna fire something in the garbage

(25:59):
can over here. But then look down. And there's been
research that is shown outside of golf, but as soon
as you stop looking at a at a target, our
memory of how far that target is begins to exponentially decay.
So that's why even if you see some of the
best golfers like Aaron Baddeley, when he hits a putt

(26:19):
I remember trying to film him at Whisper Rock once
he wasn't. I was just on the side of the green,
you know, kind of covertly filming, and I missed the
first two attempts because he starts his stroke as his
head's coming back to the ball, so he's minimizing that
decay time. Now some golfers probably have a really good
ability to do that. Vast majority of us do not.

(26:42):
So in the research, I would look at not just
the number of putts that were made, but I looked at, Okay,
when you're putting heads up versus head down, what happens
to your variability and impact spot path, face angle and
speed and what you see as a reduction in speed
control variability, a little bit of increase in impact spot variability,

(27:03):
but that doesn't matter. It gets completely washed out by
speed control going up. And you know, there's lots of
clues in other sports. A hockey player, where there's way
more going on, you know, in terms of the pucks
moving around on the blade. Ninety percent of the things
they do when they're shooting passing, their head is up.

(27:25):
Basketball shooting you would never look down. And some people
say was shooting a basketball? Yeah, but that's because I'm
holding the ball. You know, I'm not trying to impact it.
But then you look at billiards. The best billiards players
they don't look at the cue ball. They look at
where they want the cueball to go. And that's you know,
so you have two targets. In golf, you're trying to

(27:46):
hit the golf ball, but you're also trying to project
it to a second target. And everybody should really try
heads up hutting, and so quickly, if I was going
to give somebody, you know, okay, what do I do
to heads up hutt your routine doesn't change. Everything's exactly
the same. And let's both of you caddied. So if
I was like asking a caddy, hey, you know, where

(28:07):
should I start this putt, you'd be like a cup
outside left and universally that is understood that that is
your start line. Right, that is the line I want
to start the ball on. So what I say is, okay,
nothing changes your routine, get up over the ball. When
you bring your head down for the final time, you
don't start your stroke. Then you look. You imagine a

(28:28):
laser line coming out of that putter face, and you
just follow it to the hole. And where that laser
line would pass closest to the hole, that's what you
stare at and you think, I'm just going to roll
the ball over that spot. That's how your heads up putt.
So you know, if you think, okay, this is a
foot of right edge stair at the right edge and
go I'm gonna roll this putt over the right edge,
and people put better, and then even starting to look

(28:49):
at things like head movement. So head movement there's it's
called alo centric heven. So the best putters tend to
move their head ace like in the opposite direction to
the putter. And it's small movements, but still that's that's
correlated with better putting. There's a motor control researcher from
Canon and Timothy Lee that's showing that you putt heads up,

(29:11):
you tend to have you're more in line with that
that style head move and the magnitude of your head
movement is also smaller. So two things, your head moves less,
the movement it does have is more in line with
the better putter. And there's all sorts of other cool
things that you know, for people that struggle with putting,
it takes your mind off of mechanical thoughts. It becomes

(29:32):
more of a feel. You're you're less concerned about what
exactly the putter's doing.

Speaker 4 (29:37):
Sasho, I did it for I did it for six
months a few years back. I noticed the thing I
noticed the most with it was I would hit the
five six foot putts right kind of the scoring putts.
I felt like I hit them with a lot of speed,
Like I hit them and I made them.

Speaker 1 (29:52):
With a lot of speed versus to your point.

Speaker 4 (29:55):
If you're standing over the putt, you're looking down at it,
you know it's a quick potter, it's moving away from
I'm a left handed putter, maybe it's poop into my
left and you're kind of trying to drip it on
the right side. I noticed that when I was putting
well face up, I was hitting those putts in the
hole and they were going in with like serious make speed,
the kind of make speed that you want to hit
putts with in the first place.

Speaker 2 (30:16):
Nice one point seven to four miles per hour.

Speaker 1 (30:20):
Is that the perfect make speed? Yeah.

Speaker 3 (30:25):
The question on this is would an alternative be to
do something a little bit more Let's say I don't
not comfortable going one hundred percent heads up? Would a
more air and badley approach where you try to reduce
that time? I feel like I've done good with that
in terms of my routine. Would that Would that be
a viable kind of alternative? Maybe next best?

Speaker 2 (30:46):
Absolutely? Yep. If you're not comfortable with the heads up,
then that's the way to go is that? Okay, I've decided,
you know, this is the putt I want to execute
heads down? Where you go?

Speaker 3 (30:55):
Gotcha? Gotcha?

Speaker 1 (30:57):
Are you putting every put heads up? Sasha?

Speaker 4 (30:59):
Are you doing I mean thirty footers everything like that?

Speaker 2 (31:02):
Yeah? Absolutely?

Speaker 3 (31:03):
Ok.

Speaker 2 (31:04):
And it gets very different when you are executing a
pitch shot or a chip shot, because then impact spot
becomes very, you know, a lot more important, and your
lies change a lot, your stance changes a lot. On
the putting green, the ball is never stopping anywhere that

(31:27):
has more than a you know, a four percent slow
four percent is probably even getting extreme. So your setup
is always the same. The ball is always in the
same spot, your feet are always you know, feeling the
same weight distribution. And it's interesting me that we're looking down,
but that information is always the same in every put

(31:48):
The information from the putt to the hole is what
we want to react to, you know. That's that's the information,
and that's why most of our practice strokes are taken
looking up. We're trying to, you know, get a sense
for what that is, and then we look down. So
when I putt heads down, now, it's just it's like
it feels the same as everybody that's listening. When you

(32:09):
go to throw something in the garbage, can you look?
That's what it feels like to me. You know. I
was just talking to P and M from uh Vision
fifty four and they said, Anica tried it a long
time ago and she made eighty four in a row
from twelve feet whoa, And they said, so, yeah, so
were you gonna Are you gonna take this to the course.

(32:30):
He's like, no, everybody's gonna be looking at me. Funny,
you know. Yeah, so she didn't. But it's like, wow,
that's that's a lot of putts in a row before,
you know, got some confidence, Marty.

Speaker 1 (32:41):
You know what I'm doing after this podcast?

Speaker 3 (32:42):
Oh, I know, we go back back.

Speaker 4 (32:44):
I'm going to like the next hour and a half
just faced up pudding every pot.

Speaker 1 (32:48):
I've got all the putting grid. It's happening.

Speaker 3 (32:50):
Yeah, Sasha, what about uh what about the topic of
uphillers versus downhillers? What would you rather have? You know, uh,
downhill eight footer versus uphill eight footer? What are some
of the considerations there? You know, maybe talk a little
bit about some of exploring that both theoretically and then
maybe with some some measured empirical data.

Speaker 2 (33:12):
Yeah, so I've got two fantastic data sets to look
at this so when I do putter testing. So actually
with I did a combined heads up versus heads down
and toe hang versus face balanced study. It was over
two days. Golfers hit ninety six putch eats various combinations

(33:33):
of conditions, and two of the holes were straight uphill
eight footer in a straight downhill eight footer, and everything
was using motion capture so we would make sure the
green is perfectly calibrated. We hit the ball, we tracked
the ball, and we'd just agreed to make sure that
these two putts, the eight foot uphill and the dela
are absolutely dead straight, no question. Significantly more putts were

(33:58):
made on the eight foot downhiller compared to the eight
foot upliatter wasn't close meaningful difference in percentage of make putts.
Then fast forward to now with stack putting, where we
have you know, I think we're probably getting close to
a million potts and we can look at Okay, we're

(34:18):
telling people to go hit a straight uphill eight footer,
a straight downhill eight footer, and it's reversed uphill potts
are easier than downhill putts. You're more likely to make
an uphill putt in reality, and there's a subtle difference
here in the lab. I've got a dot on the

(34:40):
green saying this is where you're gonna hit your putt from,
and you're hitting it to this hole, and you know
that it is dead downhill. You know that it is
perfectly uphill, okay, Whereas in stack putting and in reality
on the golf course, you go, I think this is
straight uphill or I think this is straight downhill. And
that's the subtle difference. If you if you go, okay,

(35:01):
this is uphill, you have to hit this a little firmer,
so it is it's traveling for less time, you're going
to be more aggressive with it, and there's a chance
that it's not perfectly uphill okay, So that versus downhill. Again,
you don't really know if this is exactly downhill. And
you also have to hit it with a little bit
less speed, so that takes a little more of the

(35:23):
very building in the green is going to come into
the ball kind of meandering left or right. So it's
interesting to see how those two things flip in practice
give me the uphill eight footer.

Speaker 3 (35:33):
What would you rather have to win your club championship?
A six foot or straight up hill or a six
foot slider downhill left or right? And why and why.

Speaker 2 (35:44):
They're both the same distance? Six feet?

Speaker 3 (35:45):
Yeah, six feet.

Speaker 2 (35:47):
Give me the up Yeah, the straight uphill putt. Just
based on all of that data, you know, people are
making more uphill putts.

Speaker 4 (35:55):
Yeah, quick to answer that one. It's like, I'll take
the I could be I can maybe let go a
little bit more now.

Speaker 2 (36:03):
If someone told me, now, that's interesting. If someone told me,
also knowing what I know, they said this is one
hundred percent straight down the hill, then I take the
downhill putt.

Speaker 3 (36:13):
Well, if it's a slider downhill left or right?

Speaker 2 (36:17):
Yeah, no, I'm avoiding the slider. Okay, I'm avoiding the
slider unless it's at least two feet closer. If it's
you know, if it's closer, I'm taking the slider. Distance
is still king. I'm taking the five foot slider over
the seven foot that I think is straight up hill.

Speaker 3 (36:32):
Yeah. I think that's a pretty fun inside and putting
is uh yeah, just being closer to the hole. It
means everything, right, Sosha.

Speaker 4 (36:39):
Absolutely that's been proven throughout the bag, right. I mean
that was the whole kind of flip in the way
even professional golf was twenty five years ago versus now
where Now I'll tell you this, Marty playing in the
amateur this past year and playing those practice rounds with
the players and diving into the data there and how
they go about their business. It's simply it's driver here

(37:00):
because this data tells us it's driving right. And rarely
are you seeing those level of players hitting anything less
than driver off of tea unless it just tightens up
up there. I mean, it has sinned it all day,
every day. And I mean same thing in terms of putting.
It sounds like saus show is it's as long as
you're closer, no matter how much movement's involved, take the
closer putt.

Speaker 2 (37:19):
Yeah. And the more important point there is that you
do not have enough control to guarantee you're If you're
guaranteeing the uphill putt, then you're also guaranteeing it's going
to be further away.

Speaker 4 (37:31):
You know, why why do we not see more pros
do face up? I mean, I know the Onica story
and we talked about Jordan speed, but why does it like,
it seems like someone would take this on and the
fact that we haven't really seen a single modern player
kind of subscribe to what you're saying. You've got half
a talent doing, you know, kind of following along with

(37:54):
your data and your philosophies. Why is this not kind
of bled into the pro game?

Speaker 2 (37:59):
Yeah, I think that on a reason is the number
one reason embarrassment.

Speaker 1 (38:03):
Embarrassment is really a thing.

Speaker 2 (38:05):
So it would take it would take someone with the
open mindedness of Fitzpatrick. You know. So Fitzpatrick's a good
example of Hey, I'm gonna do this this crosshanded drill
with my with my you know, pitching to kind of
you know, help get a feel of my swing. And
because he tracks everything, he's like, huh, this is this

(38:27):
is pretty good done. It's in play now. He's a
great putter, so he has absolutely no reason to to
really switch. But it would take someone who both performed
better heads up to actually go and try it, and
then also to have that open mindedness of like, hey,
I'm gonna go full throttle with this, and and to

(38:50):
a certain extent that that's kind of speeth. You know,
he did that a bit. But if I was to
give a practical reason, you know, to to play Devil's
Advocate is that, you know, I don't want to give
tour players and out here, but there could be a
little bit more movement on the green, you know. So
when I put heads up, there'll be a lot of
people who when they see you start your stroke, they'll

(39:14):
like move to go to their ball as you're starting
their stroke. And it's if it's constant movement, so maybe
it's fine. On tour, there was constant bustling around, you know,
like if you're like shooting basketball, you know, it's like fine.
But if it's like perfect stillness and then something moves,
you know, then that could throw you off a little bit.
And I notice that with my own heads up putting,
but most people are moving around that much. It's usually

(39:35):
just and I'll say to them, hey, you know, just
kind of be still, just still I hit the ball.
That's to give tour players now, But I really think
the number one reason is just it's almost like admitting
that they're putting is so bad or something that you
know that they've got to go to this extreme technique.
But I think it's worth trying, especially for folks who
are struggling. You know, the strokes gains not that great.

(39:56):
It can't hurt the test it out well.

Speaker 4 (39:58):
I mean you think about some of the stats that
Scotty was producing in twenty twenty three, I mean with
the ball striking, and just to throw anything out there.
I mean, Marty, I say this all the time. I'm
very impressed with the professional golfer's ability to tinker. I
mean Sascho's point about you know, Matt Fitzpatrick and chipping
crosshand that I heard a story years ago that Fred
Couples was talked about how he was a better one

(40:18):
handed chipper yep, than he was with both hands on
the golf club, but he just didn't want to put
it out there because he didn't want people in the
crowds and galleries to.

Speaker 1 (40:25):
Talk about it.

Speaker 4 (40:26):
But there is it feels like the tinkering almost stops
on the greens, right. I Mean, you might go long putter,
you might go with Green Reading's books, you might go
with a different grip, but in terms of just the analytics,
in terms of what could happen on the greens, it
feels like it almost stops there.

Speaker 3 (40:40):
Yeah, one of our best senior players in the section
here he chips one hand and puts his left hand
in his pocket. Boom, and he chips amazing. Yes, he
puts it in the pocket.

Speaker 1 (40:50):
Hownbelievable.

Speaker 3 (40:51):
Next level.

Speaker 2 (40:52):
Well, you know, it's interesting because most of the precision
things we do in other sports, they're all done with
one hand. Never throw darts with two hands. Yeah, you know,
you imagine you. You know, we write with a single hand,
everything with you know, with badminton because it's a little
bit lighter. Always a single hand, you know, most of

(41:13):
tennis and unless strength becomes an issue as a single
single hand. So it seems reasonable, but people struggle with
trying to do it, you know, like cause I think
I'm doing something funny.

Speaker 3 (41:23):
I just saw a video some college team football team
where the center did a two handed snap and the
whole internet was going crazy over that. You know, it's
got the opposite, right example.

Speaker 4 (41:35):
Yeah, it's like it's like a long it's like a
long snapper, but doing it for your quarterback, right. I mean,
I mean it's only weird until it works, and then
it's not weird anymore.

Speaker 3 (41:42):
Yeah, Sasha, what about headweight? What have you found in
putting headweight? I mean we've seen we've seen again pretty
reliable folks with a faster tempo backswing to ford stroke
time ratio generally do better with a lighter headweight putter
slower tempo generally with the heavier headweight putter. What are
your findings there on putter, headweight and performance.

Speaker 2 (42:05):
Yeah, I mean, and that's another one that's lined up
very closely in my lab with what Ping's been doing.
And I think that that that is also getting at
the kinetics. Those faster tempos are indicative of higher the
force is changing at a higher rate, and your preference
for what you want your stroke to do, and it's
nice to have the implement that you're using kind of

(42:27):
match that. So and this is a good example of
something that it can be tough to exactly tease out
the why, and you're kind of left with the hypothesis.
But it's more important to have good experimental data in
the end than a good theoretical reason. You know, it's
really nice if you can figure out the theory, and
that's probably going to help you to design better clubs,
but in the end, it's better to have the data.

(42:51):
You know, to have the experimental data that says this,
this works better for this type of player.

Speaker 3 (42:56):
Yeah, my thought on that sawsho is that if it
has a lot to do and even as you mentioned
with the stroke type, it has a lot to do
with the backstroke. You know what happens right when you
try to start, you know, accelerating the object or accelerating
the putter. If you do it very quickly and the
putter's too heavy, it doesn't you know, it's not moving

(43:17):
at the rate that I think your brain and your
nervous system might want it to do. What are your
thoughts on the That is kind of like a you know,
a theory or way to think about it.

Speaker 2 (43:25):
Yeah. I like that absolutely. It's very much in tune
with what I would call perception action coupling. You know,
what you're doing, the feedback you're getting from what's actually happening.
You want those two things to line.

Speaker 3 (43:36):
Up, gotcha. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (43:38):
What is the text messages like between you guys? I mean,
is it like, is it disadvanced? I mean if you
dive this deep on the back and forth or do
you guys just shoot the you know what every now
and again.

Speaker 2 (43:48):
Marty and I are ninety nine percent all business in
terms of like hardcore science, like.

Speaker 4 (43:55):
I want to dive into the text exchanges and see
if it looks like this.

Speaker 3 (43:58):
It's all about perception in action coupling.

Speaker 1 (44:01):
Yeah, new T shirts.

Speaker 4 (44:04):
We're gonna have to make uh sashow for you putting.
When you're diving into all this data and you're you're
you're going over thousands and thousands of you know, I
mean tasks and everything you do. How do you simplify
it in your own brain when you go play golf?

Speaker 2 (44:21):
Oh, it's it's all feel for me. You know, you
you think about it, you understand it, but then you're
on your putting green. It's it's just it's just reacting,
you know, like and I think that's why it can be.
It can be so tough to to teach some of
these things, like like green reading, especially when you're trying

(44:43):
to factor in all of these variables. Like if you
have a perfectly rectangular green with a set slope and
the stimp doesn't change from the ball to the hole,
you know that you gotta you can make some serious
headway with with aim point great, but if you you
if you start to have you know, putts flattening out

(45:04):
towards the end, you know you're like, all right, it's
kind of left to right, but then it straightens out
all of a sudden. It's like, okay, yeah, you know,
endpoint can help. But then if you go okay, but
then I got some stamp, there's also a bit of
do you know, there's a bit of wind. I think
that's where it's you know what you really high like
heads up putting, because you take all of that information

(45:27):
in and you just react to it with your stroke,
you know. And I think that's where some of the
best putters, like a Battely, when you add, okay, we're
exactly you're aiming here, and he's like, well, like over there,
you know, Like I'm like, is it here? You know,
you put a tea down. He's like, I don't know,
it's over there because he's his subconscious has a very
specific thing it's executing. But it's like taking in all

(45:50):
this information, so, you know, I often think that some
savant will come along, like Rainman. You've ever seen ray Man,
you know, where the toothpicks get knocked off the table
and he's like, oh, it's two hundred and seventy four
tooth picks, and literally there's going to be somebody who
has the skill set that's pretty decent in all the
other aspects of golf. But what you know, the three
of us might consider a green irregularity, you know, like, oh,

(46:13):
we've we've put our level down on the green. We
know how long the putt is, we know what should
happen here, and we set up a perfect putter and
we roll the ball and it, oh, it ends up short,
you know, or it kind of stays out straight. Oh
because we didn't see, you know, there's a little wormhole
or some ant or a leaf or a pump in
the green. But that's really just green rading, you know.

(46:34):
So rain Man comes up there and he's like, oh, yeah,
all that information goes in and it comes out in
the execution of his stroke, you know, and all of
a sudden, instead of in the lab going from ninety
percent eight footers down to fifty percent, he's at like
seventy five percent and just like leaves everybody in his dust.

Speaker 3 (46:53):
Sasha to me, that's watching Tiger's putt last putt on
eighteen at Torrey Pines. I mean watching the worm cam
of that. I mean, I don't know if that's Luck
or if he was rain Man and he figured that
out well.

Speaker 2 (47:05):
And he's done it so many times. Does he be
like bay Hill, like, how many of those those are
not easy putts and greens that have been trampled on
back in the day with metal spikes, you know what
I'm with you like, And he's so late late, he
was so late. He still is laser focus, he'd see it.
I guess he did put that one in the hero
into the bunker, so he could have used a bit

(47:27):
more focus then.

Speaker 5 (47:27):
But he's rusty, you know, he just you could see
he was he was like surveying every square inch of
that putt, and you know, maybe subconsciously that was going
in there, you know, I don't.

Speaker 4 (47:38):
Know, maybe maybe the closest we have seen to this
point in terms of what Sasha thinks will be coming
eventually in pro golf. Sasha, we have really appreciate the time.
Very fascinating I have. We've had a lot of guests
on this podcast. I think you might be a top
the list of people I want to play golf with
now because I just weave and I want to ride
in the cart with you because I just want to
just I just want to hear you talk about this

(48:00):
over and over again, and like I said, the moment
we're done recording, I'm going straight to the putting green
because I am I've gotten a'm twenty twenty four is
going to be heads up putting for me.

Speaker 2 (48:10):
You know, I don't know if it's appropriate to plug
stack putting. You're not even doing this, but you you
get on stack putting and tag your sessions. Yeah, you know,
like this isn't a plug. This is like, this is
this is why Marty and I built it into stack putting.
So it's like, hey, you have this question, go test
it out. Do a few sessions heads up, few sessions
heads up. My twelve year old we were prototyping, you know,

(48:32):
like debugging the app. I was like, okay, I need
somebody to put in a variable to decide, you know,
our statistic comparisons working. I was like, well, I don't
know the putter, and I'm like, just this week, do
a session heads up, do a session heads down? And
he gained three strokes putting heads up. And I didn't
you know, I wasn't gonna push, but he's like, well
I gotta put heads up.

Speaker 1 (48:50):
You know, he's.

Speaker 2 (48:50):
Analytical like me, I'm like I can't argue with that.

Speaker 1 (48:53):
You should.

Speaker 2 (48:54):
There is the data.

Speaker 4 (48:55):
The numbers are telling you this, Sasha, thanks so much
for the time.

Speaker 1 (48:58):
Man, this has been great. Uh, Marty smile and I'm smiling.

Speaker 4 (49:02):
We're fired up about the putting. Conversation has been really good.
This is the Ping proven Grounds podcast.

Speaker 3 (49:13):
H
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