Study: Golfers Make A Few More Putts Looking At The Hole

Jordan Spieth does it from time to time and many instructors have advocated looking at the hole to help struggling putters.

But according to a professor Sasho Mackenzie and student Neil MacInnis at St. Francis Xavier University, their studies show looking at the hole is productive.

Thanks reader DGS for this Elizabeth McMillan CBC story on the study, that you can find here.

They held sessions over four days with 28 experienced golfers who tested the hypothesis with breaking putts — shots where the green slopes and golfers don't aim directly for the hole.

Forty per cent of the putts where golfers looked at the target line went in the hole — three per cent more than when they kept their eyes on the ball.

To put that in perspective, MacInnis said golfers typically make 33 putting strokes a round.

"It doesn't sound like it's a big difference but if you think about it in golf terms … you're going to save one stroke a round and that's actually very meaningful for golfers," he said.

Faxon On Putting Stats: "No great athlete thinks about that as they perform"'s David Dusek talks to Brad Faxon about all things putting and while this has no immediate news value, the move toward analytics in golf may make this bit an important go-to quote for parents dealing with a stat-obsessed youth. Especially as the PGA Tour's ShotLink system moves closer to more detailed putting stats in the coming months thanks to their Mircrosoft partnership.

From Faxon, one of the best putters of all time:

Q: Were you aware of your putting stats, and if you had today’s analytics would you want to have known when you were putting well and when you were putting poorly?

A: That’s a very good question, and here’s what I’d say about that. I loved to know any stat I could, and you can use them in a couple ways. They can give you confidence in your feeling of self worth, but no great athlete thinks about that as they perform. Tom Brady is not thinking that he’s the greatest quarterback ever as he’s throwing a pass. Ian Baker-Finch told me that when he was considered a great putter, he put more pressure on himself because he felt like he was supposed to make more putts. So it can work two ways.

Bryson's New Stroke Day One: It's Hypnotic...

Lexi is playing against the guys, tourney host Greg Norman should be making visit to his old Fox Sports team Saturday, and yet Bryson DeChambeau going side-saddle-face-on-Kuchar is simply hypnotic. And slightly uncomfortable to watch, until one goes in.

Sure, it's the Franklin Templeton Shootout at some silly-Greg-Norman-designed-Florida-course-with-huge-streaming-fountains, but come on, this is wild: 

The Story Behind Bryson's Side Saddle Move

Adam Schupak at has all of the thinking and specs behind Bryson DeChambeau's eye-opening putting switch.

Besides clarifying that he doesn't like the name side-saddle or "face-on" DeChambeau is very open about his putting struggles and the motive behind the switch.

DeChambeau practiced with it for at least 7 hours a day for the past two weeks. When he describes the benefits of looking at the hole with both eyes and swinging his right arm in a pendulum motion, he makes it sound simple."It's more bio-mechanically efficient," he said. "I take it back with a certain amount of energy with a certain acceleration profile that lets it go a certain distance."

Putting Looks As Hard As Ever, As Pros Proved This Week

Today's players are fitter, faster, smarter, prettier, sexier, leaner, etc., etc. But as with their predecessors, they still can look human on the greens.

To review...

Lexi Thompson is putting with her eyes closed.

Ernie Els struggled but was less yippy in Dubai, though he admitted the yips he's been dealing with the last few months amounted to "end of career" issues on the greens.

Bernhard Langer is carrying two putters in the bag according to Golf Channel's announce team. And he was seen warming up before his opening Allianz round trying two styles of putting.

Ian Poulter, one of the world's best putters over the last decade, started putting with one hand in Phoenix.

Easy game!

Any others I missed?

Stacy "Lewis’s ongoing success on the greens is a blend of art and science"

I'm down at the KIA Classic talking to LPGA players for a story and had the pleasure of sitting in on new World No. 1 Stacy Lewis's press conference.

In a recent SI Golf Plus story, Alan Shipnuck wrote about her improvement on the greens:

Lewis’s ongoing success on the greens is a blend of art and science. To sharpen her feel she does a drill in which she hits a long lag putt into open space on the practice green, away from any target. Without peeking to see where the putt ends up, Lewis then drops another ball, closes her eyes and tries to hit the second ball to the same spot. “No exaggeration, 90 percent of the time the two balls are within three or four inches,” says Hallett.

In the press conference, I asked her to explain the more technical side of her approach without divulging too many secrets. Her answer:

STACY LEWIS:  Yep.  Well, it's Aimpoint and everybody can go take a class and learn it, so I guess it's not too much of a secret.  But I learned it, gosh it's been almost three years, two and a half, three years.  It's really based on gravity and how water flows off of a green.  So every time I walk up to a whole, I'm trying to find a straight putt, and once you find a straight putt, it's how much slope there ‑‑ what affects the read is how much slope is there and then how far away you are from the straight putt.  So the further you get from the straight putt, the more it's going to break.  So it's a combination of that and you have a little chart that gives you the exact read for every single putt.  So it's really, it's almost like cheating.  I can walk around and have down to the inch how far every putt's going to break.  So I can ‑‑ and that's the thing, too, is you're walking around, you're feeling it with your feet versus looking at it, and that's kind of the big difference because a lot of times golf courses try to throw you off visually with mounds or hills or whatever it may be on how putts break.