For those of us that play golf, putting is something we do virtually every hole during a round of golf and it can be the most gratifying part of the game or the most frustrating, but it is much like art as everybody does it with a slightly different stroke.
Recently I attended a seminar given by Marius Filmalter. Not a household name, but to the best golfers in the world, this is the current Messiah of the putting stroke. He works from his laboratory in Dallas Texas having started in Germany doing research into golf.
Since 1996, Filmalter has studied the putting stroke of many golfers, both good and bad, to understand the YIPS. Through that study he would endeavor to help golfers improve by developing products to help.
Along the way he has helped develop two computer programs that observe the putter and hand movements in terms of speed, tempo and direction. With this information he can help cure the YIPS and for sure understand what that is.
The YIPS can be defined as an involuntary physical movement during the motion of the putting stroke, usually 150 milliseconds before impact. Golfers aren't the only ones that get the YIPS -- add to that list pilots, musicians and even surgeons.
Tiger Woods came to Marius Filmalter a few years ago claiming to have the YIPS and he was likely done. As they studied Tiger’s stroke, they found that he did not have a good control of distance in the range of 8-14 feet. When he hit those putts his results would be erratic and Tiger was frustrated. The two worked on Tiger’s understanding of the power needed on that length of putt and he’s pretty good again.
The challenge of putting according to Filmalter is the fact that you need to succeed at both speed and direction on putts. For tee-shots we don’t YIP because you are at a fairly full speed (ballistic power) and really only needing to think about direction. Try to hit a driver about 40% of your distance and you may YIP that one. For putting we use fine-motor skills, which is very different from the ballistic power approach.
The solution is to use a pendulum swing for putting with an even flow, let the centrifugal force provide the power, don’t try to speed or slow the swing or you may be open to a YIP stroke. I’m a huge believer in the pendulum approach to golf and if you have read my articles in the past you have read that here.
Over the years I have felt to be a self proclaimed putting expert because I’ve seen it all. I’ve putted great certain days and horribly other days. I do not admit to having the YIPS, but I can tell you I have made YIP-type strokes and know the feeling. The good news is that listening to Marius Filmalter and seeing what his product, “Tomi” (www.tomi.com) can do, the YIPS are now more understood and appear to be fixable.