The One Putting Book You Should Buy

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) June 10, 2011 — Finally, someone has published a book that takes the mystery out of putting and gives players the fundamentals to gauge their stroke and give them a clue about how to buy the right putter.

I haven’t come across a better book about putting that compiles in a single volume pretty much everything a player needs to know to improve — from choosing a putter to actually making the stroke.

Here’s New Mexico Golf News’ review of …

“The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever”
Edited by David DeNunzio
Published by Time Home Entertainment
Hardcover, 178 pages, $32
Included DVD, “Ten Instant Putting Fixes”

Review by Dan Vukelich

“The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever” is one of the few “Best” things in golf that actually lives up to its name.

Compiled by the publishers of GOLF Magazine, this isn’t your typical “Guru Reveals his Secret to Golf Happiness.” Instead, it’s a collection of detailed technical discussions by 10 of the game’s best putting instructors aimed at players serious about wanting to become better putters and packed with dozens of those “aha” moments when true learning occurs.

This 178-page lavishly illustrated book takes the mystery out of putting. Ten experts break down the physics of putt striking and remove the guesswork about why you miss and why you make. Without this fundamental understanding, we are mere fools with money wandering through that dizzying array of putters at the local golf shop.

“The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever” has 10 sections, each written by a noted putting instructor or fitter. Contributors are: Stan Utley, Mike Adams, David Edel, Dr. David F. Wright, Mark Sweeney, Marius Filmalter, Scott Munroe, Dr. Craig L. Farnsworth, Maggie Will and Mike Shannon. All are recognized experts, innovators and teachers to top players in NCAA golf, the PGA Tour or the LPGA Tour.

For players who buy putter after putter in search of a magic fix, perhaps the most valuable chapter is Chapter 1, “How to Pick the Right Putter,” by master fitter David Edel. Misalignment or, more accurately, mis-aiming, and how to counter it is Edel’s recurring theme.

Edel wades through design basics: hosel, offsets, shaft lengths, lies, grip sizes, and putter head shapes, explains the effect of each element, then totals up the sum of their effects.

He explains how a player who mis-aims to one side or the other can address that fault without altering his natural stroke. Aiming too far to the right? Add more offset between shaft and putter head. “As the offset increases, so does the tendency to aim more to the left,” Edel writes. Aiming too far to the left? Decrease offset, he says.

How to tell where you’re mis-aiming? A cheap laser pointer resting on the floor next to a baseboard and aimed at tiny mirror taped to your putter face will tell you.

By referencing huge databases of golfers’ habits, Edel concludes that as the backs of putter heads get rounder, players tend to aim more left. As they get squarer, players tend to aim more right.

As lie angle (the shaft angle from vertical into the putter head) increases, players tend to aim right. A more upright shaft angle makes you aim more to the left, Edel writes.

Edel works through the visual cues and physical results associated with higher-lofted putters versus lower-loft putters; curved hosels versus angular hosels; putter counterweights; toe-balanced putters versus face-balanced putters; painted and grooved aiming lines; even the effect of colored aiming lines and colored putter heads.

If this sounds dizzying it is, but only if you’re one of those people looking for a quick fix, one who says, “Don’t tell me all this mumbo jumbo, just tell me how I can make more putts.” That magic golf pill thing again.

But the serious student who is tired of missing makeable putts can use the book to self-diagnose, then take his new knowledge to the golf shop. Suddenly, that rack of 200 putter designs doesn’t seem so dizzying. Forking over $32 for a book that cracks the code makes a lot of sense if you’re planning to shell out $59 to $359 for a new putter.

Not to give short shrift to the other instructors and their essays on drills, arc strokes versus pendulum strokes, tempo, green reading and break visualization – they all offer loads of refreshing insight.

But knowing golfers and their desire for the magic golf pill, I’d venture to say that if “The Best Putting Instruction Book Ever” comprised only a single chapter by David Edel, it would still be worth $32.

Knowledge is power. Get empowered before you set out to buy your next putter.

— Dan Vukelich

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