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PHYSICAL SCIENCE-- 4Ts -- Technique


Canonical Movements

Basic human movements mostly of whole body or torso: Turning head, rolling over onto stomach, curling into fetal position, stretching, facing, sitting, kneeling, standing, walking, swinging arms, running, bending down.

Habitual Movements

Repeated human movements in daily life, mostly limbs and hands: Folding arms, shaking hands, opening doors, climbing steps, eating with utensils, drinking from bottle or glass, throwing, pitching, tossing, punching, grasping, reaching, plucking, placing, turning knobs, flipping switches, pill rolling, tieing laces, fastening buttons and belts, putting on and removing glasses, pulling on shirts, sweaters, coats, and pants, putting hands in pockets, rubbing thighs, rubbing back of neck, resting head on hand, interlacing fingers, making a fist, twisting a handle, swinging a hammer, swinging a stick or bat or club or racket, swimming, riding a bicycle, driving a car, roller skating, skate boarding, skiing, surfing, pointing, shrugging, crossing legs, kicking, stamping, lifting box, shoving box, pulling wagon, catching ball, watching flying birds and other moving objects,


Trains all living things about the basic categories of space: up, down, left, right, front, back, straight up, straight ahead. Trains all things about movement: walking is "falling forward almost" over and over again. Trains all sentient creatures about momentum, mass, weight, and forces of motion: bowling a heavy ball versus bowling a basketball. Ignorance of gravity is ignorance of life on earth.

Biomechanical Problems

Hand-Wrist Manipulations


Elbow Positioning


Impact Physics - Transfer of Momentum / Sweetspot

Impact Physics - Face Angle Orientation

Impact Physics - Putter Sweetspot Path

The trajectory of the putter sweetspot thru space needs to be a straight-line motion or at least a curve of even radiusing oriented vertically to the plane of the surface, at least in the near proximity to impact and contact with the ball.

Impact Physics - Path in Relation to Ball Sweetspot

The straight-line or vertical movement of the putter sweetspot needs to match the line thru the ball defined by the points on the opposite sides of the ball's equator that are closest to the target and farthest from the target. This ball line includes the ball's center of gravity in the center of the sphere for a well-balanced ball. More properly, the movement of the putter sweetspot needs to transit only thu the vertical plane in the ball defined by this line and a plane arising vertically from the surface that includes this line, and the actual path of the sweestpot needs optimally to transit thru the center of the ball, whether moving level or downward or upward in this plane.

Ball-Turf Physics - Friction

Ball-Turf Physics - Gravity


Ball-Turf Physics - Skid, Roll, Decay

Ball-Turf Physics - "True Roll"

Ball-Turf Physics - "Ball Balance"

Ball-Turf Physics - Surface Irregularities & Grain


Ball-Cup Physics and Optimal Speed at Hole

For truly consistent and excellent putting, distance control is key. Distance control comes from touch, tempo and targeting, as these together automatically create the right stroke length and hence putterhead speed and force. With a consistent tempo and calibrated touch for the green conditions, distance control is simply targeting and nothing else. With this sort of command of putting distance, the end speed of the ball's roll as it nears and then enters the hole is always exactly the same! The question is what should this terminal speed of the ball be for optimal results.

All putts should arrive at the hole with the SAME drop speed regardless of the green's Stimpmeter speed and regardless of the length of the putt.

The range of speeds under consideration extends from too little to too much. Too little is any speed that doesn't make it over the edge of the lip, and that would be zero (0) revolutions per second at the lip. Too much is the speed at the front lip that does not give the ball enough time to drop down by gravity as it crosses the hole far enough so that when it hits the back wall of the cup it doesn't pop out and keep going. This speed limit is set by the laws of physics because the distance a ball drops from gravity in freefall is always the same and the distance a golf ball must drop after it crosses the front lip before reaching the back of the cup is -- at least one-half a ball. It takes under 2/10ths of a second for a golf ball to drop half its diameter. Try it: place a golf ball on your palm, lift it one-half diameter high, drop it and watch. Pretty quick. Always exactly the same. If the ball is rolling too fast across the green when it reaches the lip, it will get to the back edge of the cup too soon, before the ball drops half way. Even running straight across the hole so that this is the longest possible path over the hole, there is a maximum speed that is too fast. How fast is too fast at the front lip? 51 inches per second or about 10 revolutions per second. Anything faster and the ball has NO CHANCE of dropping. and this maximum is even slower if the putt is not centercut: a path off to the side of centercut is not as long, and the ball has even less chance to get dropped low enough. For example, if the ball enters on a line one inch left of center, it can't be going faster than about 30 inches per second or 6 revolutions per second. So the range of speeds under consideration runs from o to 10 revolutions per second.

How do you pick a number between 0 and 10? There are three main considerations.

First, hardly any putts will be centercut, so you can't safely use 10. If you want to have at least two-thirds of the cup available for your ball's path, you have to slow down to well under 6, so the real range is 0 to 6.

Second, the ball needs enough speed and therefore momentum to avoid being knocked off line. The only speed that matters here is the final speed. To understand what is happening to the ball at this time requires a quick lesson in putt phases. Every putt has three phases: skid, roll, and decay. At the start, the ball is sliding across the green faster than it is rolling, and the rolling speed is catching up - but the ball skids until the roll speed matches the slide speed. This is usually about 15% of any putt's length, depending on the green's friction and the nature of your stroke. During the roll, the ball effectively is moving across the green too quickly to spend much time weighing down the springy grass blades, so it rolls blithely along the tops of the grass blades and tips with the least friction slowing it down. Eventually, however, the ball does get a little slower and then it sinks a bit back into the grass blades as it crosses over them. When this happens, there is a lot more friction tending to slow the ball - just like applying the brakes in a car. The ball then slows dramatically and stops. The onset of this decay phase does not depend on the length of the putt or the starting speed of the ball; instead, it always takes place when the ball reaches a certain slowness for that particular green. In other words, the decay phase is usually about the same for every putt for a given green condition. The shaggier the green, the quicker and more sudden the stop. Generally speaking, on a medium-fast average green, the decay phase takes about 1 second and lasts about 1 foot. On faster surfaces, it stretches out longer but is also not too different from the roll phase. During the decay phase, the ball is down and dirty with surface imperfections like spike marks, worm droppings, and ball pitch marks. It is also traveling without much force or momentum, so it is vulnerable to getting knocked off line. The point of all this is that it is generally a good idea to get your putts all the way to the front lip before the decay phase sets in. That means a miss needs to run at least 1 foot past the cup. For that to happen, the ball's speed at the front lip needs to be more than 0 and probably 2 or 3 revolutions per second. So the real range is between 2 and 6.

The third and final consideration follows from the fact that hardly any putts are truly without any break. Almost all putts have some break. This means that the vast majority of putted balls enter the cup from the high side and fall towards a back lip that is lower than the front lip. This also means that misses are running past the hole down hill. With a lower back lip, the cross speed has to be slower still of the ball will pop out. Also, going down hill makes for longer comeback putts. Because of these two factors, it is prudent to slow down the terminal entry speed even more. So the optimal range is between 2 and 4 revolutions per second.

Since the decay phase usually lasts about 1 second, a ball rolling 2 revolutions per second that misses will run about 10-12 inches past the hole, and a ball rolling 4 revolutions per second will stop about 2 feet past the hole. Either of these speeds is sufficient to overcome most surface irregularities, allow enough time for the ball to drop before reaching the back lip, allow for lower back lips, and avoid long comeback putts.

On the other hand, putting to a cup that lies in a slope uphill, so the ball is slowing while also running uphill, calls for more speed. You have a higher backstop for the back lip and the decay phase is quickened by the uphill, so the ball will really come to a quick stop without much worries about the comeback. In order to take care of surface irregularities, then, the ball needs some extra juice in this situation - but only in this situation.


Updated Monday, July 7, 2008 6:14 AM


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