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# Optimal putter shaft lie ... ???!!!!!!

July 2 2007 at 4:32 PM

Geoff .... While perusing this website: http://www.puttingacademy.com/

... I came across a fascinating "Fact" by Jon Karlsen, with whom I assume you are familiar.

Under the website tab "Putting" and then "Equipment" ... I found this interesting claim on the left sidebar:

Facts:
"Most elite players have wrong lie on their putter. Standard lie on putters are 18-20°, while elite players on average should have 23.0° lie."

The basis of this "Fact"is not explained in the website, but they do use the SAM system for putting and putter testing.

Would you please hazard a guess as to why this "Fact" might be valid or not?

Here is the problem as I see it. The more you flatten the putter shaft lie, the greater the gating of the putter head ... based on simple geometry (or spherical trigonometry if you wish ). Also a flatter lie putter positions the putter head farther from the hands and body, thus increases the static cantilever in the sagittal (side) plane and increases the torque of the resting putter across the hands. Stroking the putter in the frontal plane can be compromised not only by the sagittal plane torque, but also by the gating of the putter head.

I have my putter bent to near maximum, 78º (12º per Karlsen) lie so that it is as near to pendular as possible. Also my putting stroke is very straight and consistent as well. My tall body anatomy and ability to apply and control the adduction flex in my wrists results in a "hanging" putter that can be stroked virtually like a straight-line pendulum and with reduced cantilever torque from the putter as well. I kinesthetically apply the necessary stroking torque in both directions. ( Trust me, I have exquisite touch, timing and tempo all due to my rigourous classical music training and athletic prowness .. plus a lot of indoor carpet and outdoor greens practice ... not to mention my quasi-physics knowledge .. plus PuttingZone enlightenment.)

I have some really flat lie putters and I can't putt worth a damn with them because they wobble all over the place as the putter head gates !!

I thought my putting form was scientifically "optimal" .... but now Karlsen claims that "elite" golfer should flatten their putter lies for some unknown reason. Do you know the reasoning behind Karlsen's sidebar "Facts" ..????

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Jon K.
85.166.93.0

# Lie angle

July 2 2007, 6:38 PM
 Sammy...The 23.0 degree lie is based on measurements of the shaft angle at impact of about 150 elite players (mean hcp=1.8). I just checked my database again and mean (+/- SD) shaft angle at impact for the group was 22.6 +/- 2.8 degrees. (or 67.4 degrees if you prefer). All results are for players with traditional technique (no belly or long putters). Bearing in mind that most putters have from 18-20 degrees lie, average elite players are about 3-4 degrees "toe up" at impact. If you watch carefully from the next PGA-Tour event on TV, you will see that this holds quite well for those players as well. You hardly never see a player that adresses his/her putter "toe-down". I have also experienced (even among tour-professionals) that most players misjudge the position of the putter sole when standing in their address position, meaning that the toe normally is up when they think the putter sole is flat on the ground. So by stating that the elite players should have about 23 degree lie on their putter, I only mean that with their current technique/posture a flatter lie would have been beneficial. I do not necessarily mean that 23 degree lie are optimal. As you indicate a flatter lie implies a larger torque in the wrist (seen in the sagital plane), which itself probably not is beneficial. The main negative effect of having the toe up in the air is that you can get som air under the middle of the putter, and therefore you easier make thin contact with the ball. Of all mishits, mishits low in the putter face are the most negative for precision. But how bad is 4 degrees toe up? I am quite sure that it has a negliable effect on performance in putting, but on the other hand...why not have a correct lie??!!
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sammy
65.95.167.104

# "toe up" at impact ..?!

July 2 2007, 11:54 PM
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Jon K.
158.36.205.91

# lie angle same at address and impact

July 3 2007, 4:00 AM
 Hi again Sammy......Maybe I expressed it a bit unclear but the shaft angle (sagittal plane) are the same at address and impact for the elite players (or 22.4 degree at adress and 22.6 degree at impact to be correct). One reason might be that the players perceive the putter heads position "good" when the top surface of the putters are perpendicular to their eyes - and since they on average have thier eyes "inside" the ball they end up "toe up" at adresss (and impact). But in conclusion it seems that putter manufacturers are systematically a few degrees off, compared to their customers posture/technique. As you mentioned - scuffing the putter is off course a bit worse with a wrong lie as well! Cheers!
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Geoff Mangum
Owner
75.177.5.154

# Toe-Up and Statistical Analysis

July 3 2007, 10:06 AM
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sammy
65.95.173.34

# Putter experiment

July 3 2007, 1:36 PM
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Geoff Mangum
Owner
75.177.5.154

# Optimal Setup to Extreme Putters

July 3 2007, 2:22 PM

Dear sammy,

I'm not really "rebutting" anything -- just qualifying to what extent we can base conclusions on the data.

As to the 10-degree lie putter, you do not specify a length, so let's just set it flat to the surface and start there. This will poise the handle back to the golfer a certain position in space depending on how low his hands hang.

Let's just fit me to a good lie first and then progress to your extremes. I'm 6'1" and my wrist lines at military posture are 34" from the ground. When bent into the setup posture, my wrist lines hang at 30", and the center of my palms is 2" lower still. So in my case, the center of the palms would hang to 28" above the ground. The centers of the palms do not hang vertically beneath the shoulders -- the elbows do, in line with the shoulders and the balls of the feet -- and the palms are centered about over my toes. From the shoulders to my pupils is one putter grip, 10". So even if my head is perfectly flat to the surface, so that a straight-out gaze then requires the ball to be vertically beneath my eyeballs, the ball and sweetspot of the putter should not be any closer than 10" from the balls of my feet. It is another 3" from the balls of my feet to the toes, where the palms are centered. SO ... the centers of the palms hang 28" above the ground, 7" or more back from the ball. Let's say 8". The trigonometry for the putter is then:

Lie = (90 - arctan(8/28)),

Lie = (90 - 16)

Lie = 74 degrees, 3 upright, or 16 back off vertical.

If I extend the ball out from my feet another 1", this makes the lie angle 18 degrees off vertical. VERY ROUGHLY, every 1" extension of ball away from the feet adds about 2 degrees of "flatter" to the lie.

The length will then be cut to center the grip material inside my hands. using 8" out, this makes a 34" putter with the palms centered 4 inches below the top of the grip.

RESULT: 16 degrees back, 34".

If I setup to a flatly soled 10-degree putter, I would have to stand closer to the ball, and this in my case will bring me closer than the minimum closeness when my head is flat to the surface (10" from balls of feet and 7" from toes oriented more or less square to the target line). So I end up looking back in towards my feet at address. No thanks. This is a poor attitude in space for the inner ear balance-space-vestibular sensing organs. While the head position per se has nothing to do with the stroke itself, and one can make a perfectly acceptable stroke in this setup, and while one can also still see straight away sideways with this head and gaze setup, it is not advisadble due to the balance issues.

If I setup to the 20-degree putter when flatly soled, I can adjust the length so that my hands still hang naturally, and I am sufficiently back from the ball that my head and gaze can be arranged so I am looking straight out of my face at the ball in a good aiming setup. The axis of the hands will probably NOT allow aligning the shaft of the putter with the bones of the forearm, so there will by an additional joint (wrist) with tension involved in the canter-levering that holds the putter in a fixed relationship with the rest of the body once the grip is assumed. Other than this, the stroke is the same.

I don't think this gets to your basic point, however, which I understand to be that there is more canter-levering force required in the 20-degree setup than is required in the 10-degree setup. My observation is that the difference between these two is a minor matter of extra grip muscle tone in the hands and arms and a little postural difference in the hands-forearms angle. But other than that, both postures allow a perfectly serviceable shoulder stroke with dead hands, after the setup muscle tone is set.

Cheers!

Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist
PuttingZone.com
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 This message has been edited by aceputt from IP address 75.177.5.154 on Jul 3, 2007 2:29 PM

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Geoff Mangum
Owner
71.72.205.67

# Zig-Zag-Zig-Zag-Zig in the Putting Setup

July 6 2007, 7:48 PM
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Anonymous
70.110.129.64

# technical

July 8 2007, 12:06 AM
 Is this the definition of "too technical" for golf?
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Geoff Mangum
Owner
75.177.5.154

# Yes, for Certain Realms of "Golf Culture"

July 8 2007, 5:41 AM
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PutterGeek
68.230.75.135

# Optimum Shaft Length/Angle by Expermentation

September 13 2007, 7:17 PM
 Greetings Geoff! You take a very theoritical approach to Lie Angle and I can relate to that because I am "geekie" too when it comes to putting technique and putter technology. But I think it is better in this case to take an experimental approach instead. Why?... Because there are so many variables to consider and we scientists know that the more variables there are to a challenge, the easier it is to theoritically detail yourself away from the correct answer than toward it. Shaft Length, Shaft Angle, Grip, Stance, Stroke, Stature are all related variables when it comes to putting, and I maintain that the best way and probably the only real way to determine the optimum is by expermentation as described in www.quantumputters.com/fitting.htm. Best Regards, PutterGeek@QuantumPutters.com
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djd99
71.247.214.203

# optimal lie angle - shaft length calculations

October 15 2007, 1:46 PM
 geoff- i've gotten lost in the above threads on the calculation of the optimal putter lie and shaft length. in the "Optimal Setup to Extreme Putters" thread you wrote: "Let's just fit me to a good lie first and then progress to your extremes ... RESULT: 16 degrees back, 34"." but later on down, in the "Zig-Zag-Zig-Zag-Zig in the Putting Setup" thread you wrote: "My forearm angle, for example, is 14 degrees tilted out of vertical, and that is also my optimal putter lie." i suspect i am misunderstanding something because i know that you are not trying to imply that there are two optimals (14 deg and 16 deg). could you please provide a simple "plug and chug" formula that one can use to calculate his (or hers) optimal putter lie and shaft length by plugging individual static measurements into the formula's variables. thanks.
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Jer
71.230.130.123

# Ziggy on a slope

October 18 2007, 11:26 PM
 Still interested in putting on a slanted surface rather than a flat one--according to your zig zag drawing if the ball is above your feet--like 2-3 0'clock something gotta give--if you just change wrist angle the putter will move out from under the eyes-if you shorten the putter-choke down-it will not be flat against the slope--if you just get taller the lie is also off --what are the priorities when making this adjustment--ie eyes always over ball I guess is number one,,upper arms vertical seems critical to the well balanced stroke-not much room to change shoulder-neck angles-if we try to keep our bodies perpendicular the the hill we get further back from the ball ---if we lean in we change our weight and stroke-- also seems to me that the exact contact point on the ball depends on the slope stood upon by the puttee--on uphill putts --6 o'clock--if we lean into the hill for balance we will strike higher on the ball and if we dont and stay back-perpendicular-- we will hit lower and possibly launch the ball--does this matter ?? might help explain shorter shots on uphill putts and longer on downhill in addition to the obvious effect of gravity-- as always your analysis is appreciated--
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Jack Thompson