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Friday, January 10, 2014

Michelle Wie on "Tabletopping"

When Michelle Wie visited GC's Morning Drive on Thursday, she talked about a lot of things. But let's face it, the topic drawing the most curiosity was Michelle's putting technique, aka "tabletopping." And since I talk about putting quite often here on the blog, I thought her comments might interest many of you.

How does a golfer end up bent over like this?

Michelle Wie tabletopping at GC

First of all, Michelle has said several times that she felt she was too tall to putt properly. And when she was struggling the most, she decided to try getting closer to the ball. She said she had almost immediate results, particularly in eliminating 3-putts.

But Michelle also says that originally she didn't realize she was bent over so much. She demonstrated what she thought she was doing; she was maybe 30° up from horizontal. However -- and I think this is important -- she says she was already bending over that much when she tried to read putts from behind the ball. So it was probably instinctive for her to bend down into the same position when over the ball.

She admitted that the position was much more mechanical at first, but now she felt as if she was just setting up and stroking the ball. When you make a putting change, you should also realize that initially it's going to feel more mechanical than you'd like. Relaxation and naturalness come from familiarity, and you aren't going to have that early in the learning process.

Of course, everybody's big question is "Doesn't that hurt your back?" Michelle has repeatedly said no, that the stress is in the legs and not the back. Perhaps the most eye-opening moment was when Gary Williams followed Michelle's instructions on how to set up and said, in obvious shock, "Oh my gosh! It isn't in your back -- it's all in your hamstrings!"

Michelle said she thought the lack of pain was the result of two things:
  1. She keeps her back straight. She doesn't roll her spine into a curve, so all the stress is transferred to her legs.
  2. Because her upper arms are held so close to her body, there isn't as much weight hanging down from her shoulders. This also creates good connection in her upper body, so it's easier to get a consistent stroke.
While Michelle didn't say she'd recommend it to anyone, she also said it works for her right now and it feels pretty good to her. I guess she'll be sticking with it for a while.

Now you know how and why Michelle "tabletops."

The photo came from this page at golfchannel.com. Michelle was at GC most of the day and this photo is from later. She didn't wear high heels when she putted on Morning Drive.

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