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Saturday, February 12, 2022

Thoughts on Sahith Theegala's Putting Stroke

Brandel Chamblee mentioned Sahith's unusual putting technique Friday after the round and I just wanted to add my thoughts as to why he may do this. Hopefully the diagram included below will make what I'm saying clear.

Sahith Theegala putting

Apparently Sahith dealt with scoliosis when he was younger (the same back disease that Stacy Lewis had to deal with) and maybe he couldn't turn as easily as he would have liked. As a result, he started using lead hand low putting when the putts moved right to left, and using regular trail hand low putting when the putts moved from left to right.

In the diagram below I've tried to exaggerate the effect this had on the putter's path. In this diagram the ball and feet (the white circle and the black shapes) stay the same but in the top diagram the player is using lead hand low, which moves the putter's release arc more toward the lead side. Likewise, in the second diagram the player is using trail hand low, which moves the putter's release arc more toward the trail side.

In both cases the player would ideally want the putterface to contact the ball squarely. I think Sahith has built in a move that prevents him from pulling right-to-left putts or pushing left-to-right putts.

Releasing the putter

In the top diagram, since the lead hand is pulling the putter across the player's body, if Sahith doesn't hit the ball squarely he's more likely to leave the putterface open so he doesn't close the putterface and pull the putt too far to the left of the hole.

In the bottom diagram, since the trail hand is pushing the putter across the player's body, if Sahith doesn't hit the ball squarely he's more likely to close the putterface so he doesn't open the putterface and push the putt too far to the right of the hole.

Hopefully any putt he doesn't hit perfectly square will miss on the high side of the hole, thus giving it a chance to 'die' into the hole from the high side. It certainly seemed to work for him on Friday!

Would you want to try this technique if you keep missing putts on the low side? I don't know but it does seem to be a pretty ingenious way to control just how much curve he puts on his putts. 

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