Putting Lesson with SeeMore Ambassador Pat O'Brien

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Desmond

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Putting with Pat O'Brien - SeeMore Global Ambassador

I had taken putting lessons from Pat O'Brien about 10 years ago. Pat is putting guru to PGA Touring Pros as well as regular guys like me who want to drain more putts in less strokes. Pat's most famous student is Zach Johnson, who has a reputation for putting lights out. So let's do this.

In March, right before, ya'know, the Covid thing, my 13 yr old son had his first putting lesson with Pat. :D He enjoyed it and was putting better than me.;)

I'd been uncomfortable with my grip for a long time, and wondered, no, I said, I need to see Pat who is at Lakewood Country Club in Dallas.

We began putting from hole to hole on the large practice green with Pat following me, just observing, saying nothing. In between putts, we're just shooting the breeze, catching up, when he says the setup is perfect.

In Pat parlance, that means everything is square - feet, knees, hips, shoulders, head, putter shaft follows the zipper, eyes just inside and back of ball. With Pat, your stance is not hunched over; you are more upright. Your neck is not bent over, slight bend in the knees, and you have a more upright stance - see the video below. It's easier on your back.:)

I take more putts and and I am concerned that going back, the putter is waiving a bit. "Why is this happening?" I ask.:oops: Pat says, "your putter head is not stable." And he holds out his putter with his grip. I look at his hands on the grip to figure out his secret. We talk about the heel of the lead hand over the grip and the position of the fingers and how you hold the putter in your fingers, not the palm. I feel the putter is secure with the pressure of my fingers.

And then Pat says, Do "this" with your right hand - he's talking about my grip - it's not perfectly juxtaposed or in sync with the left hand. :oops: Then after a few more putts, he asks me to stretch my right thumb down the shaft and over so it covers the left thumb somewhat. I stand beside him to see how he places his hands on the grip and Pat asks me to grip the putter with my fingers without pressure on the thumbs.

"And by the way," he says, "take the putter back more on longer putts. I laughed, saying "I've been taking 6 foot putts in the kitchen for a year."

We work on the grip for a few minutes and the putter is immediately 100% more stable in my hands. :) I'm gripping with my fingers and the putter head is stable but the arms are soft. In fact, Pat says to keep everything soft. I was surprised at the continued stability of the putter head. I mean that putter head is secure in the fingers!

Now for the stroke. :unsure: Pat commented that I was pretty much shoulder rocking and wasn't getting enough energy to the ball. I agreed. And then I said, "I remember 10 yrs ago, you said start the hands just before the shoulders." Pat said, "Yes." And I said, "You're probably wondering why I'm not doing that, so let's do it."

Instant energy to the ball. :) The hands start back just before the shoulders - it frees up the stroke and also helps take out any remaining wavering of the putter going back.

Yes, it took a few putts to get the feel but it was consistent distance with good grouping. We worked more on stabilizing the putter head with the grip for several minutes and the world was good again. The stroke was flowing easily without hesitation.:)

Then Pat talks about visualizing the putt over the ball (seeing the path of the ball as it goes into the hole) and using the creative part of the brain instead of the mechanical mind. Before, I was so concerned about getting a perfect mechanical stroke that the stroke was anything but perfect. With everything Pat had given me, the stroke was no longer a concern. I could take mechanics out of my head and only think about visualizing the putt.

Pat had me visualize, then own the putter by a slight bounce of the putter head against the ground to stay loose and/or a slight hover just before taking the putter back. I had to ask about owning the putter. Apparently, I just couldn't set it down on the ground and take the grip. I took my grip with the putter head in the air and put it behind the ball, then before taking back, bounce the head and hover. Overall, the results are a freer, longer stroke, stable grip and putter head, and visualization of draining the putt. Everything was coming together.:D

On longer putts, I asked about whether I should do anything with the wrists to give more energy to the ball. No. Starting the putter back with the hands gives the ball more energy or freedom. Take a longer stroke and just allow the putter to meet the back of the ball. The stroke was less poppy. It had more "smooth" to the putt with a great roll. I was extremely happy at this point.

Then he asked me to putt dreaded 6 footers. I was hesitant over the ball and Pat says "I can see where you might have the tendency to..." In fact, Pat says that a couple of times. It was a great way of saying your inconsistency is caused by (insert reason here). Pat thought I was thinking too much over the ball. I agreed. So I returned to visualization and that visual freed up the stroke on the shorter putts

There is more detail and other technical issues but I can't give away all of Pat's teaching. All of us have different issues. It's best to see Pat but the vids and perhaps this experience will add to your knowledge.

It was fun, as always with Pat. But more importantly, I have confidence that I've got my putting back.

If you're near Dallas, I recommend calling Pat at Lakewood Country Club for an appointment. Ask about SeeMore putters. He has several of them that he can fit for you, if interested.

I've studied putting and attempted various putting methods and grips over the last 25 years. I was putting great for many years after I went to Pat the first time. But once in a while, you need a refresher. Life gets in the way. You put away the game for a while sometimes, someone tells you something different and you forget. This refresher lesson with Pat was eye opening.

The vids below explain more and show two keys to great putting - the grip and your setup. Good luck!

Pat and the Grip that will stabilize your Putter Head


The SeeMore Setup - Square and more Upright

 
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JB

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This is really good stuff. Pat is an amazing instructor and has taught some of the best in the world.
 

Steve2100

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Thanks for posting this! Awesome stuff!
 

Desmond

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I sent the post to Pat to see if I got it right - Pat said it's all good.

Pat also has an interesting way of setting up with the arms. Think of the trail shoulder as being back in the "shoulder socket" and the front shoulder as being forward or out of the "shoulder socket." :unsure:

For me, this promotes a tighter (but relaxed) connection to the body with the front arm against the ribs and trail arm tight to the body - have you seen Dustin Johnson lately? He really tucks that trail elbow tight to the body before taking a putt. You're probably asking how this is different than shoulders back or even slumped forward. I feel it promotes a better connection to the body that I appreciate.;)

And don't forget - both shoulders as level as possible. Pat's grip helps with this but some might have a tendency to lean back. Resist that temptation... and just call Pat when coming into DFW Airport if you are not nearby. Nothing, no video, no post is a substitute for an actual lesson. You need feedback but the videos above will help. Pat covers a lot in one lesson; And he also teaches short game.:D
 
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Great post Desmond! I will second that "grip in the fingers" style! The SeeMore guy I took lessons with (shout out to Chris Carfangia) doesn't do everything the same, but he worked on me putting my fingers around the putter, and taking the thumbs out of the grip.

I know somewhere on the THP site is a video of @Jman practicing putts with his thumbs completely off the grip (that he got from his SeeMore instructor). I've been using this as a practice for years too. When I putt, my thumbs are just along for the ride - they barely touch the grip.

And FYI - this works for lead hand low grips too (that's what I use).
 

seemoreputters

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Great post Desmond! I will second that "grip in the fingers" style! The SeeMore guy I took lessons with (shout out to Chris Carfangia) doesn't do everything the same, but he worked on me putting my fingers around the putter, and taking the thumbs out of the grip.

I know somewhere on the THP site is a video of @Jman practicing putts with his thumbs completely off the grip (that he got from his SeeMore instructor). I've been using this as a practice for years too. When I putt, my thumbs are just along for the ride - they barely touch the grip.

And FYI - this works for lead hand low grips too (that's what I use).
(y)(y)
 

Chef23

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I would love to get some time with Pat. If travel ever opens up again and I get to the DFW area I would look him up. I am not aware of a good putting instructor around where I live.
 

golfinnut

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This is awesome thanks for posting. I would love to get teaching of this quality. (y)
 

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