Putter lie angles

I was reading a thread on another forum that was discussing putter lie angles. Standard is 71* and the majority of the responders had flat lie angles (68* being the most common). The toe of my Rife Bimini is up in the air 1/4" or so when I set up in a comfortable position. My misses are left and I’ve compensated over time by raising my hands in an attempt to flatten the putter out… but it’s not 100% comfortable and when I’m not focused on it I slip into my comfortable set up. I’ve just never thought about bending it… I’ll be bending it tonight.

What lie angles do you play with in your putter?

I am so glad you raised this question. I have been thinking about it for a week or so. My putting handicap does not match the rest of my game…it is much worse. I have been wondering if some ABS principles can be applied to putting, one being lie angle. It looks to me like Allen Doyle’s putter is flat… I don’t know for sure…but he is a great putter.

Here’s what has crossed my mind in addition to trying a flatter putter:

Module 1…strike the putt
Module 2…the squeeze can stabilize the body
Module 3… any post impact Mod 3 putting drills to be done?

Would be interested to hear from Lag, Two , or anyone else on this, as well as any suggestions on lie angle.

additional thoughts…

discussion of putter lie angles would led to a discussion of the importance of having the shaft in line with the right forearm …to “zero out” a potential power accumulator.( #3?) It seems this is always recommended…which makes me think it could be wrong…like the “left arm straight” rule/myth.

Creating an angle between the arms and shaft for me seems to lock me in…or create a "control"or track…like Percy Boomer used to advise for the swing. Maybe it is just the other end of an extreme, the other being arched wrists…like Hogan and Moe were opposite extremes at impact in terms of plane. At any rate, I seem to putt better with a 3 wood than a putter. Or even the sole of a sand wedge. But Idon’t know why…is it the club, or how I can relax, or both?

Another “rule/myth” to be explored is the “flat left wrist”. Zach Johnson explodes this principle pretty well. Again, I wonder if he is establishing a “control”, or a track for his stroke using this very effective technique.

I truly don’t think lie angle is that important with a putt because we aren’t striking the ground with force like we do with an iron shot.
We see many of the world’s greatest putters ever (Seve, Aoki, for eg) with the toe of the putter raised up at address.
We do however just about never see a good player with the heel of the putter raised at address (Payne Stewart in his early days comes to mind as one who did)

I also believe that no matter what we are told or people say-- hitting up on the ball with the putter is not the ideal way to putt.
ALL good putters ever have had a HIT to the stroke. A piston style acceleration down and thru (Nicklaus, Bob Charles)or a STAB hit downwards (Locke, Player)

Very few good putters control the putting stroke with their left hand as we are lead to believe-- the left is the guide the right pops into the stroke
both hands work the putter…one to guide…one to hit…probably more right hand than left will develop a better roll
People try and tell you to keep the right hand out as that is a yip style…alternatively too much left hand will push the putter thru and probably result in a heel strike and a probably push or pull… both need to operate to roll the ball well with a slight acceleration thru the shot and speed is ultra important to making putts as speed totally dictates the chosen line we need to hit a putt on

I was thinking about that as well. Funny how so many of us start thinking about the same thing at about the same time.

I agree with Bradley, it’s not THAT important since you are not striking the ground.

One thing I’ve noticed is that most great putters have some knee flex. So I have been adding a touch of knee flex in my stroke lately.

I’m not a big fan on worrying about the stroke. It’s really just ‘read, aim, and hit it where you aimed.’ If you do that reasonably well with a reasonable amount of speed, you’ll have success. I also think it’s important to focus on keeping the ball below the cup. Lately I’ve been trying that and my putting has been better. The problem with downhill putts is that they are hit softer and thus have less velocity. So if you’re playing sketchy greens or if you happen to hit spike marks, the slow moving putt tends to ‘grab’ the surface and get knocked off line more than the faster velocity putt uphill.


Best putter on tour just now is Steve Stricker.

He appears to address the ball with the heel in the air but I do think this is just an appearance.


Regarding putting, I prefer the term ‘locked’ left wrist rather than flat (it can be flat and locked or arched and locked), as long as it is not moving about you are good to go.

The WSJ came out with an article where the PGA Tour is working with MIT mathematicians on coming out with a better statistical way to determine the level of Tour golfer’s putting acumen. Stricker actually ranked 69th according to this formula. Luke Donald ranked first.

Here’s the article online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 … oks_Sports

Here’s the rankings: s.wsj.net/public/resources/docum … gRanks.pdf

This makes a lot more sense to me because guys who often get rave reviews for their putting like Baddeley, Kuchar and Snedeker often do not do as well as you would think with the standard PGA Tour putting stats, but they do well in the ‘putts gained’ statistics.


So Luke Donald is a better putter than Stricker :open_mouth: :laughing:

When was the last time Donald won anything? :confused:

Stats can be used to tell you just about anything, WGR tells a different story 3J :wink:

Stricker is a better putter because he’s won? Why is that?

That’s the same argument I hear when I say that Moe Norman was one of the best ball strikers ever. The usual reply is… “How many tournaments did he win on the PGA Tour?”

It just doesn’t equate.

Styles, did you read the entire article?

Stricker finished 15th in birdie putts length proximity to the cup.

I did some statistical rankings of PGA Tour golfers and their ballstriking BEFORE this article came out. It factored in total driving, GIR and proximity to the cup. Luke Donald finished 141st in ballstriking last year. There’s a reason why Luke Donald doesn’t win much, his ballstriking (by PGA Tour standards) blows. Stricker finished 24th last year in my ballstriking rankings. And 69th in ‘putts gained’ isn’t bad. It’s actually pretty well above average.

Here’s a look at my top 10 ballstrikers statistically from 2009. In parantheses is how they finished in ‘putts gained’ last year.

  1. Jason Bohn (174)
  2. Heath Slocum (192)
  3. David Toms (90)
  4. Jay Williamson (222)
  5. Robert Allenby (206)
  6. Greg Owen (186)
  7. Joe Durant (215)
  8. John Senden (102)
  9. Kenny Perry (56)
  10. D.J. Trahan (188)

All of the top 10 guys are considered great ballstrikers. The stats just back it up. But it’s also easy to see why the only 2 that really win consistently are Perry and Toms, who are both average to good putters. Durant almost always finishes in the top 10 in the ballstriking category, but can’t win on Tour because his putting stats are abysmal.


Can’t really see any point of the new stat. At least the GIR means something to most golfers as they understand it easily - who cares if it’s a bullshit stat, it’s engaging the public (the indicated main goal of this new stat).

I think the new stat can help golfers and instructors look at what putters on Tour that are truly the best and then study what they do to make them the best and apply that to their teaching or the students can apply that to their putting.

I think there are many reasons why golfers don’t putt well and it often has nothing to do with their mechanics or green reading. This article points it out well. Stricker strikes the ball not only extremely well, but places it in a position to give him the easiest putts. A lot of the stuff that Lag talks about as far as ballstriking precision and distance control with the wedges can be applied here if you start to figure out and ‘think ahead’ with your shots. Instead of thinking about solely hitting a shot flush and rifling it at the flagstick, you may want to consider leaving yourself with an uphill putt instead of a downhill putt. That’s why Stricker was #1 in putts per GIR. It still requires the same precision in ballstriking, but it’s a better plan to help with your score. The chances of knocking a shot in from 150 yards are about as slim as they get. Getting a kick in from 150 yards is slim as well. But if you can get it to 15 feet and give yourself an uphill putt, IMO you’re putting yourself in a much better position to make the putt than if you rifle at the flag and don’t pay attention to where you leave that approach shot on the green.

Awhile back, putting guru David Orr told me that in his putting study of almost 700 subjects, ranging from 50 Tour pros to the 30 handicapper, the putt that they made the most, by far, was the uphill putt with right-to-left break. I kind of forgot about that, but right now my courses are aerating greens and I’ve noticed you really are not going to make a downhill putt on aerated greens of anything outside of 7 feet unless you just get lucky. The velocity of the ball on those putts is too slow and it really ‘grabs’ the green and the aeration holes and it easily gets knocked off line. OTOH, you can make uphill putts as they stay on line because they are hit harder and have more velocity and are not ‘grabbing’ the green and the aeration holes. I think the same applies for regular greens, execpt you do have a better chance of making the downhill putts, but you also have a better chance of making more uphill ones as well. This is something I’m trying to apply. I did it the other day and got to -3 after the first 7 holes, but my ballstriking took a bit of a nap and I wound up shooting even for the day. And again, that was on aerated greens where I started to make some sizeable putts because they were uphill.


I played with Al Barkow today at Mare Island, and after a two over front nine, I birdied with iron shots into #11 from two feet, #12 from three feet, #14 from three feet, and #15 from six feet. At that moment I got the “I could shoot 29” thing in my head if I can birdie two of the last three holes. It was exciting, but I hit a poor iron into 16 leaving a 30 footer, then missed a birdie putt from 25 feet on 17… On 18 I hit a 4 iron right at the stick, but came up 20 feet short, and lipped out the putt. But it was fun to shoot 31 coming in for a 68.

When I felt “in the zone” there for a few holes, I could literally feel exactly where on the green I wanted to putt from. It doesn’t happen all that often, but three kick in birdies in a four hole stretch, and a six footer on the next, gave that feeling of cosmic ball control. It’s a fun delusion to live in… every once in blue moon!

Maybe Donald doesn’t win because of his ball-striking. Maybe he only contends because he putts so well. So many ways to look at it, and these newer, better stats may begin to show some of these things.

Great round!..or in the words of someone I know “great stuff!” I bet you have that good feeling stuff, that follows a magic round, still flowing in your veins. I wish they could bottle it.
No reason we won’t see a 31x2=62, or better, in the months ahead!!!

Here’s a Nicklaus idea backing that up about the right hand being the main putting tool

Tiger putting pics…you can see on all these Tiger is very much hitting the putt with his bottom hand…there is NO left wrist block or shove towards the target…releasing the putter is his key–it’s a hit not a pushtigerputt.JPGtigerright.JPGtigerfront.JPG

Another example showing that the best players/putters do not hit UP on the ball to create topspin…a right hand stroke release is what happens