With the help of the famous Physicist, Isaac Newton,I would like to relate his 3 laws of motion to putting. His first law states that:
An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This law is often called “the law of *inertia”.
* As it applies to putting, the amount of unbalancing force that can directionally influence a putter while in motion is expressed when Moment Of Inertia or MOI is explained. The lower the MOI of a putter is, the easier it is to unbalance. The MOI of a putter is dependent on head weight and how it is distributed to the perimeter of the mass. The higher the weight, (heavier) and larger the mass (bigger) the higher the MOI ( the harder it is to unbalance).
An object at rest will remain at rest
To translate this into putting we could say that when you align your putter head up with the intended line, it will stay there unless it is unbalanced during address or at the start of the take away. Since most putters are small and light with a relatively unstable base, it is extremely easy for a golfer to alter the face alignment by applying an “unbalancing force” to the club either accidentally or on purpose. Keep in mind that only the slightest club face oscillation will cause you to miss the putt. Many times the second guessing that comes with the lack of commitment to your initial line, can cause you to re-adjust the face direction as you take that last look before the stroke. If you combine this tendency with unintentional movement of the head during address,the odds of having an accurate club alignment are small.
An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction
As for a putter in motion,applying the same amount of backstroke size will create the same amount of down stroke energy if you allow the putter to fall through the ball without any outside forces asserted by your fingers, hands or wrists. This repeatable dead hands motion will also allow the club to descend into the ball with the same direction as it was started on.This will feel like a very weak stroke because until now, you have been adding a forearm rotation, hand, or wrist push to produce energy. However, when you can eliminate these unpredictable, adrenaline effected forces, all you will be left with is the gravity fed momentum that the size of your backstroke can generate. This is why a true pendulum stroke is the weakest stroke in golf. Giving up control of the putter is not easy to do, but the trade off is a pure stroke that is worth the learning curve. Dependable and repeatable mechanics is vital to transferring accurate touch and feel analysis to your stroke.
The second law states that:
Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object).
Since the L2 putter is big and heavy, it requires a greater amount of force in order to get it moving . This means the big muscles of the arms and shoulders will do the work instead of the adrenaline sensitive small muscles of the fingers, hands, and wrists. So in order to stroke the ball instead of hit it ,an increase in stroke size will be needed to produce more momentum. This is why it is not uncommon to find yourself putting short at first when putting with a large heavy putter, since your previous hitting action is being replaced with stroke size and gravity. Using a standard small light putter allows the small dominant muscles to micro-manage the putter as they try to make up for the lack of energy that is the result of a shortened backstroke which is a result of a lack of stability in the putter itself. This need to make up for poor putter performance is the”scourge of putting” which is why you see all of the creative hand grip positions being used in an effort to reduce this natural tendency.
The third law states that:
For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.
Every time you attempt to putt,you are creating motion. This motion is a reaction to the need to move the ball toward the hole. The less reactions you use throughout this process, the less influence you will be applying the club and ball. By paying attention to Newton’s laws as you keep the head square at address, ( law 1) use large muscles for stroke movement, ( law 2) you will be reducing the clubs reactions by reducing your participation in the process. We all agree that simple is better, but simple does not mean natural, and because it is not natural, simple will not mean easier either. Our need to over control the putter in order to obtain the desired results is not an accident. By using the average light, unstable, easy to manipulate putter, the need to control and micro manage the club is real. However, with a larger, heavier, physics designed putter,Newton’s laws can be embraced and with the help of gravity, will lead to an adrenaline proof, Yip free motion that will make more putts for you when it counts. Time to try something different!