PGA Show Demo & Fitting Day Workshop Focuses on Art, Science of Putting

Joe Hallett, PGA Director of Instruction at the Vanderbilt Legends Club, turned heads with the title of his workshop on putting at the PGA Demo & Fitting Day Tuesday afternoon. The title “It’s Time for YIPS” might have scared a few people, since the putting yips is one of the most serious afflictions in golf.

However, Hallett’s hourlong workshop actually focused on developing a consistent, repetitive putting stroke and YIPS in this case stood for Your Improved Putting Stroke. Hallett offered an intrigued crowd on the Demo Day stage a simple basis for spotting strokes that perform well under pressure and over time compared to streaky putters, while providing an understanding of how physics can develop confidence in performance.

Hallett shared putting wisdom gained from his longtime mentor and putting guru Art Olfs, who frequently asked Hallett, “Would you rather fight physics or follow physics?” Hallett noted that a longer backswing and little follow through results in a consistent putting stroke, observing that speed is more important than line when putting.

“Putting basically involves hitting an object at rest (golf ball) with a club in motion,” said Hallett. “We always hear that we should accelerate through the putt, but we actually take a bigger backswing to determine how far we putt the ball and once you hit the ball, you can’t really accelerate through it. It’s like hitting a wall with your fist. Once you hit the wall, you can be going as fast as before you hit the wall. Your stroke is never going faster after you hit the ball. What it boils down to is, a pendulum stroke is the most consistent.”

Hallett cited examples of assisting Cheyenne Woods, Michelle Wie and U.S. Solheim Cup Captain Stacy Lewis, a former No. 1 player in the world, with their putting. He noted that there are three types of putting strokes and all three work effectively.

“But the pendulum stroke while following physics will give you the most consistent results – my old man mentor Art used to always tell me that consistency is no coincidence,” said Hallett. “All of your great putters have had that pendulum stroke. Ben Crenshaw was great and Phil Mickelson during his prime was just the flip side of Crenshaw – extremely consistent.”

Hallett’s presentation was one of several special events that highlighted Tuesday afternoon’s PGA Show Demo & Fitting Day at Orange County National Golf Center. The day concluded with a PGA Professional Appreciation Happy Hour, where representatives from 50 companies connected with PGA Professionals and Demo Day attendees to celebrate a fruitful day.