Tips From the Pro: The Best Putter Wins!

Chris Oleson, is the teaching pro at the University of Maryland Golf Course in College Park, MD.  He is a contributing author to the  Tips from the Pro Column.

PGA Tour has been great! Tiger finally gets a win. The Masters already has loads of story lines- Tiger, Phil, Rory, Luke, Justin, Ricky, etc.

I just returned from the World Scientific Congress of Golf. I’d like to share some statistics and give you a tip on how to play like the pros. The best putter wins! Statistically, Luke Donald is the best putter. The PGA Tour is measuring putting performance better now, (putting strokes gained). They have probability stats of putts made from last year. For example, if an 8’ putt is made 50% of the time the player who makes it gets +.5 psg, the player who misses gets -.5 or loses a psg. If a 20’putt is made 20% of the time a player getst +.8 psg, if they miss, its -.2 psg. Its important to understand tour players don’t make every putt in fact they make fewer than you’d think. However, they rarely 3 putt; when a putt comes up short on line they are not upset. They know their odds are not very high outside of 10’.  Dave Pelz proved a robot was 75% from 15’. Good putters control their distance. The key to distance control is good rhythm and tempo. The hole is the biggest the slower the ball is rolling when it gets there. I tell all my students distance is the most important. Spend some time putting only focusing on your rhythm and tempo, have a cadence 1..2 or 1….2 or 1.2. Resist the temptation to add effort at the ball.

Drill #1 Take 2 balls and try to roll them the same distance, take the putter away a certain distance (outside your right foot) and let the putter swing through the same distance. The putter wants to swing through the same distance, if you let it.

Drill#2 Put a dime on the green and try to get the ball to “stop on a dime.” This drill is great for distance control. I think you will see players try to stop the balls near the holes at the Masters. I am always amazed at how many first putts come up short on the PGA Tour. You rarely see a tour player roll the ball by the hole more than 3’-4’.

I’ll talk to you after the Masters.

Chris Oleson, PGA
TPI Certified, Putting Zone Coach and K-vest Certified teaches at Paint Branch and the University of Maryland.
Chris can be reached at,


Only A Snake Could Mistake Golf Balls For Eggs

(ABC Gold Coast)
(ABC Gold Coast)

A coastal carpet python, nicknamed Calloway, mistakenly thought two golf balls were eggs in Kyogle, New South Wales, Australia.  It’s one thing for this to happen on a golf course but it actually happened in a chicken coop.  The owners placed balls in the coop to not overly bother their chickens when removing eggs.

The two year old Calloway, managed to swallow two eggs and two golf balls.  As another carpet snake discovered in 2008, golf balls are little hard on their digestive systems.  The property owners rushed “Calloway” to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary hospital for and emergency surgery procedure.  Dr. Andrew Hill said Calloway was luckier than most who try their hand at golf.

“They [golf balls in snakes] don’t decompose the same way that other things do, so they can eat a whole possum and not have a problem,” he said.

“Even though it is enormous in their belly, it will slowly dissolve until there is very little left and pass that through.

“Whereas a golf ball isn’t going to change. It gets about two-thirds down the intestine and then just stops.

“It causes so much pressure that the tissue around it is severely damaged, but mainly they just starve to death.

“So in the wild, what they would normally do would be to first to crawl away somewhere out of sight to hide and digest and I am sure there are snakes that we don’t see that just hide away and think they have a full belly, but they just starve.”

Augusta made world-wide headlines when he chowed down on the dimpled white balls and Dr Hill said it was rare to find a living snake with the tell-tale lumps.

“Calloway is the first one we have seen since 2008,” he said.

Tiger Woods at Bay Hill: bringing the Red & Black back to the Winner’s Circle

Tiger sporting the Sunday Red — It’s an image we’ve all become all too familiar with, and in recent years, something that we’ve certainly taken for granted.  I’m definitely part of the Tiger contingent.  I want nothing more than for him to take the PGA Tour by storm and reclaim his position as the best golfer in the world.

Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press


Forget about the 2+ year victory drought.  Just how good is Tiger?  For all the media hype and over-analysis regarding the state of his game, the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard was only the 5th “official” 2012 PGA Tour Event in which Tiger has played.  He’s finished Top 17 in all events, aside from the WGC-Cadillac Championship which he was in competition, but withdrew during the Third Round suffering from a minor leg injury.  Additionally, he has one 2ndPlace finished (The Honda Classic) and entered the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am near the top of the Leaderboard.

Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press


After Sunday’s win at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida, Tiger has moved up to #18 in the Official World Golf Ranking and 7th in the FedEx Cup.  Even more intriguing, Tiger currently leads the PGA Tour in total driving, ranks 3rd in ball-striking and amazingly has posted only two double bogeys in 270 holes of stroke play.

It’s going to take some time, but after this weekend’s performance at Bay Hill and especially Sunday’s victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, there is little doubt throughout the golf world that Tiger can make it happen.   Hopefully we’ll be able to witness is all come together in a couple weeks at Augusta National . . .