Picking the brain of a Ryder Cup Legend - Putting with Brian Huggett
5 February 2020 4:16 pm
Last week I was fortunate to spend half an hour discussing putting with golfing legend Brian Huggett.
Brian, who is resident in Ross on Wye area, finished tied for runner-up at The 1965 Open at Royal Birkdale, and won many European Tour events. He played in six Ryder Cups and featured in one as captain (1977).
I was lucky to grab Brian at a good time - walking in to the Pro Shop at Ross on Wye Golf Club, I asked if he could speak to me about his thoughts on putting and the concepts he believes in.
I also tested him on the famed SAM Putt Lab - what he does very well is managing where the club face is pointing at impact. Every time, without fail, the club was square to the target. Although an unorthodox technique, it certainly works best for him - and as an individual, that is all that matters.
I was all-ears to some good insight on his mentality over a putt. He suggested that every single putt he had to make was to win the Ryder Cup. As a kid we all dream about this, but he knows what it actually feels like.
In 1969 he holed a putt he thought was to win the Ryder Cup, after a roar from the 17th hole in a match between Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus. He made it to halve the match but eventually the same outcome would happen in the Ryder Cup, and the USA would retain it.
So on to what Brian and I discussed.
Picking out different PING putters, Brian said things like "This putter's no good, it has no loft on it". Finding in what worked best for him really interested me. He picked up another PING putter with the same amount of loft on it: "This is more like it!". The hosel of the putter changed everything for him and in my opinion linked in with the fact he hits down on his putts.
That's how we got on to his beliefs. He addresses a putt from the heel of the putter to compensate his tendencies to hit from the toe, has a light grip pressure and that he naturally aims right to 'hook' the ball into the hole.
Hook spin doesn't really apply to a putt, but the movement certainly mimicks a hook from a longer shot and again, unorthodox. The club face though is dead square at impact. Every single putt. From the SAM Putt Lab data we can see he aimed 5 degrees to the right.
"I do this because my hero growing up was Bobby Locke, and he used to do the same."
The reason why he decided to 'hook' the ball in was because of his 'right lip' strategy. Brian suggested that if you aim the ball at the centre of the hole you are more likely to lip out in minor movement situations because you can only miss 2 inches left or 2 inches right (it being a four inch wide hole). Therefore your miss is only 2 degrees.
By aiming at the right lip and 'hooking' it in, he has four inches to aim at, making the hole twice as big and the margin for error twice as large.
Just don't miss right Brian! But what a fascinating insight into this concept.
We also discussed the worst tip golfers give each other, including pro's. That tip is to tell golfers to not leave it short.
Instead of the old 'don't be short' mantra that has haunted golfers over the years into shooting five feet past, instead go for the simple 'hole it' mantra. Then the concept of being short or long doesn't matter, as your entire focus will be getting it as close as possible to the target.
A lot of coaches are now thinking more about the process rather than the outcome, but Brian is certainly a man who believes that no matter how, the ball has got to go in the hole.
CLICK HERE to watch a video from a while back that Brian and I produced:
Thanks for reading
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