Oct 8, 2011

Posted in News

Shoveling for Chains

Shoveling for Chains

Winning has been a way of life for Ken Climo and through his twenty-plus years playing professionally his putting has played a key role in that. In fact, it could be considered one of the gold standards in the game.

During the Innova Champions Series sponsored by Cloud 9 Disc Golf on Friday, Climo broke down just how his method works, hitting putt-after-putt on the target set up near the clinic stage as if he had set up a conveyor belt that automatically sent his discs right into the basket.

Dave Feldberg, who uses the same method, assisted in the demonstration.

The method that Climo and Feldberg use is the shovel putt, which varies greatly from the common spin putt used by many amateur players. Instead of a spin putt that uses a lot of wrist action, the shovel putt uses more of a fixed wrist until the release.

Climo starts by gripping the disc further back in a way he likens to holding a fork. Making use of more of the palm, he brings his arm down, elbow slightly bent – nearly between his legs – and then pushes the disc on a line toward the basket, releasing it nose up. Look to release it in between the target’s top and the basket.

The key when releasing, they said, is pushing the disc out with the palm while merely opening the hand. Think of the putter like it’s a one-pound weight, says Climo

“It would just go straight,” said Climo, adding that it helps to start the putt wind-up slow then release quick – just like a drive.

Feldberg brought out pro golfer Richard Wysocki of South Carolina to show what can happen with the help of a shovel putt. After employing the putt, Wysocki eventually went on to win this year’s PDGA Championship. Wysocki, formerly a spin putter, now says he’s putting inside the circle better than ever.

Feldberg added that when releasing these putts, it’s a must to bring that left leg up in sync. He said Climo is a master at this technique, which is great for committing to the shot and delivering it with enough power.

“Basically they are counter balances,” said Climo, who added he sees many women golfers doing this well since they usually need a little more push with their release.

Start in the position where you finish, said Climo. Leaning slightly forward before rocking back and delivering the putt establishes control and balance. Also, avoid locking the arm, otherwise the putt will fall flat and short, added Feldberg.

The end result looks like shaking hands with the basket, while the left foot is up in the air as a counter balance. The bonus about this putting style, said the Champ, is that when you miss it’s generally above or below the basket.

“When you get this down. You’ll think that this is really easy,” said Feldberg.

An interesting trick Feldberg uses to see which eye is more dominant is to make a circle with one hand and place it over an object in the distance, looking at it with both eyes. Then, close each eye one at a time and see which keeps the object in the circle. Whichever one does, is the dominant eye and should be placed in line with the basket upon shot set up.

Climo’s straddle putts work in much of the same fashion, except his stance is wider. Bending with his knees even more, Climo then pushes up with his feet while releasing to the point his finishes on his tip-toes.

Just as important as anything else, Climo urges golfers to take their time during each putt. Rushing putts spoils the routine honed in practice and usually results in missed putts.
“It’s very important to have a slow pace, a calm pace,” said Climo.

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