Book Review: Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible

puttingbible1.jpgSince my last post was about the pure in line square putting stroke (pils) featured in Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible, it seemed fitting to go ahead and just review the book, since I’ve been meaning to do it for a long time.

Five or six years ago I took a golf trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my brother and two friends. One afternoon one of my friends and I decided to play a late-afternoon 9-holes at the course where we were staying. We got hooked up with a nice guy who had driven down from Canada.

He was a very good player but related to me how he previously had putting issues and that a book he read, called Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible, transformed him. I believe the exact quote was, “It completely changed my putting game. No exaggeration.”

Well, if you’re a regular reader, then you probably guessed that I went out and picked up the book before the vacation was over and started reading it right away.

I can say one thing: it completely changed my putting game. No exaggeration.

As you might know, I’m a huge fan of Dave Pelz, his teaching philosophies, and his scientific approach. This book is extremely similar to his Short Game Bible, with the only difference being the subject of putting instead of the rest of the short game.

It covers literally every conceivable aspect of putting: surface conditions, ball balance, weather (wind, precipitation, etc.), reading greens, the putting stroke, stance, routine/ritual, rhythm. The list could go on forever.

As with everything he teaches, he doesn’t just lay out his method and say “It’s that way because I said so.” He proves concepts through experimentation and scientific analysis.

Chapter List

  1. What is Putting?
  2. Problems on the Greens
  3. Methods of Putting
  4. The Seven Building Blocks of Stroke Mechanics
  5. Five Nonphysical Building Blocks: Touch, Feel, Attitude, Routine, and Ritual
  6. Stability and Rhythm: Two Artistic Fundamentals
  7. Green-Reading, the 15th Building Block
  8. Speed is More Important Than Line
  9. Wind, Lopsided Balls, Dimples, Rain, Sleet, and Snow
  10. The Improvement Process
  11. Establish Your Practice Framework
  12. Improve Your Stroke Mechanics
  13. Develop Your Artistic Senses (Feel, Touch, Green-Reading)
  14. Face Your Special Problems
  15. Wrap-Up

The Good

  • This book is about as comprehensive as a putting instruction book can be. At the end you won’t be wondering about the stuff he didn’t cover.
  • His writing style is very smooth, easy to read, and interesting.
  • I’ve employed his techniques and can say without a doubt that they improved my putting game.
  • You will learn things about putting in this book that you probably never realized or never even thought to ponder. For example, he shows that in putting, speed is more important than line and he shows why.
  • Even though Pelz is a very scientific person, he pays homage to the artistic side of putting and gives that aspect of the game the proper treatment.
  • He doesn’t just present stroke techniques and call it a day. He gives instruction about how to effectively train yourself to use them, i.e. how to go about improving your putting.
  • He has developed several training aids that are demonstrated in the book and are available on his website. Before you accuse him of being a shill, realize that through years of research he has identified what’s important to reinforce with training aids and has developed those training aids to address those important things.

The Bad

  • One negative thing I can think of is the same issue that I came up with when I reviewed his Short Game Bible. Namely, if you get turned off by the scientific stuff, like the experiments and charts and the like, then you might get a little bored. I think it’s a minor issue, though, because that type of material doesn’t dominate the book.
  • Also not really a negative, but the other thing I’d like to mention is that if you’re expecting to read this book and just miraculously putt better, you might be disappointed. Even though his techniques are simple, just like anything else, they require practice. So, to get the maximum benefit, you need to put the work in. Though, you’d probably improve in some ways just by being aware of the concepts in the book, so reading it is still time well spent.

Conclusion

What can I say? If you read this far, then you know I wholeheartedly recommend the book. I’ve read it cover to cover twice now and as I thumbed through it while preparing for this review, I realized that some of the material has faded, so I need to read it again. I’m adding it to my reading pile and will work through it again during the winter so when spring comes, I’m putting well right from the start.

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Further Reading:

Pelz Golf (PelzGolf.com)

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