Surge's Putting Setup

Sun, 12/15/2013 - 14:00 -- Don Trahan

I would consider myself a better ball striker than putter, but that doesn't mean I can't help you improve your putting stats. Fortunately, I've got access to some of the best putting minds in the game of golf. What's even better is that you can find all the secrets I've learned over the years right in Surge's Shop. 

I want you to be the best player you can be, so that means there's no secret I won't share. E. Harvie Ward was widely considered to be the best putter the game has ever seen. Many of the game's greats have said no one could roll the rock quite like Mr. Ward. He shared his secrets with one of my close friends, Jack Moore. With the approval of Mr. Ward's wife, Jack and I made a full length video covering every aspect of E. Harvie Ward's putting technique.

You can get your own copy of Secrets of America's Greatest Putter here.

The reason I wanted to talk about putting today was because of an email I received from a Surgite I call Deane the Machine. I'm going to share his email as well as my response so that you can all understand how I set up to putt the ball.


I bought the Putting videos covering Harvie Ward sometime ago. In those videos you and Jack Moore both state that the old, conventional WISDOM of having your dominant eye right over the ball & on the putting line is wrong and I have been working with that thought. Recently, I bought a copy of Dr. Lampert’s book “The Pro’s Edge” and I note that he was advocating using the old “Wisdom” set-up.

When I played with you in Reno I noted that you weren’t quite setting up like I thought Jack was in videos, but I was thinking more about the swing rather than putting so I might have missed something. You appeared to be quite square in your address at putting if I remember correctly.

I would appreciate any comments or corrections in my statements.

And, by the way, the PPGS swing is working great for this old guy. My scores are steadying down and I believe I will be into the 30s regularly on 9 soon (one time so far). I now lose a shot or two to the right and screw up the hole. I have never worried about hitting a ball to the right in my life!!! Lost another one in a lake to the right just this week. Guess why-I still have a great tendency to unconsciously protect against the hook. Thanks for any comment.  


My response:

Deane the Machine,

Many teachers believe the eyes must be over the ball. Dr. Dave Pelz also said so in his book, Putting Like the Pros. On the other Hand, Dr. Ralph Mann (a PhD in Biomechanics) did an extensive study in the late 80s of tour players' putting setup and found that virtually zero/none had their eyes over the ball.

As for me setting up like Jack Moore does in the Putting Secrets Video, I do not setup like him. I am a little open as he advocates, but I stand a little taller than he does as he bends much more at the waist. The key to all instruction videos that are PPGS foundations is that I, and other instructors featured like DJ, Jack, Dave Seeman, Greg MacDonell, and Kenny Knox is that they have their thoughts and special nuances that all must conform to PPGS on - on and on and setup and swing principles. But the beauty of the PPGS setup and swing being not only first and foremost conforming to physics and physiology and being body friendly is that the PPGS allows for the golfer to make time tuning adjustments to find what works for him or her.

The key is to try and stay as close to the premise as possible but you can, and in most cases must, tinker with slight changes/adjustments, testing if slight changes in setup and the swing can work for you. You cannot be afraid to slightly try small adjustments, using trial and error to see if there is something better for you. The key is to stay relatively close to the main premise of the PPGS setup and swing and not get radical. Your swing balance and ball striking are your guides for figuring out if the changes are for you. You may get to a point where you are hitting it well, and making one more slight adjustment starts to make it worse so you know it is now too much or far and to back down to the last good result.

I hope this answers your question.

Take care and Stay Vertical!

The Surge

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denoaj's picture

Submitted by denoaj on

Surgites: I was surprised to see Don's Video today about my email on putting and his answers to me. I took what he told me in those emails and used the general idea from Jack Moore's putting lessons and practiced with what made me COMFORTABLE. Last Tuesday I played and my putting finally came together. I had 12 putts for 9 holes and my score improved quite a bit. I have been burning up any where from 18 to 20 putts/round. As usual, THANKS TO THE SURGE! "Deane the Machine" or deno's picture

Submitted by on

You have helped me a lot with my game this won,t be on one of your dailys but I hope it comes across your table You are the"Johnny Carson" of golf
getting out there ever day and expounding your words of wisdom to your
followers.. I THANK YOU Joe A. Douglass

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

I am one who likewise needs to exaggerate something until it begins to happen more often or naturally. An example of this is our topic of the slot/bump a few days ago. I have been over doing the lateral bump with an under from the top pump, feeling my club head come up vertically and then drop under and start back from inside and some what laid off. This has really improved my drives and even given me that forever longed for draw and distance. Another move that may require exaggeration is getting vertical in the BUS and then finishing vertical in the FUS. For others out there it may be something else. If we have years of not swinging correctly we may need to over correct and then through practice and repetition find the 'just right' feeling and results. More recently I am giving attention to ball first contact (not thinning or fatting) with my irons, especially my most lofted clubs- the 55 and 60* wedges. Been accomplishing this by simply keeping my sternum (my shirt buttons) ahead of the ball at address. This in effect moves the ball a bit more back in my stance. results were spectacular last week. Another example is the putter and not only my method but the putter. i have gone to the heavy L2 Traditional and now have a truer pendulum stroke and am liking the results. I changed it from 35 inches to 33 where my set up is more natural. small changes that can yield large results. Tweaking our games to improve while staying within the parameters (or premise) of the PPGS. Yes tinkering and subtle to exaggerated modifications that help us see results.