The following article was written by the US Golf Digest Magazine and explains Mr Tohru Yamada's theory and technical background behind the Dream 54 putting aid.
How to hole every 6 ft. putt you look at.
The easiest way for a golfer to score better is by improving their putting. Putts account for nearly 43% of shots taken during a typical round of golf. If we are able to improve this one aspect, then we can vastly improve our overall score!
Unfortunately, It doesn't matter how much or how hard you practice, human error makes it impossible to consistently make 6 ft. putts with an arc (or in-to-in) putting stroke. It sounds like a strong statement, but it's true.
If the putter face is more than 1.5 deg open or closed at impact, then a straight 6 footer will always miss the hole. Since it is impossible for a human being to consistently square the putter face within this 1.5 deg margin of error during an arc putting stroke, golfers need to find a better method if they want to make more putts. That better method is the pendulum putting stroke.
The square-to-square stroke (another version of the pendulum putting stroke) has been gaining popularity among European teachers and players, with many of the top European players switching to this method. The pendulum putting stroke has even been advocated by one of the most famous American short game instructors. However, it has been very slow to be adopted by the majority of golfers and teaching professionals here in the States. Most instructors have continued to think of the putting stroke as a smaller version of the full swing. As a result, they teach a method in which the player must make adjustments during the stroke in an attempt to square the putter face at impact. These adjustments are impossible to repeat with any consistency, and therefore many short putts are missed.
One way to explain the difference between the full swing and the putting stroke is to look at baseball. A batter swinging for the fence employs a completely different technique to that of a batter attempting to advance a base runner by laying down a bunt. It's very similar in golf. A full swing uses the hands, arms and body turning in concert to create enough energy to launch the ball with ideal backspin. This allows the ball to rise into the air and fly the necessary distance for the given shot. However, the aim of the putting stroke is entirely the opposite. In order to make the most putts, we need to get the ball rolling toward the target with forward spin as soon as possible following impact. Since the purpose is so different, it follows that the technique must be different as well. Therefore, we must not only change our way of thinking, we must also change our technique. That is why the pendulum putting stroke makes such good sense. It's designed to produce the desired result, and the desired result is making more putts!
Tohru Yamada is the father of the pendulum putting stroke in Japan. He has been designing and handcrafting putters for more than 20 years. He also engineered the robot which is used for nearly all putter testing in Japan. His experience, knowledge of mathematics and engineering, and countless hours of studying all aspects of putting have led Mr. Yamada to develop his theory of the pendulum putting stroke.
Many teaching pros and coaches have also taught that putter design has an impact on the putting stroke. A face-balanced putter promotes a square-to-square stroke, while a toe-down putter best fits an arc stroke. Mr. Yamada has been able to prove through Physics that this is not the case. Many people refer only to the center of gravity of the putter head and the force it creates. However, the true center of gravity of a putter lies part way up the shaft (where you can balance the putter on your finger). During the putting stroke, this true center of gravity acts with nearly 9 times the force exerted by the putter head alone. Therefore, all putters actually behave the same during the stroke regardless of clubhead design. This means you can continue to use your favorite putter, no matter the design, and always perform a perfect pendulum putting stroke.
To perform a pendulum stroke, you must first address the ball with proper posture. Posture is critical to making a consistent pendulum stroke and making every 6 ft. putt. The back of the head, the neck, and the top portion of the back should be horizontal to the ground. Your arms should hang vertically from your shoulders. From this position the large muscles of the back can simply rock the shoulders vertically to perform the stroke. With no use of the wrists, the putter will move as a perfect pendulum and the putter face will remain square throughout the stroke. To check if you are performing the stroke correctly, the shoulder on the target side of your body should move down and then up during the stroke. During the backswing the target shoulder should move vertically down, and during the through swing the target shoulder should move straight up.
Once you've learned the correct posture and shoulder movement to perform the pendulum putting stroke, the next step is to remove the hands, wrists and forearms from the stroke. Human hands are amazing. They can be used to play the piano, count money, and they can even be used to communicate an entire language. Unfortunately, they are terrible at making 6 footers. The hand, wrist and forearm action required during the full swing is necessary to create power. However, there is no need to create power when striking a 6 ft. putt. The distance the putter head travels as well as the amount of time the ball is in contact with the putter face are both much less than during that of a full swing. Again, this makes the amount of time spent practicing an arc stroke, or a stroke which involves squaring the putter face with your hands, an act of futility. It is impossible for a human being to make this minute adjustment consistently. If the hands are involved in the putting stroke, then the putter face will likely be more than 1.5 deg open or closed, and a large number of short putts will be missed. Even professional golfers, who have spent years and years practicing putting, have difficulty squaring the putter face consistently with this type of stroke. They miss too many short putts, lose confidence in their putting, and begin searching for answers.
One answer is to use a putting aid. If a person wishes to make a straight line, they must use a ruler. If a golfer wishes to learn how to perform a perfect pendulum putting stroke, they need a practice aid that provides proper feedback to let them know when they are doing it correctly.
Mr. Yamada has designed a putting aid that not only provides proper feedback to the player to swing the putter in a straight-back and straight-through motion, it is also the only putting aid that forces the player to keep the face square throughout the entire stroke. This teaches the player the perfect technique for the pendulum stroke. As technique improves, more putts will find the hole. When you begin holing putts consistently your confidence will grow. Ultimately, you will hole every 6 ft. putt you look at!