Sooooooo. Long story short. IF you are one of the type of golfers who responds well to coaching and you want to be a better putter, this book is a must-have . . . don't bother with these teasers, just go out and get the book and get with the program.
This book seemed a little unusual to me in the opening pages for the open, vulnerable discussion of the introspective process that led to the evolution of the teaching method in this book. Where the author learnt to discard putting dogma for instruction tailored to the student, by the student. . .
Oh, the method is not whimsical, nor even arbitrary, nor un-fundamental, it's just that he has a more nuanced understanding himself of the Art of Putting, and how to teach it . . . He does still have some bedrock principles:
but his way to putting excellence requires the student reader to embrace those bedrock principles, to discover thru testing-drills where one falls short, and then to use practice drills to reach competence in those bedrock principles.
Each of these are examined in detail for what the meaning and application of the principle should be, as if they were not self-evident, which might be the knee-jerk reaction . . . but upon reflection the student may well realize that what seems blithely obvious can be demonstrated thru the testing drills as a principle followed more in theory than in practice, except for the thoroughness of Sieckmann.
Although the concepts Sieckmann hammers home in the opening chapters can seem obvious to the point of meaningless "philosophy", it seemed to me that, OTOH, that he is touching upon such deep psychological (for lack of a better word) issues with performance that they are undeniably profound.
I mean, as above, this tension between the conscious and unconscious apprehension of the challenges of a shot has occurred to me also, not only for putting, but also for full shots, as the most likely explanation of shot failure . . . sometimes this is called "performance anxiety" but that is not exactly correct: it's not choking, but poor technique, poor execution of fundamental principles, such as Sieckmann has laid out.
The book has blank matrices like the sample above for evaluating how well one executes the core principles, along with instructions on interpreting those test results, which tho' a simple practice, not as straightforward as one might hope . . .I mean . . . this book has value for these explanations, which familiarity will simplify.
Again, I often had to fight a knee-jerk reaction to such pronouncements above as trying to seem profound by stating the obvious in a stentorian manner, but it is only that Sieckmann has laboriously streamlined his evolved theory into these principles, discovered how to measure them, and developed how to remedy the shortcomings.
The tidbits of knowledge in here, as above, which if absorbed, will quickly move the student to Sieckmann's POV . . . he avoids the most common dogma of techniques in favor of crystal-clear descriptions and illustrations of fundamentals that must be obeyed, as much as the law of gravity, if you see how I mean . . .
Again, the obvious, apparent, is revealed to have a more hidden meaning upon introspection.
I have to believe Sieckmann is not only aware of the apparent simplicity of his instructions, that can lead the student to be dismissive, but he is equally adamant in the tenets of his flexible approach.
There is at root of this theory, several scientific or mathematical principles that Sieckmann cheerfully admits he may or may not entirely grasp -- but the impact of those hidden principles is colossal.
This above illustration, I admit, is where i was won over . . .Speed reading thru the book to this point, I nonchalantly assumed it was all common knowledge, pontificated just for his own benefit, but then I realized here: I MAKE THIS MISTAKE ALL THE TIME -- ON PURPOSE! and this led me to go back over the preceding chapters, paying more attention, reflecting longer on his points, till I saw the deeper Truth.
all of the illustrations are very good, complementary to the clear & concise text, but these color photographs are eye-popping . . .8^D. . .
As with his prior book "Finesse Wedges" Sieckmann harps on the Positive Mental Attitudes, that frankly leave me cold . . . but you see of the pros on Sunday afternoon, those who relish putting are the ones in the final groups, playing well. I mean, heck, I LOVE putting when I'm putting well, and I suppose a case can be made that scientific theory, assessment and practice of putting could make one love it more . . . 8^) . . .
Another illustration I thought was so very illustrative of an apparent obvious point was this above . . . to the degree one can control one's approach and misses-in-good-places, this seems, upon reflection, as very sound advice.
All of this book is sound advice.
All of this book is of the sort of "Profound Knowledge" of which Edward Deming spoke.
Every duffer who assumes he always starts a putt on his intended line, and that that intended line is correct, and the speed he uses for that intended line is correct, and who practices according to this book, is in for an experience, at first humbling, but then gratifying.