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Why No Sight Line? Why Sight Line?


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#1 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 09:12 PM

For some golfers, they want their putters with no sight line.  I know the reasons vary, and it may all come down to preference, but please help me understand what is going on in your brains when you see a sight line, or why you prefer no sight line.  Before you answer, please initiate your thread with either "Sight line" or "No sight line."  I will start with my own answer.

Sight line.

I have always preferred a sight line.  All my putters have sight lines.  First of all, it is so easy to line up the ball with the sight line.  On the green I look at the line of putt from both sides and determine how much borrow I need, pick out a spot, line up the stripe of the ball to that spot.  Of course I can square up the face to the ball by setting the top line square to the stripe, but with the sight line it is even easier to set the clubface square at address.  My Kevin Burns putters have two sight lines that together make it even easier to square up, and that if I am a fraction of a degree open or shut I will know immediately; the same applies with even a single sight line.  With no sight line I still can square it up, but I feel that if I am a half a degree off I might not tell.  An even better advantage of having a sight line is lining up the ball if it rests on the fringe.  By Rule you are not allowed to lift your ball until it gets on the green, so lining up such a ball without a sight line may be more difficult.

Now I am not saying here that having a sight line is better or worse than having no sight line, but for those of you who prefer no sight lines I want to know why you feel that way.  Tiger Woods, for example, has no sight lines in his putters; he just has a dot on the top line to indicate the sweet spot.  Jack Nicklaus, on the other hand, prefers two sight lines on his putter to help square it up.  I recall that when Nick Faldo won his first Masters he changed putters after the first round because the putter he used for that round had no sight line and he had alignment problems; he switched to a putter with a sight line and the rest is history.  When Retief Goosen won the 2001 US Open he used a Pro Gear C-Groove Swashbuckler putter which he specifically ordered with no sight line.

The only thing I can think of as to why the absence of a sight line may be beneficial is that maybe it is one less last-second distraction in your mind in case you did not take the putter head straight back.  This is mere conjecture on my part because I have never had a putter without a sight line.  For those of you who do, please help me understand why you prefer no sight line.


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#2 Bigarch

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 09:30 PM

My choice is a 3rd option:  Sight lines but absolutely no lines in line with the ball.

Let me explain.  I like 2 sight lines that frame the ball.  One line on the inside of the ball and one on the outside of the ball.  The best putting lesson I ever got was from a guy who said to him, putting was like bowling. Its not a line to the hole but rather a "LANE" to the hole. Because if you hit either the left or right edge, it could go in.  So I always focused on the lane rather than the line...and putting the ball at the correct speed to keep it in the lane and not go off into the gutter, per se.

So with 2 lines on the putter that frame the ball in the center of the two lines...I can envision that lane concept better.  By the way, I'm a pretty darn good putter.  It's probably the best and most consistent part of my game.

Let me add, it's difficult to find a putter with just those 2 lines.  But any time I putt with a putter that has any type of center line that lines up through the ball, I just can't putt worth a lick with that type of putter.  I also don't like to see any lines on the ball when I putt...only white.

I hope all that made sense.  Confusing and different I know.
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#3 shorrrno

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 04:10 AM

Sight lines are a must for me. I've kept the Odyssey Marxman in my bag for years because it's so easy to align. Tried the Versa with the coloured stripes to align square with the ball and it just didn't work for me. I love the #9 though so ended up adding my own sight line.
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#4 slide13

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:21 AM

No sight line....I guess, but not overly concerned.

I have putters with flange sight line, top line sight line, and just a dot.  My preference is for the dot as I think it looks cleaner and I focus on setting the face up square to my line.  But a sight line doesn’t overly bother me either, I can putt just fine with one, I just don’t think it really adds anything for me and for how I line up the shot and I prefer the more I cluttered look of a dot.  

I actually like the top line sight line about equal to the dot, I think that’s a really nice option on a squared up, angular putter.  I got my Piretti Cottonwood 2 with the top line sight line as I think it matches the blockier linear lined head.  Whereas on my Byron DH89 with rolled top line and round bumpers I much prefer the dot.
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#5 JunkerJorge

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:44 AM

Sight dot.

I read an article somewhere that found the average person cannot match a flangeline within a degree of a line marked on a ball. Human perception tends to be better at judging 90 degree angle (i.e aligning using the top line) versus judging two line in the same direction separated by a gap. I find this to be true of myself.

Also, for me, a flangeline makes me want to manipulate the stroke in the backswing instead of letting it flow. Seeing a bright white line pointing way right of target in your peripheral vision is distracting.

If I don’t use a dot or something on the top line though I set up with the ball pretty significantly toward the toe.


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#6 davep043

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:16 AM

I agree, center indication, but no lines.

However, I know a fitter for Edel putters.  They test a significant variety of sight line possibilities to find the one that the player can line up best.  Apparently our brains don't all work the same way, and probably the only way to learn what's best is to try them all.  I'm not advertising Edel, and I haven't been fitted, but that's the Edel claim.

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#7 Bray

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:34 AM

Sight Dot. I aim a sight line left. It looks like I'm aimed correctly but according to SAM I'm aimed left. I tend to aim a dot better.
It's not in my nature to be
mysterious, but I cant talk about it
and I can't talk about why.

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#8 nova6868

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:13 AM

I honestly don't think it matters much, it's down to personal preference. I'm highly skeptical that many people can actually line up a flange line from that angle. But if it gives you confidence then whatever.

I find that speed is a much more important variable to have dialed in.

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#9 longleft

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:50 AM

I aim the ball so there is no real need for me to use painted lines on the putter to establish my aim.  I use the face to square the putter to the line on the ball. As long as I trust the line I can better understand the result.

I use an anser style putter, and the perpendicular lines of the pocket behind the ball help to ensure that the ball is centered properly on the face.



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#10 justindowney

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 02:14 PM

I prefer no sight aid. I don't have a specific reason but I guess I have always been a feel putter. I line up my ball with as little logo showing as possible. I never liked using a line on my ball to line it up and ever since I started using putters with no line/dot I haven't looked back.

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#11 dpb5031

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 02:51 PM

I like a line on the ball but no sight line on the putter (I use an old 8802 style blade).

I just try to T-square strike the line on my ball with the blade
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#12 tschoewe1

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 02:58 PM

No Sight Line

Currently use the TM Spider Black and was my first putter without some type of line on the flange or top line. I was skeptical going in but had my most consistent season putting last year. Wanted to incorporate more "feel" into my putting, focus on the target, and "free up" my stroke which having no sight line helps me with. Contemplating going away from using a line on the ball during the early season and seeing what results are.
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#13 BYK

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 05:58 PM

I've been a fan of no sight line for a while
i putt with it much better than with any visual aids
best I can reason, it frees me up to concentrate solely on making a good motion/stroke
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#14 DK<80

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 06:58 PM

Wow, lots of love for the dot rather than line!

I actually really love a T (similar to what DJ added to his spider).

My old putter is a TM 880 est.79 and it had a perpendicular line intersecting a parallel line (T) and it helped me line up putts better.  Haven't seen many putters with a T lately and I tried the auto tape stuff for a line when I briefly had a Spider Tour but could not get it dead straight to save my life.
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#15 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:13 PM

For me, the dot only makes sense if you do not want to see a sight line go back on the backstroke.  A long sight line that may not go back perfectly straight will be very apparent and if you notice it during the stroke, something may creep in and you may not catch the ball square.  I suppose that with a dot you will not see a sight line go back and there will be no issues of it looking perfect because, after all, what's most important is impact.

I argue that with the long sight line it forces you to concentrate more to make sure that the sight line goes back perfectly straight.  After all, that's what we're trying to do?


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#16 JunkerJorge

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:19 PM

View PostEmperorPenguin, on 10 April 2018 - 07:13 PM, said:

For me, the dot only makes sense if you do not want to see a sight line go back on the backstroke.  A long sight line that may not go back perfectly straight will be very apparent and if you notice it during the stroke, something may creep in and you may not catch the ball square.  I suppose that with a dot you will not see a sight line go back and there will be no issues of it looking perfect because, after all, what's most important is impact.

I argue that with the long sight line it forces you to concentrate more to make sure that the sight line goes back perfectly straight.  After all, that's what we're trying to do?

Nope

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#17 DK<80

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:26 PM

View PostEmperorPenguin, on 10 April 2018 - 07:13 PM, said:

For me, the dot only makes sense if you do not want to see a sight line go back on the backstroke.  A long sight line that may not go back perfectly straight will be very apparent and if you notice it during the stroke, something may creep in and you may not catch the ball square.  I suppose that with a dot you will not see a sight line go back and there will be no issues of it looking perfect because, after all, what's most important is impact.

I argue that with the long sight line it forces you to concentrate more to make sure that the sight line goes back perfectly straight.  After all, that's what we're trying to do?

Well not all of us.....I actually use the line or dot or whatever to line up the direction (making putter face perpendicular to the line) and once I'm lined up, all I'm thinking is speed of putt and how far back I have to take the putter.  I've never thought about the line going straight back and through.  Thinking about that would probably screw up my speed every time.
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#18 slide13

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:05 PM

View PostJunkerJorge, on 10 April 2018 - 07:19 PM, said:

View PostEmperorPenguin, on 10 April 2018 - 07:13 PM, said:

For me, the dot only makes sense if you do not want to see a sight line go back on the backstroke.  A long sight line that may not go back perfectly straight will be very apparent and if you notice it during the stroke, something may creep in and you may not catch the ball square.  I suppose that with a dot you will not see a sight line go back and there will be no issues of it looking perfect because, after all, what's most important is impact.

I argue that with the long sight line it forces you to concentrate more to make sure that the sight line goes back perfectly straight.  After all, that's what we're trying to do?

Nope


Same here.  I am not a straight back, straight through putter.  Just seems unnatural to me.  Now I don’t have an exaggerated arc, but I definitely open the face slightly in my backswing.   Hate face balanced putters for this reason, feels weird, need some toe hang.

Edited by slide13, 10 April 2018 - 08:05 PM.

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#19 dlygrisse

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:32 PM

None on ball
Dot or small line on the top rail.

I like to focus on the leading edge of the putter. Having a line pulls my focus away. I have an old school blade putter from the 1940s. Just a thin top line. This actuall might be the best but they don’t make em like that anymore
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#20 LYG

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:40 PM

No site line for me.

With a site line, IF you take it back crooked (not straight) you see that and think "a bad takeaway!"

Call me negative but that's what it does to me.

PS, I like what one poster said about two lines and a "lane."

Edited by LYG, 10 April 2018 - 08:41 PM.

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#21 C-rad

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:00 PM

View PostBigarch, on 09 April 2018 - 09:30 PM, said:

My choice is a 3rd option:  Sight lines but absolutely no lines in line with the ball.

Let me explain.  I like 2 sight lines that frame the ball.  One line on the inside of the ball and one on the outside of the ball.  The best putting lesson I ever got was from a guy who said to him, putting was like bowling. Its not a line to the hole but rather a "LANE" to the hole. Because if you hit either the left or right edge, it could go in.  So I always focused on the lane rather than the line...and putting the ball at the correct speed to keep it in the lane and not go off into the gutter, per se.

So with 2 lines on the putter that frame the ball in the center of the two lines...I can envision that lane concept better.  By the way, I'm a pretty darn good putter.  It's probably the best and most consistent part of my game.

Let me add, it's difficult to find a putter with just those 2 lines.  But any time I putt with a putter that has any type of center line that lines up through the ball, I just can't putt worth a lick with that type of putter.  I also don't like to see any lines on the ball when I putt...only white.

I hope all that made sense.  Confusing and different I know.
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#22 benno_r

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 02:23 AM

Sight Line.

Did the Edel fitting with my 2 ball, what my eyes said were straight was about 3 cups right. Fitted to a slightly wider blade, top line, and 1.5 shaft offset seems to work for me. Much easier to stand over the ball and line up now - most times I am hitting the line I want (Green reading or speed control is another story).

Bought putters with sight dots, flange lines, and no lines - I don't feel comfortable over the ball as I am always second guessing my aim.
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#23 Lancj1

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 02:33 AM

I had a SAM putter fitting.

My stats were demonstrably better with a sightline - on the same putter range.

I ended up with a spider platinum. My putting has improved significantly. A lot down to the model and a fair amount because of the line.

I still have no conscious thought or preference about a line, I just went with the data
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#24 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 05:02 AM

View Postbenno_r, on 11 April 2018 - 02:23 AM, said:

Did the Edel fitting with my 2 ball, what my eyes said were straight was about 3 cups right.

I don't trust my eyes when I'm over the ball.  That's why I always line the ball up to my intended line so no matter what I feel when I'm over the ball, with my sight line squarely in line with the stripe on the ball, I know I am lined up correctly.  Sometimes you stand on a slope and it throws you off when you're looking down at address.  That can't be the correct line, you think, but because you looked at the putt from all sides and made up your mind and lined up the ball perfectly you know you are aiming correctly despite what your feet tell you.  I find that sticking to the stripe of the ball, coupled with a simple sight line, I still make putts.  I may not be a good ball striker, but I have always been a good putter because my lines are always correct and all I concentrate on is putting a good stroke on the ball to hit it the correct distance.

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#25 davep043

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 07:27 AM

View PostEmperorPenguin, on 11 April 2018 - 05:02 AM, said:

View Postbenno_r, on 11 April 2018 - 02:23 AM, said:

Did the Edel fitting with my 2 ball, what my eyes said were straight was about 3 cups right.

I don't trust my eyes when I'm over the ball.
This is why the Edel or SAM putter fittings make sense to me, we're all different.  Different shapes, different offsets, different markings, all effect the way we "see" the alignment of the putter and ball.  Ideally, we want a combination that makes it easiest to align the putter to the intended direction.  I'm not a big fan of the alignment on the ball.  Its just difficult to extrapolate a 1.6-inch long line to a 5 or 10 or 50 foot long putt.  If it works for you, great, but its not for me.


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#26 Z1ggy16

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 07:36 AM

Im getting a Edel system fitting next week and I'll let you know what the outcome and reasons are for line vs no line, etc.
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#27 gioguy21

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 08:01 AM

i don't like lines on my putter looking down -- but then again i rarely use a line on my ball to line up a putt; maybe inside 5' if it moves a bit.

i have putters with and without lines tho. lol

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BB0 Tour Limited / 35.5"

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#28 Scotty1140

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 09:22 AM

I feel equally comfortable with flange lines or no alignments aids at all. It's sight dots I absolutely can't do. For some reason I find them distracting. They actually draw my attention towards the dot and away from the ball.

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#29 teeezer

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 09:31 AM

All of the above for me.

The alignment aid for me only helps me line the sweet spot if the putter to the ball. So anything or even nothing works. There have been times where I lose my train of thought or break routine when my eyes get distracted on the AA. Doesn’t happen often but it makes a difference.  Once I get accustomed to squaring a certain putter I won’t focus on the AA any more. It’ll just be second nature to play the ball in a particular location. To square the putter I look at the top line of the putter. The alignment aid isn’t a deal breaker. If I had a chance to get a Scotty 009 I’d be happy with any aid or even no aid at all. The best alignment aid in my opinion is the Ping ketsch. The white on the black with lines more level with the ball is so easy to use.

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#30 twidener

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 09:38 AM

I like putters plain or a dot. I have a couple of newport putters, one with a dot and one plain. My gamers are an old 8802 and a Cleveland Designed by Ben Crenshaw raw head putter. Both are plain. I was taught to putt off the toe on downhill, fast putts.  And on left to right or right to left, up hill, down hill putts I was taught to putt off the toe or heel of the putter depending on the break and speed. Having a sightline was too distracting. The dot not as much, but I prefer plain.


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