Golf

2015 PGA Tour: New instructor, renewed enthusiasm for Michael Putnam

University Place’s Michael Putnam is tired of being told he has the talent to be top-50 golfer in the world.

He wants to finally show it.

After up-and-down, injury-plagued seasons between the Web.com Tour and PGA Tour, the Life Christian Academy product easily produced his most consistent seasons in the past two years.

He was the Web.com Tour player of the year in 2013, then made 23 of 30 cuts on the PGA Tour last season ($818,799) to retain full-time playing privileges.

Putnam knows he’s capable of more, which is a big reason he switched swing instructors in the offseason — from Patrick Kelley, of Raleigh, North Carolina, to Troy Denton, who happens to be Ryan Moore’s Dallas-based instructor.

“I wasn’t looking to change. I have been with Patrick for three years, and it has been a great three years,” Putnam said. “But I am still hungry, and I am not at the level I want to be.”

Starting late last spring, Putnam had been taking short-game tips from Denton at various tournaments.

It wasn’t until last fall when the two discussed getting together full time. And in the offseason, Denton has introduced a lot of technology to analyze Putnam’s swing and putting stroke.

The big thing has been working Putnam out on a device called a SAM PuttLab, which analzyes 28 different parts of a putting stroke.

“It gives you everything you want to know, from (putting) tempo, to stroke length, to face angle at address and impact — and roll of the golf ball,” Putnam said. “My numbers were surprisingly good, but there were a few glaring things we needed to work on.”

The two biggest things were stroke rhythm and putter face-to-swing-path ratio.

“Mine was closed,” Putnam said. “And I was missing putts left.”

Denton said he hasn’t overhauled Putnam’s putting stroke, but just tweaked a few things in it.

“In his putting, we have morphed some ideas together,” Denton said. “And the cool thing is that he truly believes in it. I have changed his setup some. But he has taken ownership of it.”

Denton has also gotten Putnam back to hitting a right-to-left draw with his driver — in case he needs to shape a shot in that direction.

“I am more excited about learning and playing golf than I have been in a while,” Putnam said. “And a benefit of Troy, he believes in me 100 percent. He wants me to be the best I can be, and he will do everything for me to reach that.”

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