). Higham taught himself a version of FOP back in the 1950s. His web site contains research by Dr. Gideon Ariel, founder of Ariel Dynamics and a world-renowned authority on biomechanics. In Dr. Ariel's study of sidesaddle versus traditional putting, he states, "The sidesaddle style significantly reduced the upper body range of motion, shoulder rotation and total body motion needed to execute a successful putt. This reduction of putting movement... would indicate that it uses more efficient putting mechanics while reducing the potential for variability/error in the lateral direction of the putt." I assumed this meant it's good.
In my insatiable quest for knowledge, I perused Dave Pelz's Putting Bible and found a relevant section: "[A fellow came to me] standing beside the putting line facing the hole and swung the putter along a perfect vertical pendulum, with his top hand and the top of the putter tucked under his armpit. He leaned over to set his eyes directly over the putting line, then balanced his weight by extending one foot away from the line. This sidesaddle technique produced the consistently best putting I've ever seen, and it's legal." I was starting to believe. I was at the fountains of knowledge, and it was time to take a drink.
Also time to come clean: This all happened in early 2008, when in July I actually switched to FOP for a Champions Tour event with mixed results (I blame the ridicule from players and fans). I worked on FOP for a while, feeling like a crash-test dummy. People in the gallery at tour stops must have thought David Feherty, my twisted CBS colleague, had finally gotten to me. But I kept playing with it, knowing it's the most efficient putting method. Now two years later, I'm still trying to perfect it and push away the nay-sayers. You do need a special putter--go online to find several manufacturers who make them--although you can try it out by bending a long putter more upright as long as it has a curved sole. I don't putt face-on exclusively, but in the back on my mind I'm haunted by the notion that I'm sure it's the best way to putt.
If your putting is lousy, give face-on putting a try. Guzzle the Kool-Aid. This will be the single most disruptive moment in your putting life. FOP isn't going away, but using it, I think my putrid putting finally might.
Gary McCord is a Golf Digest Professional Advisor.