There is no doubt that putting is one of the most important components to shooting lower scores. Roughly 40% of your score occurs on the greens. The best players in the world are very efficient when the putter is in hand. Not only do they make almost all of their 4 footers but have a knack when needing to roll those longer putts within that 3 foot threshold.
So how do they do it? Touring professionals are amazing at reading those tough to read greens and are amazing when it comes to speed control. One of the most important components when it comes to distance control is the tempo of the stroke. Research tells us that good putters will actually have a stroke that is 2x’s faster on the through stroke as compared to the backstroke. Most amateurs that come to our academies actually have a putting stroke that is moving too slow through impact. This is what we refer to as a deceleration profile. When this occurs, it is very challenging to establish good distance control on a consistent basis. It also seems to create a follow through that is much too long as compared to the backstroke.
Next time you are at the golf course, I want you to try something. The title of this column sums it up perfectly. Try creating a stroke that embodies a much shorter follow through but consists of more speed. The first few putts might feel a bit weird but stick with it. There is no doubt that if you have a putting stroke that decelerates and has too big of a follow through, your putting will be inconsistent at best.
Try to implement a putting stroke that feels as if the putter is moving much faster during the through stroke versus the backstroke. In addition, make sure the follow through, at the most, is as long if not a bit shorter than the backstroke. The result will be improved distance control and fewer putts. Try this and I know you will have more success on the greens and indeed shoot lower scores.
John Stahlschmidt, PGA–works for the TOURAcademy and is based at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida—home of the Players Championship. To comment, email John at firstname.lastname@example.org.