Putt Like You Are Bowling

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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Have you ever noticed how professionals in other sports are pretty good golfers? This is not by accident. Athletes have one common denominator with other professionals, excellent eye-hand coordination. Bowling is a great example of this statement. Have you ever watched a professional bowling event and observed the hand action of the bowler? They release the ball with a firm wrist and roll their hand through to create the spin on the bowl to have it hook into the pocket for a strike. With this in mind, there are a couple of ways you can accomplish the firm wrist action necessary to make a proper golf swing.

•  Fact: The full swing is a direct extension of the putting stroke. The golf swing is a progression from address back and then a down swing through the impact area and then a follow through to finish the swing. All of this occurs while trying to keep your lead wrist from flipping or allowing the club head to pass by your hands at impact.

•  To prevent the breakdown, start out by practicing your short putts to feel the actual firm lead wrist action. If you wear a wrist watch while you practice, get a 12 inch long ruler and slide the flat surface under the watch and forward enough to create a brace against the back of your hand.

•  Go through your proper set up and pre-shot routine, as touched upon in several previous tips, and make a few strokes to get the feeling of the firm wrist. More than likely you will have some discomfort initially due to the ruler digging into the back of your hand. This negative reinforcement will soon go away; otherwise you will have a sore hand.

•  From the set up position, begin hitting short putts to positively retrain the muscle memory that for many years has dominated your game. The proper stroke is back and through with the clubhead naturally rotating open on the back swing and back to square at impact and then closed on the follow-through, similarly to the way the bowling stroke occurs. Although the stroke is short, if it were extended in length this will be the path the club follows. The wrist does not break and the forward hand leads through the putt. You can only use this aid while practicing.

Another great bowling tip that will help your game is, while standing on the putting green preparing to putt, actually imagine bowling your golf ball into the hole. Once again making sure to keep the lead wrist firm and flat.

•  On the putting green, stand behind your putt and actually make an underhand stroke as if you had the ball in hand and were rolling the ball to the hole. Visualize the line; make the back swing stroke and then follow-through. Once again focus on the firm wrist as you make the back and through motion.  

Have fun and remember, if you need help with this tip or any other, feel free to email Greg at greg.ellis@trilogygolfclub.com or call for a lesson at 623.328.5107. 

Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on ArizonaSports98.7 or on the internet at www.arizonasports.com for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.