Facilities Manager, Certified Instructor
TourAcademy at TPC Scottsdale
I was working with a good high school golfer this past weekend who is progressing nicely with full swing and shot making abilities, yet is having trouble with the putter. Hitting the ball well and not making many putts can be frustrating if you don’t have a good idea of what is happening. If you’re searching for reasons and don’t know the root cause, answers get really difficult to come by because they’re not answers, they’re guesses. Switching putters, thinking differently, changing routines all come into play yet don’t get down to the real guts of the problem.
To understand what is really happening with a putting stroke you need feedback, this can come from a million different places, but standing on the green and hitting putts without some sort of information is just wasting time. A couple of nudges in the right direction:
• Find a straight putt, five or six feet, and snap a chalk line or something similar that will not only visually show you the line of the putt, but will also allow you to align the putter face as well, line on your putter matches the line on the ground. You want your setup to be the same every time, and a line can help a great deal, you need to let your eyes and mind see what a putter face square to the target looks like, doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect when you go play, but I know you’ll get better and better the more you practice.
• Once you’ve got the line on the ground and the putter face square, play around with the speed of these straight putts, have a ball barely fall over the front edge. Then see how hard you can hit the putt and not miss, probably bouncing up in the air off the back edge of the cup and popping in. Speed is king and you’ve got to find what you like, the better your speed, the better you’ll be when you start to hit putts with lots of break.
I’m all about low stress on the golf course, by that I mean if you hit your first putt and the ball barely misses so you can walk up and tap in the next one, this is a win. You don’t want five or six feet for your second putt, because over time you’re just not going to make them all. Start the ball on the intended line, with your intended speed, and let go of everything else, I know you’ll be better on the greens.