Golf Tips

Putting: Back to Basics

We’re back to putting again. We feel that strongly about it. The average golfer could easily make up 10 strokes a ROUND by putting properly. And it is much easier to practice putting then driving or fairway shots in your house or yard!

The game of golf should be learned from the green back to the tee. That means putting, chipping, fairway shots, and THEN drives. Remember, most shots in a round are from around the green!!!!

The average golfer’s tendency, when putting, is to use too much of their wrists and arms, thus breaking down their wrists through the putt. No! No!! NO!!!! DO NOT BREAK YOUR WRISTS!! First it hurts (ok, couldn’t resist), second, you LOSE CONTROL!!!

To become a great putter, the perfect combination of shoulders and arms should be used throughout the putt. Any wrist action involved is through the motion of the weight of the putter.

During your putt, concentrate on your shoulders really the putting stroke. On the backswing, your left shoulder moves down and your right shoulder moves up, focusing on your shoulders becoming synchronized. Your left wrist should stay nice and firm throughout.

In order to set up the putting grip, first place the grip in the palm of your left hand, and your entire hand around the grip. Place your right hand underneath your left, in a similar palm grip. Overlap your right hand with your left index finger.

Your palms should be opposite to one another, for a nice locked-in feeling. When setting up to address the ball, make sure your eyes are over the ball, specifically your left eye (if you are a right-hand golfer).

Bend your knees slightly, and hang your arms over the ball.

Shift your weight slightly forward on your left foot, favoring the left side of your body. Your hands should also be slightly forward in your stance.

Before making your stroke, make sure your arms, shoulders, knees, and feet are all parallel with your target line.

Keep all these elements intact, and you should see improvement in putting in no time.

The standard rule of thumb. Five-foot putt, bring (sweep) your putter back five inches, follow through five inches.

Why do most putts miss? Because the stance and the putter head are NOT square to the target line (for such cool people playing this game, isn’t the word square used a lot?).

Put this in your muscle and visual memory bank:

Use a square tile floor. Place the putter head along with one of the squares, and align your feet using the square pattern of the floor to be, well, square to the target.

Now, take a little peek down the target line. MEMORIZE that look. That is a square look, and that’s cool!

Where Should Your Miss Land??

One of the major differences between the Tour pros and the weekend player is that the Tour pro focuses on where he wants his “misses” to land. For example, if the green is sloped back-to-front, the Tour pro will choose a club that will make sure that he leaves his approach below the hole so that he has an easier, uphill putt for birdie.

You should do the same thing. Instead of just walking off the yardage and choosing the appropriate club for the yardage, take a second to study the green to see how it’s sloped. If it is sloped severely back-to-front, take one less club or choke down on the club a bit.

Or, if it is sloped hard right-to-left, aim well left of the hole (assuming the hole isn’t cut tight to the left side of the green near trouble). By leaving your approach shots on the proper side of the hole, you’ll find yourself three-putting or four-putting a lot less.

What are the three worst words in golf?

Wedge, Putter, Wedge (OK, if you don’t get it, email me, and I’ll explain..)

About the Author
Michael Hamilton is an accomplished golfer and editor of Golf Tips Weekly Newsletter.

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