5 Simple Putting Tips!
A quiet body, a ball at rest, a short back-and-forth motion—how could something so simple cause so many headaches? Wouldn’t it be great if putting were as simple as it sounds? To help cure those putting woes, here are a few tips guaranteed to make you feel more empowered on the greens!
Have you ever noticed how smooth a touring pro’s putting rhythm is? This type of smooth, uniform movement makes contact and distance control more predictable.
A great way to develop rhythm is to practice with a metronome. A metronome has adjustable speeds, a feature that makes finding the appropriate tempo a snap. Simply place the metronome on the ground and time your stroke to match the beat. Once you find the speed that feels best within your natural stroke, continue to practice matching your tempo to the metronome until you can consistently reproduce it.
The next time you play, I suggest grooving your rhythm while making rehearsal strokes. Feel the putter head swing freely back and forth in-time with your practiced metronome beat. Once you feel in your gut that you have the perfect swing length and rhythm, walk up and knock the ball into the bottom of the cup!
Some players like to feel as though one of their hands is dominating the movement, guiding the stroke through impact. Whatever your preference, practicing with just one hand is a great way to unlock the feel and flow of a pure putting stroke.
Hold the putter with one hand only and make a stroke. As you practice from a variety of distances, don’t be afraid to allow for a “little” wrist action in the movement. This may seem counter to common putting coaching, however, an efficient stroke should be accompanied by “softness” in the joints of the wrists, arms and shoulders. Stroke a variety of putts with each hand, taking note of which trials produce the best pace and direction. Resume putting with your normal two-handed grip, keeping your mind fixed on the hand you feel drives your best effort.
Jordan Spieth doesn’t use this technique on all putts, but it’s a style that has merit, worth trying your next time out!
If you push or pull your putts, your club face and or putter path are off target at impact. Although both influence the ball’s starting direction, a misaligned putter face will cause the biggest deviation in direction.
To keep your putts on line, practice with a tool that provides immediate and accurate feedback. This could be using a task specific training aid, or something as simple as a shaft on the ground or straight line on a hardwood or kitchen floor to judge your stroke against.
Place your putter on top of the line so the center line on the head is matching your reference line on the ground. As you swing, remember it’s okay to have a little arc in the stroke. Hold your finish and check the squareness of the face against the line. A face that’s square to the target will be perpendicular to your training line, with the center line on the head matching as well. Keep in mind, as stroke size increases, you’ll experience some arc away from the target line into the follow through, with the face following that arc. This drill is most effective primarily on short range putts where face control and starting line are of paramount importance.
One thing all high-level players have in common is consistently striking the center of the putter face. To encourage this solid contact, wrap two rubber bands around your blade so they straddle your putter’s sweet spot. Putts hit off the toe or heel will cause your ball to veer offline. Centered strikes will send the ball rolling down its intended target line. After you feel confident you can make contact between the rubber bands on a regular basis, take them off and try to continue making contact on the putter’s sweet spot.
Unlike most sports, golf suggests that you to look at the ball rather than your target. Players like Jordan Spieth, however, have had success with a “heads up” approach and new research suggests you might as well.
When you look at the hole, the information being sent to your brain keeps you focused on distance and direction, over the mechanics that can misplace your intention. Begin with putts within six feet. After you assume your setup position, look only at the hole while making your stroke. Once you feel more comfortable with this technique, move back to greater distances and repeat the process. Jordan Spieth doesn’t use this technique on all putts, but it’s a style that has merit, worth trying your next time out!
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