October 24, 2011

Plain And Simple Putting

Five Steps to Develop the Perfect Putt

Putting is often called a game within a game, because many of the skills you need to be a good putter are different from those required for the rest of the game. What`s more, studies show that putting accounts for 43% of the shots among better players. You`d be hard-pressed to find a great golfer who wasn`t a good putter!

Given these facts, it makes sense for time-pressed golfers to invest time in their putting. Yet in my experience, most students ask for tips on everything but putting.

If you`re serious about lowering your scores, try following these five simple steps to putting perfection.

1. Position
Position yourself so your eyes are over the intended line of the putt (ball line). To do this, hold your putter loosely and directly under your eyes as you address the putt and let gravity take it straight down. Now, make sure that when you look down at the putter, that it covers the ball. If not, move forward or back until it does. Ball position should be slightly forward (toward the left foot). Hands should also be forward. Align the putter shaft with the left forearm. This position promotes a good roll as the ball leaves the putter face.

2. Grip

Your hands should work as a unit and not be spread apart. The farther apart your hands are, the more likely you are to use your wrists, which is not desired. (The putting stroke originates in the shoulders and arms.) Use a normal grip, with three fingers of each hand on the club and the others just along for the ride. Use relatively light (5 on a scale of 1-10) grip pressure in order to promote feel.

3. Aim
Find a target and imagine a straight line through the center of your putter. Don`t get too caught up in the line that your feet make, but do be sure the putter face is square to the target. This is also the line your stroke should follow. Don`t tilt your head, or you`ll distort the perspective.

4. Stroke
Your putting stroke should be dominated by the shoulders and arms and involve as little wrist movement as possible. Minimize body movement, and try not to shift weight or turn the hips. (In other words, forget much of what you`ve learned about the body`s role in a full swing!)

5. Acceleration
Successful putters have a backswing and follow-through of equal length. This promotes acceleration and aids distance control. One of the most common faults I see is a player taking the club way back and then stopping at the ball on the down stroke, anticipating the hit. Remember to stroke through the ball, not at it!

This article was reprinted with permission from www.learnaboutgolf.com

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