In the USA the term “Flatstick” is a golf slang
term for the putter, because putter clubfaces appear as though they are flat, relative
to all the other golf clubs. In other words, putters look like they have no
All the other golf clubs have very noticeable amounts of loft, sometimes a high loft and sometimes a low loft. Other than the putter, the driver is the least-lofted golf club and, for most golfers, will have between 9 and 13 degrees of loft. On the other end of the scale, the lob wedge is the most-lofted club, typically from 60 to 64 degrees.
However, it turns out that the term “flatstick” is really a misnomer. Putters aren’t flat. They do have loft — just not much of it — and the amount of loft on golf putters does really matter and will have an impact on your golf game. For example, if you putt and the ball tends to bounce or skip, that’s a sign that the loft of your putter might not be well-suited to your putting style.
Loft In the ‘Flatstick”
You’ll rarely see a putter coming on the market with as little as zero degrees of loft – which really is a “flatstick”! Equally, it’s rare to find a putter with as much as 8 degrees of loft. The standard loft of putters sold in pro shops is 3 degrees to 4 degrees.
On the pro tours, the world’s best golfers use putters with
as little as one degree of loft to as high as six or seven degrees of loft. But
the goal of the pros is to have an “effective loft” — the loft of
their putter as it sits at the moment of impact — of three to four degrees. An
effective loft of 3-4 degrees is considered the ideal loft.
Why Loft In Putters Matters
The gist of it is this:
If your putter has too much loft, the ball will come up off
the putter face at impact – it will get airborne for a fraction of a second –
which can play havoc with your distance control. None of us want the ball to
hop up at impact.
If your putter has too little loft – if it really is too
much of a “flatstick” – then, at impact, your putter face might actually be pressing
the ball into the turf a bit, which can cause various effects including a putt
that skids or skips.
The object with putting strokes and loft is to send the ball
on as smooth a roll as possible, from the earliest possible moments after
impact. “Pure roll” is what every golfer wants out of his or her
Ideal Putter Loft Is Impacted By Your Stroke, Stance and Even the Greens
What loft do you need in your putter?
Well, that’s affected by several factors, most prominently
the type of stroke you have and your stance, but also by the conditions of the
greens you typically putt on.
There’s the actual, measured loft of a putter and there is also, as mentioned earlier, the “effective loft.” A golfer who uses a forward press when putting is de-lofting the putter – that is, the putter arrives at impact with less effective loft than its stated, measured loft.
So a golfer with a forward press might need a putter with a
higher stated, measured loft.
Likewise, a golfer whose stroke with the putter reaches impact on a slightly upward arc, might need a putter with a lower stated, measured loft.
So, it follows, that a golfer whose stroke is level at
impact probably has roughly the same effective loft as the putter’s stated
If you play the ball off your front foot when putting, less
loft may be better – because you may be impacting the ball on a slight upswing.
If you use a long putter, less loft might be in order – because
long putters tend to strike the ball on the way up.
Perfect greens — smooth, great rolling — require less loft
in putters. Higher loft may help on bumpy greens and otherwise poor greens.
Launch Angle and Putter Fitting
Launch angle is something most golfers associate with drivers or other woods and hybrids. But it matters in putting, too.
The consensus is that a launch angle of three to four
degrees is the ideal for putting – which explains why standard putter loft in
off-the-shelf putters is 3-4 degrees.
Something you read in this article might prompt you towards a beneficial change in your putter loft. But the fool proof way to know whether your putter loft is well matched to your putting style, is to visit a golf club fitter for an expert putting fitting.
Most of us associate golf club fitting with the other golf clubs in our bag, but putter fitting can also be highly beneficial, and that’s why more and more golfers who want to improve their putting are getting fitted by an expert.
Hope you found this article helpful or informative.
Looking back, it was about twenty five years ago, when I was
a manager in a construction, installation and service company within the
petroleum industry. My hobbies at that time were snooker and football but I was
in decent shape and always very competitive in any game I tried.
I started getting some opportunities and invitations to play
golf with work colleagues and business associates but, honestly, at the time I
had no clue how to play golf and I definitely couldn’t stomach the idea of being
whipped on the course by some pudgy, self-obsessed client or work colleague for
So, I decided to learn how to play this golf game that everybody
was talking about.
Instruction And Practice
My instructor showed me all the fundamentals of golf from teeing off to putting and then told me to practice, practice and practice, first at the golf range and then on a local course. He also told me what golf clubs are needed for golf and actually helped me find a really good set of second-hand clubs.
After about a year of practice and playing, I had developed
some consistency in my golf game and I was getting more confident by the day.
One day, like many in the past, I popped down to my local public course with
the idea that I would play a round on my own and work on some parts of my game
that needed attention. Then, just as I was getting ready to tee off, an elderly
gentleman approached me and asked if it would be alright if he joined me……..I
said, of course and that I’d welcome the company.
This Fellow Looked The Worse For Wear
In truth, this fellow looked a bit the worse for wear. He
had worn out golf shoes, baggy, wrinkled pants and an old Titleist hat that had
seen better days.
The thing that most struck me though, was that he didn’t carry
a bag but this strange little contraption that looked like a hanger with three
bottom bars, each holding a golf club—three clubs in all.
With just about fifteen months under my belt, I am still a
very raw recruit to this game but I’m thinking this guy must be a rank
beginner. So, after some small talk and introductions, we teed off.
I settled right in and for the first three holes I was
crushing my driver and getting to the green in really good shape. The old gent
complimented me several times and helped to further boost my already expanding ego.
As for him, well he was struggling but did recover well on a number of
After I parred the third hole and we were walking towards the 4th Tee box, I was surprised when he said, “care to make it more interesting?” By now, my head was far too big for my hat, so I’m thinking I have an opportunity here and there’s no harm making a bit of pocket money. I said, “Sure, how about 5 Euro a hole?” “That’s not interesting,” he said, “let’s make it 20, birdies are double.” Jackpot, I thought.
The Real Competition Starts
For the remainder of the round this old “rank beginner” guy
hit his 3-wood effortlessly right down the middle of the fairway, about 230-240
yards every time he needed to. Then he would take out his seven iron and drop
the ball within 12 feet of the hole and, to my amazement, he would then par or
birdie the hole – every time.
By the seventh hole, I had lost all my confidence and I was
spraying the ball all over the course. I really had fallen apart and just
wanted the game to end and, eventually, it did.
When we finished I owed him over 200 Euros!
As I approached, he said “no son” and refused to accept my
money. Then he said, “Let that be a lesson, son. Anyone carrying just three
clubs has reduced this game to its essence and is a master hustler.”
You Only Need Three Clubs
Let me tell you why you only need a 3-wood, a seven iron and a putter.
The three wood can give you adequate distance
off the tee and is much easier to control than the driver. Plus, you can also
hit the ball off the fairway or in light rough with good results.
A skilled golfer can hit a seven iron 180 yards
or they can chip it in from the fringe and
If you learn to use the putter, you can make up
many shots once you are on the green.
3-Wood, 7 Iron & Putter
Wouldn’t be enough for me but I do see the logic. Although, I
have played in “two club” competitions and it’s surprising what you can do when
you are limited to just two clubs.
Sometimes, maybe we over complicate the game…..…food for thought.
That’s it for today…..this may not have been what you were expecting, but I hope you liked the story.
The putting grip is a matter of choice as you can hold your putter in a variety of ways.
In Short, when it comes to deciding on the best putting grip, you have many choices. You should be relaxed, hands should sit comfortably on the putter while still maintaining a square alignment of the putter head to the target at impact.
Remember – what happens at the bottom end of your putter is determined by what happens at the top end of your putter.
The Most Common Grip
The most common putting grip is the reverse-overlap. Unlike the grip for the full golf swing where you wrap the little finger of your right hand over your left index finger, you reverse the process.
Here you place your left index finger over the little finger of your right hand (or extend it over all the fingers of your right hand). Both your thumbs are positioned straight down the grip.
A variation entails placing the forefinger of the right hand down the shaft of the putter.
An important aspect of the grip is where the putter shaft rests in your hands.
The putter shaft should lie in the “lifelines” of your hands up against the fleshy pad and not in your fingers.
So, to repeat, my recommendation is to place your putter in the “lifelines” of your hands.
This position reduces any tendency for your wrists to hinge and unhinge during the putting stroke. It also helps to reduce the possibility of putter face rotation.
Some teachers still advocate holding the putter in the fingers of each hand in order to achieve a better feel. This technique tends to promote the use of the wrists in the putting stroke rather than a pendulum-like stroke produced by the shoulders.
You may be aware of the trade-off in where you hold the putter shaft – that is feel versus consistency. I don’t really agree with this view. While it’s important to have a putter that feels good in your grip, I believe that to putt well, you have to putt with consistent actions and techniques that have been honed through regular practice.
Placing the shaft in your palms is more likely to give you a consistent stroke as it reduces wrist hinging.
A number of professional golfers now use a cross-handed grip with the left hand lower on the shaft than the right. This putting grip is designed to increase left-hand control and prevent any hinging or cupping of the left wrist through the area of contact.
The claw (or saw) grip which sees the right hand holding the putter in a similar manner to the grip for the long putter is used for a different purpose.
In putting, a common fault is for the right hand to overpower the left hand in the forward stroke, resulting in the putt being pulled left of the target.
To reduce any tendency for the right hand to dominate, the right hand is rested gently on the shaft allowing the left hand to guide the putting stroke. The idea being, that it is easier to pull a shopping trolley in a straight line than to push it….
What about the Shoulders and Forearms
Another importance aspect of your putting grip is the effect it has on the alignment of your shoulders and your forearms.
In the traditional grip the right hand is positioned below the left. The effect is to push the right shoulder and forearm ahead of the left shoulder and forearm. So my recommendation is that you check the alignment of your shoulders.
In reality, this means that the shoulder and forearm flow lines, unless corrected, will be pointing more to the left rather than parallel to your aim line. As your putter path typically follows the line of your shoulders, your putts will be pulled to the left. With the left-hand low grip, the opposite will happen and putts will be pushed to the right.
One technique to prevent your right shoulder moving forward is to tuck your right elbow in towards your right hip. This prevents an over-the-top condition that occurs when your right forearm is further forward from your body than your left forearm.
If you can, try standing over a reflective surface and change your putting grip from right-hand low to left-hand low and, immediately, you will see how your shoulders move forward and backwards.
The only time that your shoulders will be in a neutral position is when your hands are placed alongside each other on the grip. This is sometimes referred to as the prayer grip.
Whatever your method of holding your putter, you should pay close attention to the correct alignment of your shoulders and forearms after you have placed your hands on your putter.
I hope you found this article helpful and that you improve your putting as a result.
One of the most important putting skills that you never practice enough.
Today I am going to share with you a simple to learn method for aiming your putter very accurately and consistently so you can hole more putts inside the range of 10 feet.
Professionals would claim that putting should be the easiest of all the skills to learn and master and that, if you wish to become a successful amateur or professional golfer, you must become an expert and be consistently accurate inside the 10 foot range.
Basically, there are two critical skills that you need to develop and master to improve your putting aim and thereby become more effective on the greens. These skills are not the ones normally taught and practiced but I can assure you they will help any golfer to become really effective on the greens.
These two skills will underpin continuous success on the putting green and I hope that, after reading this article, you will work on these skills to greatly improve your putting.
The Two Putting Skills
# 1. Point or aim your putter accurately
# 2. Start your ball where the putter is pointing
In today’s article I am going to focus on these two skills – aim your putter accurately, and hit your putts where you aim.
You will see that we won’t discuss things like green reading, putting speed or which stroke path you use or even whether you hit your putt at the bottom of your stroke or as its moving upwards. These are certainly very important aspects of putting but I believe that, without these two putting skills, none of these will help you to make continuous progress with your putting.
It’s interesting that many of the things that golfers work on can actually make the putting part of their game more challenging and one such example is thinking about whether your stroke is going back and through correctly whilst you complete a putt. Expert golfers don’t spend too much time thinking about how they are stroking their putt when they are putting, rather, they think specifically about how their ball will behave on its way to the hole.
Their focus is more on where rather than how.
Two Important Questions
Here are 2 important questions for you to consider and then answer to start things off.
1. Do you practice aiming your putter as often as you practice hitting putts? ….Yes or No
2. Do you believe that aiming your putter to where you want to putt is a skill? …Yes or No
These are good questions because they help you to understand what you value highest in putting.
If you hit lots of putts to holes, or you work on stroke mechanics a lot, how do you know whether you are aiming your putter where you think you are?
You might be surprised to learn that many amateurs and even professionals rarely if ever practice aiming their putter to a target as a skill.
Your can take a lesson to determine what type of putting stroke best suit you, but when you practice putting you need to become extremely good at aiming your putter and hitting your putts consistently where you aim.
Never assume that you aim accurately, you should practice it often!
Being able to master your aiming ability will greatly improve your confidence on the greens, but if you don’t practice it then it doesn’t matter how good your stroke is because the ball will not go into the hole as often as you want.
So how do you practice aiming accurately?
Practice Aiming Your Putter
You should spend a block of time every week practicing and enhancing your putteraiming skills and you should do it before you practice putting to holes.
We know that as a serious golfer you know and more than likely check your aim often on long shots, but for many golfers they never think about aiming their putter the same way. This doesn’t make a lot of sense because I’m sure you will agree that aiming your putter is equally as important as aiming your shoulders, hips and feet on long shots.
Aiming your putter is quite easy to do and practice – and the following simple aiming routine is the one I recommend. With this simple routine I guarantee that it will help you to improve your aiming skills so that you give yourself a much greater chance of making more putts inside 10 feet.
Aim Your Putter – Step 1.
Place a coin or ball marker on the ground which will be your target to aim at and position 5 balls around the marker from 5 feet to 10 feet on a relatively level part of the putting green.
Aim Your Putter – Step 2.
Go up to the first ball and perform your pre-shot putting routine and whilst in your set-up position and when you think the putter is pointing at the coin or ball marker move the ball out of the way and carefully place an alignment stick down from the centre of the putter face at right angles to the putter face.
Is the alignment stick pointing at the marker, or left or right of it?
Remember, as you perform this routine you are aiming to hit your putter as if there was no break. You are simply aiming from the ball to the hole with no consideration of slope.
A Simple to Make Practical Putter Aiming Device
I recommend a very simple home-made aiming device that is attached to an alignment stick that turns the alignment stick into a very helpful and powerful training aid.
So here we go, cut a piece of 1 inch by 1 inch square wooden dowel the length of a putter face and drill a hole into the centre of the wood – that hole being the diameter of an alignment stick and at right angles to the edge of the wood. Then insert the alignment stick into it as you can see in the image below.
When you aim your putter you place the alignment stick with the dowel attachment against the putter face so you can easily check the accuracy of your aiming ability. This simple device helps to amplify putter face misalignment better than most other training aids out there.
Test results for aiming accuracy have shown that, an elite golfer at 5 feet from the hole, can have between 3 and 6 inches of misalignment. Now you can imagine how much compensation that’s required to hole a putt of 5 feet when the putter is aimed this far away from the hole or target?
Aim Your Putter – Step 3.
If your alignment stick is not aimed straight at the marker/coin then repeat the procedure from the different distances until the alignment stick is pointing to the ball marker. This usually takes 3 to 5 attempts at each ball location.
Once you have achieved a straight alignment to the target consistently you will then need to calibrate your putting stroke to your new straight alignment.
The reason for this is that your misalignment has created an unconscious stroke compensation and now you will need to adjust your stroke to improve your ability to hit your putts where you aim.
Aim Your Putter – Step 4.
To calibrate your new aim with your putting stroke, you can use a simple pipe bracket or golf tees that are placed just a little wider than the width of your ball …this is to hit your putts through.
Your goal is to use your authentic putting stroke and this simple aid to make the finite adjustments required for you to hit your putts where you aim.
Initially you will find that if you aimed away from the ball marker/coin either to the right or left of the marker, that your stroke and face alignment will encourage a pull or push and your putts will hit the sides of the bracket or tees. This provides the instant feedback you need to improve your ability to hit your putts where you point the putter face.
Practice hitting sets of 10 putts through the tees (without a hole initially) until you can get all 10 putts through the middle without contacting the sides. This is not as easy as it sounds.
This putter aim and stroke adjustment routine is very effective at improving your precision with the aiming of your putter and hitting your putts where you aim.
Well, that’s it for today.
I hope you learned something from this article and that you will visit this website regularly for more great tips.
Some golfers think this is an easy exercise but there are a number of important steps that you must fully understand if you want to know how to find the right putter. The variables covered in these steps have a major impact on putter distance and control.
Putting is nothing more than consistent distance and directional control of the golf ball. This is easier to accomplish if you know the facts about proper putter fitting. I’m going to give you a method of explanation that makes this very easy to understand and then the next easy step is for you to go out and do something about it.
When discussing putter fitting it is best to break down each of the five putter fitting variables and discuss each regarding its effect on either distance control and/or directional control of the putt.
How To Find A Putter That Fits You
# 1. Length and Fit
Length equally affects both distance control and directional control of the putt and is very important regarding consistency in putting. The correct putter length depends on the type of putting stroke you use.
The most popular putting stroke today is when the golfer is slightly bent over at the waist and the knees slightly bent until the eyes are directly over the ball. The stance is square to the putt line and both arms are hanging down vertically and directly under the shoulders.
The ball is approximately positioned out from the left heel. The stroke is a pendulum motion using the shoulders as a pivot point and causing the putter head to go slightly inside on the back stroke to square at impact to slightly inside on the follow through. Putter length is measured and fitted with the golfer in this position.
Putters for men are mostly sold in 35” and 34” standard lengths (a few 33” exist). Womens’ putters are standard at 33”. Both men and women golfers will almost always fit into shorter lengths than those offered as standard. The average is about 33” for men….the average standard length putter used on the PGA tour is 33” to 33 ½” for men. Women will usually fit into 31” to 32 ½” lengths. When fitting putters, length should always be the first fitting variable determined.
About 80 percent of golf beginners play with ill-fitted putters. The vast majority use putters that are too long and force them to stand too tall at address or with their arms jammed up into their bodies. Either way, the end result is a bad putting stroke.
When you buy a putter make sure it fits you, so you don’t compromise your stroke.
Here’s how to make certain your putter fits.
Check Your Putter For Correct Fit
Stand with your weight balanced in the middle of your feet, and tilt forward so your arms hang straight down, palms facing, with a slight elbow flex. This is the ideal putting posture.
Recall this posture as you address a ball. Your eyes should be directly over the ball. Have someone measure a line from the top of your left wrist to the ball (w h e re your eyes hit the ground). That is your correct putter length.
Check the lie angle of your putter before you buy. The sole should be flush to the ground. If the toe of the putter is pointing up off the ground it isn’t a good fit.
The standard length of a men’s putter taken off the rack is 35 inches. That’s too long….on average, 331/2 inches is about right.
Your height is not the main determinant in putter fitting. Stuart Appleby (6’1”) and Justin Leonard (5’9”) both use 33-inch putters. It’s a combination of arm length, torso size and legs. Once you determine your ideal putter length, make sure you find a model that has markings and a design that help you with alignment. Try out several different styles to find the one you like best.
Don’t cut it short
If it’s occurred to you that your existing putter will fit better if you just snip a few inches off the top of the shaft, don’t do it. If you do; you’ll alter the club’s swing weight and that changes the feel and performance of the putter head. Bottom line: It’s not a good idea.
# 2. Loft Angle
Loft has greater effect on distance control than directional control but does affect both. A putter needs loft in order to putt with any consistency. The amount of loft at impact should be between 3º and 4 ½º.
Here’s why: on a green, when the ball comes to rest it settles down slightly into the grass. When you putt you do not want to drive the ball through the grass to get it up on top but rather you want to lift it out of its depression and place it up on top of the grass. This eliminates the possibility of the ball bouncing which is bad because it makes distance control more difficult.
Next, a putt has initial skid and then it eventually goes into pure roll. We want this skid and roll percentage to be as consistent as possible through all lengths of putts. Research shows that 3º to 4 1/2º loft on a flat face will be the best way to accomplish this.
If the loft is reduced to say 1º, it is not enough to get the ball out of its depression and it will bounce. If the loft is say 6º, the ball will be lofted too high which will also cause it to bounce. In either case distance control is less consistent because we need the ball skidding and rolling with minimum bouncing.
#3. Lie Angle
Lie is almost all about directional control in putting and very little about distance control. Because a putter has loft, anytime the lie angle is not properly fitted to the individual golfer the ball will not go in the direction your putter head is pointing. Basically when the loft angle is tilted (lie angle not correct) and not parallel to the ground, another angle is formed which we will call the misdirection control angle.
A good example to explain this would be a golfer putting with the toe sticking up in the air at address. This would mean that the golfer is holding the putter too flat for the putters built in lie angle. Another way to say this is that the putters lie angle is too upright for the golfer and must be adjusted to a flatter lie angle to fit that particular golfer.
Assume the putter in question has 4º loft and is held 3º too upright (toe up). Because the 4º loft angle is tilted it creates a small misdirection control angle which points to the left. If we hit a 28 foot putt the ball would be pulled 1 5/8” left of our intended line and would lip out and miss. If all putters had 0º loft this misdirection control angle would not even exist. However, we would now have more difficulty in achieving good distance control. Fitting the proper lie angle on a putter is very important and should not be overlooked.
#4. Swing weight
Swing weight is used as a means to ensure the putter head and the putters’ length have the proper weight relationship between them. This characteristic is a major factor in distance control of the putt. It also is a significant factor in directional control.
The golfer needs to have enough weight in the head to achieve proper feel and balance of the putter. Too light and it is difficult to obtain a smooth backstroke, follow through and distance control. Too heavy and it is very difficult to get any kind of distance control, especially on longer putts. Heavy putters are, however, very accurate on shorter length putts.
The best swing weight range is between C-8 and D-6. The problem with a number of putters currently in play is that they were built with the old lighter head weights and many fall into the A-1 to C-0 range. This is definitely a problem that most golfers do not need, so if you fall into this category check the swing weight on your putter. If necessary, simply put lead tape on the sole of the putter making sure to evenly cover the entire sole in layers until the correct weight is achieved.
If you are following the current trend of “counterbalanced” putters, make sure you have enough head weight to have the head feel you need to execute a smooth stroke. Most designed counterbalanced putters start with heavier head weights, usually from 370 grams to over 400 grams. For most players, these heavier head weights require some level of counterbalancing to give them the proper head feel.
If you have a standard head weight putter, say 350 grams or less and you add a counterbalance weight, you may find that all head feel goes away, making it very difficult to execute a proper, smooth stroke. You may need to experiment to find the right balance for you, but research indicates that the ability to repeatedly execute a smooth controlled stroke can be improved with heavier head weights and some level of counterbalancing.
#5. Proper Putter Head Design
Much of this is personal choice regarding looks, feel and above all feeling comfortable with your choice. An important performance variable to consider when buying a putter is whether or not you want the easier playability of a high MOI putter head design. High MOI putters are far more forgiving on off-centre impacts. In addition, a smooth flat faced putter head is highly recommended.
That being said, most putter designs today have some form of milling, or inserts, or grooves in the face claiming that these types of surfaces will reduce backspin and skid on putts. Research has indicated that this does not occur to any significant degree. Milled faces do ensure the face is flat, so there is a positive to milled faces.
My advice is take the claims of improved roll from grooves or inserts with a grain of salt, and concentrate on getting a design that suits your eye and has the highest MOI possible.
How To Set Your Target Number Of Putts
Now that you have a suitable putter for your personal needs, how many putts should you be targeting in a round of golf? Regardless of your handicap, you can definitely shoot par on the greens.
If you don’t already do so, start tracking your total putts per round. Then look at the chart below for your personal putting par, based on your handicap. Make it your goal to match this target number and you’ll see lower numbers on your card.
Personal Handicap Putting Par
30 and over = 36 putts per round
2 0 – 2 9 = 34 per round
10 – 19 = 32 per round
I hope you liked this article and that it helps you to improve your putting performance.
Would love to hear any comments you might have, so please use the comment box below.
A lot of golfers would be of the opinion that the best way to teach the putting stroke is to hold the club in such a way that the club, the arms and shoulders create a triangle shape that points down at the ball. Then, they would say, the goal is to keep that triangle shape intact during the stroke.
I get the idea and can visualize the triangle…..but I think the triangle is upside down! Today’s putting stroke tips are based on the fact that the best putters make a stroke where the putter head creates the triangle’s base and the grip end is the point. Can you picture that?
This principle is why anchoring a putter against the chest is now against the rules….. Why?, because it makes putting way easier. Fortunately, you can use my triangle visual without anchoring.
It will make your stroke so good, it will seem like cheating…..but it isn’t.
Most golfers use way too much effort than is necessary to hit great putts.
Flip The Triangle – It’s The Secret To Great Putting
Look at these pictures which help explain what I’m saying.
Think Hands Not Arms
One of the most visible features of inconsistent putting strokes is too much going on with the shoulders and arms. When you pull your arms back and then push them toward the hole to make a stroke, you’re essentially swinging the wrong end of the club and relying on a fundamentally inconsistent power source.
For reliable distance control, the best putting stroke is the one that has fewer moving parts and takes advantage of gravity. You have to flip the triangle! Work on keeping your hands relatively centered in front of your body and use your wrists and elbows to swing the putter back (see above, bottom photo). Instead of pushing the arms toward the target (see top photo)….let the putter use gravity to fall into the back of the ball. This is all the force you need to hit the putt. For long putts, just bring the club back further. The more time and distance the putter has to reach the ball, the faster the putter is moving when it gets there to strike the ball.
Feel The Natural Fall
To get a better sense of how gravity, not your arm swing, should let the putter fall into the ball, set up on a green next to the collar and the ball a foot into the fringe. While holding the putter with just your trail hand, swing it back with your wrist only (see below) and then let it drop down to make the ball pop up and roll.
You’ll quickly discover that you don’t have to add force with your hand to hit a putt with enough speed to get the ball rolling a long way. After several repeats, switch to your lead hand and do the same drill. Then, finally, practice two-handed putts on the green, feeling that same free-fall sensation.
Remember, it is OK if it seems like your wrists and elbows are doing most of the work. In fact, it’s a sign you’re doing it right. Now you know the secret.
Practice Hitting The Ball Flush
If you make solid contact using gravity to propel the stroke, the ball rolls effortlessly towards the hole.
To help you improve your contact follow this practice drill:
Stick a metal hoop into a green (see below), or you ca use a couple of tees about two inches apart.
Now put a ball on the green so the back half is behind the hoop or the tees, and make a “dead weight” stroke letting gravity do the job. Hit the ball with the center of the face and the putter should contact the tees or the hoop squarely after impact. If you have manipulated the stroke with your hands, or if you have shoved the putter towards the ball, it will hit one side of the hoop or one tee before the other—something you’ll feel right away as negative feedback….but also something you can correct with practice.
That’s it for today.
I hope you like these putting stroke tips and that they will help you to improve your putting.
I’m sure that, down through the years, you have read a number of articles that claim to help you “never three-putt again” or “never miss another big putt.” If those claims were true it would be great, but it never seems to happen.
Instead, I’m suggesting you become a more committed putter of the golf ball. Remember, this commitment is less about outcome (i.e., the ball going into the hole) and more about the process (i.e., doing everything in your control to make it a successful putt). Better golf putting is well within your reach so read on to find out how.
Putting Is A Simple Movement
Putting is one of the simplest movements in all the sports. We see this demonstrated by hundreds of thousands of people—men and women, young and old, with no golfing background—who play pitch and putt golf for fun. The putting stroke itself is mechanically simple and can be performed in a matter of minutes, if not seconds, with relatively little instruction……not necessarily a perfect putting stroke but a stroke that’s good enough to start with.
Keeping this in mind, you will no doubt wonder why golfers at all levels find this part of their game so stressful and complicated. The truth is that most golfers turn the simple pendulum swing of the putter into one of the most complex processes they deal with. The following example should be well known to most golfers. Imagine you have a 10-foot downhill putt that breaks right to left one foot. Nothing too complicated, so you go through your pre-shot routine and address the ball. Even though various thoughts are running through your head, you make your swing. As it turns out, the putt is perfectly aimed, but falls two feet short of the hole. As you walk to your ball, you look at your playing partner in despair and mutter those all too familiar words, “was afraid to hit it!”
Fear and Doubt
What made you afraid?
From my experience, I have come to the conclusion that the common denominator with most golfers is DOUBT.
So, how do we eliminate doubt when putting? Doubt creeps in when we question our decisions or when we are not sure if we are doing the right thing. My question to all golfers is, “Have you ever intentionally tried to miss a putt?” I hope the answer to this somewhat ridiculous question is a categorical “No!” That being the case, all of the steps you took and all of the decisions you made before hitting the ball were taken and made because you believed they gave you the best opportunity to make a successful putt. If not, why would you have you done them?
With this in mind, do not second-guess the decisions you made in good faith based on the outcome of the putt. Remember the outcome of the putt provides you with more information than you had when you chose how to hit the ball.
Line and Length Of Putt
My suggestion for golfers of all levels is to split the act of putting into two parts—line and length.
Line refers to the path you wish the ball to follow.
Length refers to the speed of the putt or how hard you need to hit the ball to get it to reach the hole.
I think it can be universally agreed that all putts depend on these two factors. We usually experience doubt about one or both of them. So if a golfer can commit fully to each part, he or she can become more comfortable with the whole act of putting.
I suggest all golfers follow the guidelines below, to simplifying their putting and to develop commitment to the putting process:
Mark your ball on the green and look at the putt from all angles to get an understanding of the situation you face…the slope, grain, pitch-marks, potential line, wind, etc.
Imagine the path the ball will have to travel to go into the hole.
Once you have this, replace your ball with a target in mind, perhaps a spot 3 or 4 inches in front of the ball that you need the ball to roll over to follow the correct line to the hole. Use the line or the brand logo on the ball to aim along your target line. This helps you line up your putter head at address.
With the marker still behind the ball, take a step back and look at your line. Is it the line you want to take, and are you aimed correctly? If not, realign the ball and check again. Once you are satisfied, use a positive affirming statement (either in your head or verbalized) such as “yes,” “that’s it” or, my personal favourite, “I’m going to make this!”—and remove your marker.
Trusting you have done everything you could to pick the right line, address the ball and go through your practice strokes in an attempt to judge the appropriate speed. When you are happy and ready to hit the putt, address the ball using your target line and say, “Commit”. All you have to focus on now is striking the ball solid and getting the length (speed) of the putt right. No need to think about the line. You already know the direction you want to hit the ball.
Separating the two parts of the putt will help you stop second-guessing yourself, remove doubt and make you a more committed putter of the golf ball. A more committed golfer is a better golf putter and therefore a more successful golfer!
That’s it for today folks.
Remember, a game of golf is also a social occasion on which you meet and greet your playing partners and golfing friends, so enjoy the occasion, the fresh air and the exercise.