Putting with feel


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Putting with feel

  1. 1. XXX / G O LF D I G E S T. C O M / m o n th 2 0 1 1 P H OTO i l l u s t r at i o n s B Y / jim luft
  2. 2. b r ea k i n g 100/90/80s putting with feeL BY ToDD SOnes / with Matthew rudy o much of putting instruction is focused on how the putter is moving throughout the stroke, how the putterface is aligned, or what the best puttersdo. With all of that information, it’s easy to get what I call too “putterhead conscious.” You’llputt best when you forget about stroke mechanics and focus on reading break and rolling theball on line. (Hint: Read breaking putts looking down the putt’s starting line, above, not on a sones operates the Todd Sones Impact Golf Academy at White Deer Run Golf Club, Vernon Hills, Ill., and owns Coutour Golf.straight line to the hole.) The advice on the next few pages will get you set up, then help youconcentrate on the feel elements—the speed and the line—that are so crucial to putting well. ∂P H OTO G RA P H S B Y / Dom furore march 2012 / G O LF D I G E S T. C O M / 127
  3. 3. breaking 1 2 3 100 T the grip he first goal in open and closed during the Stand with your hands at your set your putting is to roll the ball stroke, but that’s a tough thing sides (1), then extend your arms hands straight off the face; in other for average players to regulate. and rotate your elbows inward neutral words, to hit the ball with the Instead, try to keep the face as so your palms are facing (2). Clap face square. You do that by square as you can throughout them together in front of you. If using a grip that doesn’t fight the stroke. The best way to do you grip the club like that, with it itself. You might hear teachers that is to match your hands so running through your palms (3), talk about the face swinging they face each other on the grip. you’ll control the face better.Posture statfactsconsistencycomes from On average, players shoot-stability ing about 100 face 13 putts per round from three feet orW hen you set up with a neutral grip, yourforearms line up with the shaft closer. They’ll miss three or four of them. Keep track of your makes and misses from(right). Then, it’s a simple mat- short range, and be sure you’re giving these putts the atten-ter of tilting at the hips to get tion they deserve.down to the ball—assuming peter sanders / shotbyshot.comyour putter is the right length. Start with a putter fitting toget your arms and the putterworking as one unit, withoutextra motion. A putter that’sthe right length will help youdo that. Then you can focus onfeeling the putterhead swing.Any instability at setup createstension and destroys tempo.128 / G O LF D I G E S T. C O M / march 2012 P H OTO i l l u s t r at i o n s B Y / jim luft
  4. 4. pre-PUTT a good setup WILL free your stroke I t sounds a bit strange to say you need to work on a specific position so that you can be less mechanical, but it’s really true about the setup. With a good setup, you don’t have to manipulate your stroke. statfacts Here are a few keys. Your feet can be slightly open or closed to Players who shoot in the 90s three-putt about twice a round. the target line, but your shoul- Thirty percent of those three- ders should be square. Your eyes putts come from within 30 should be over the inside edge of feet, which in my stats-analysis the ball, and your hands under program is considered an error. your shoulders. Set your hips The quickest way to lower your scores is to target errors over your heels (right) and your that immediately cost you a weight on the balls of your feet, stroke—like three-putting. with some knee flex. Remember, peter sanders / shotbyshot.com balance relieves tension.breaking 90 Y the stroke ou hear the putting and letting the putterhead fall decrease your stroke size and let the stroke referred to as a from its own weight through let the head just swing. Feel the putter fall “pendulum,” but what does impact (above). weight in the head—getting the to the ball that really mean? It means Instead of using the same right swingweight helps—and learning how far back you have backstroke for every putt and you’ll develop a good sense for to swing to putt a given dis- then speeding up or slowing distance. Make sure you don’t tance, then relaxing your arms down to hit the ball, increase or have a “signature backstroke.” march 2012 / G O LF D I G E S T. C O M / 129
  5. 5. ➞ FOR OUR VIDEO-LESSON LIBRARY, bre aking TIP CLICK GOLFDIGEST.COM/GO/TIPSPLUS 80the breaklook at theputt, notjust a spotM ost players aim the putter by picking a spotby the hole that representsthe amount of break. This is arecipe for under-reading putts.Why? Because at address youcan’t see the putterface andthat spot without turning yourhead. When you look up at thespot, your brain sees the hole,and you tend to inch your aimin that direction. Then the puttmisses below the hole, and yournext impulse is to start hittingthe ball harder to take out someof the curve. All of a suddenyou’ve got six-footers comingback, the last thing you want. It’s a good idea to surveythe break near the hole, as I’mdoing here, but when you comeback to the ball, look at thewhole putt. When in doubt,play more break to avoid miss-ing on the low side. the line statfacts reduce your focus to Players who average in the six inches mid-80s make about half of the putts they face from six W hen you bowl, you don’t aim at the pins; you aim at one of those dia- feet. (PGA Tour players make 70 percent.) Percentages drop off sharply at seven feet and monds on the lane in front of beyond, so don’t beat yourself up every time you miss a putt you. Putting is the same. During of less than 10 feet. your pre-putt routine, visual- peter sanders / shotbyshot.com ize the line from start to finish. Then pick a spot on that line six inches in front of the ball (left). When you set up, forget about the hole and focus on aiming the putterface to that spot. So the sequence is like this: Find the line and commit to it, using the intermediate spot. Then turn your attention back to the hole and to rolling the ball the correct distance.130 / G O LF D I G E S T. C O M / march 2012
  6. 6. P H OTO G RA P H S B Y / NAME HERE m o n th 2 0 1 0 / G O LF D I G E S T. C O M / XX