The Putt

By: 
Ryan
Date: 
02/08/2010
PutterLkngDwnShaft

Putters vary widely, some are short others long. Some have straight shafts others do not.

Drive for show; putt for dough!  Does one really need instruction to putt?  Empathically yes. Putting is very personal, but should be mechanically correct following scientific principles.

There are some strong recommendations:

1. Be fitted for the proper length and weight. Since putting is partially  mental, personalize that information by choosing a putter head design with grip color and style you love. (Some say you should even sleep with your putter to make it yours.) The grips with a flat side are very practical to keep your thumbs in the correct position.

2.  Practice with lines, boards, tape, multiple balls, and various conditions.

3. Stick with some fundamentals:  stance should be shoulder length, feet pointing straight ahead or your forward foot slightly turned left. Placement of the ball is in the center or slightly to the left of center.  Weight should be slightly toward the hole.   Posture is important to replicate for each putt.  Knees bent with your body bent at the waist, shoulders even and both arms inward, with elbows bent.  Do not hunch.

There are many recognized correct grips, but the reverse overlap grip is my recommendation.  If right handed, the index finger of the left hand either overlaps the little finger of the right hand or extends down overlapping more fingers. Thumbs point straight down the shaft.

The newer grips with the flat front are recommended, since proper finger aliening is increased. Feel with the fingers, not the palms.  The right elbow should be resting on the right hip. Soft hands are needed to direct the ball with the correct speed and directionAim. Swing with a rhythm. Relax. Breathe or hold your breath.

Move your even clubface 3 inches back and 6 inches forward in a naturally slightly curved formation going in on the backstroke and in on the follow through. Then again, some instructors believe one should putt totally in a straight line. Your practice will indicate which path is more successful for you.

PutterHead

Club heads also vary greatly. Some are large others small.

Putt, do not jab or tab. Remove your glove for more feel and control. With firm wrists, keep the club head moving down your lie. Common mistakes include not having the blade even with the ground and gripping the club too tightly.

How can one relax? Shake out the tension in your hands and then regrip. Some golfers have experienced great results with the belly putter.  That is a topic for another time.

Reading the green is key.  Some professionals walk around the entire green, noticing the ups and downs of the slopes and the way the blades of grass are cut, while non-pros usually approach the back of the ball, taking in the conditions of the green, including slopes and hardness of the ground.  This is fine.

Keeping pace on the course is of utmost importance.  Do not analyze the pollen count, the velocity of the wind, the pull of the moon. Be courteous, keep moving. Do not have a long drawn out putting routine. Visualize and stroke within 15 seconds.  Do not freeze or think too much.  Be aggressive; aim 2 inches to 1 foot behind the hole.

Do not bet. If your home is not on the line, go ahead and putt.  Golf is a game, a sport, a lifestyle, NOT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT. NO WAGERS. MOVE ALONG.  KEEP PACE.   Each foursome has only 13 minutes to play each hole.  Plan ahead.  You personally cannot take 2 or 3 minutes to analyze each putt when it is your turn.

Practice against a 2X4 board with tape indicating 3 inches back and 6 inches forward.  On the practice green, line 10 balls side by side.  Concentrate; relax while putting them. Say “back and through,” with an even rhythm. Then line them up in a column.  Concentrate on feeling your backstroke and avoid finger pressure while putting.

Have confidence; visualize. Be the ball. Remember golf is a mental game too; just do not go mental.

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