Putting: An Ancient Art?
If you ask 20 people how the putter should move back and through the ball, 18 would say “straight back and through.”
Unfortunately, this is incorrect for the majority of golfers. In order for the putter to move straight back and through, the golfer must swing the putter on a plane which is absolutely vertical or perpendicular to the ground.
To do this the pivot point of the stroke must be exactly above the ball/target line. Most golfers cannot do this and their putting plane is at an angle which lies between horizontal and vertical.
Therefore, the perfect putting path would not be “straight back and straight through.” Instead, it would travel back and through on an arc.
For every foot the putter head moves from the ball, the putter head itself should move inside from 1/8 to 3/4 of an inch, depending on the set-up measurements of the golfer. The sweet spot of the putter head is then capable of staying in perfect relationship to the correct quadrant of the ball.
The Putting Arc will enable you to create a pure putting stroke in which the putter head moves back (and slightly upward and inward at the same time) while the face of the putter stays square to the “putter path.” instead of the target line. This enables the proper closure on the ball and the proper release of the putter head. The Putting Arc is available at the Eagle-Vail golf shop.
Fundamentals of putting
Relax hands, forearms, and shoulders. Good putting requires feel and delicate touch. If your hands are too stiff from gripping the putter too tightly, it will restrict the free movement of the putter head and take away your feel. Hold the putter soft yet but firm, so you can feel the putter head swing freely. Then go through this checklist:
n Eyes are directly over the ball.
n Accelerate through the ball. This will promote solid and consistent contact.
n A firm left wrist (for righties) through the stroke. When the leading wrist breaks down, it causes the putter head to twist.
Pick a spot in the back of the hole and aim for that spot. This will help you stroke the ball firmly. Another advantage of a firmly struck putt is that you can play little or no break in the putt.
The most important element in long putts is speed. But often, this is the most overlooked aspect of putting. For most golfer, two-putts of 25 feet or more is a welcome event. So give yourself a nice big target. Visualize the hole being three feet in diameter, five-feet deep and glowing bright red, giving you a nice large target. This will help you to relax and bring feel into your hands. Finally, try to rid yourself of any mechanical thoughts and just visualize the hole and stroke the putt.
Mark Mobley is the assistant PGA pro at Eagle-Vail. He can be reached at (970) 949-5267.