PGA Head Golf Professional and Director of Instruction,
Twin Oaks Golf Course,
San Marcos, California
This article is part of a series which demonstrate a simple method to develop a repeating golf swing and it all begins on the putting green!
Putting can be one of the most confusing or one of the simplest part of a person's golf game. The putt is a mini swing and includes fundamentals and basics which should carry through to the full swing.
You should evaluate your putting stroke by how solidly you strike the ball and how true the ball is rolling. When you do this then you are in the proper frame of mind to improve. If you just count putts or count three putts, you may well have the wrong perspective.
The fundamentals all good putters strive is for consistent solidly struck putts which come off a square clubface, accompanied by good rhythm. This lesson will show you how to get yourself on such a path!
When you observe great ball strikers, notice how well they always set up to the ball. This is critical in putting. You must have a good setup to strike the ball well.
Hang your hands down from your body naturally. Do not have your hands too close to your body: (this is comfortable but wrong.) This position causes you generally to take the putter outside the line on your backstroke, and then requires you to loop it back in somewhere before impact to make a solid putt. Most of the time this type of player pulls his putts and doesn't make solid contact.
Other players have their hands too far from their body (this is best if any error is to be made) which results in taking the putter inside the intended line causing a pushed putt or some wristy motion through the stroke to "hook" the putt back to the hole.
To check your position set up normally then let go of the putter and let your arms fall. They should be basically in the same position as when you started. Looking into a mirror sideways will verify the proper position.
Once your hands and arms are in the proper position check the path of your stroke. Place an iron club on the ground and hover your putter over the top of it. Now go back and forth as is you are stroking a putt. Is the putter going inside and or outside the shaft at any time during the stroke? If so continue until you consistently can keep the putter on line. You can do this with any line on the ground or floor such as in tile at home, a decorative line in the carpet or up close to a wall. If you practice this exercise a few minutes daily you can improve your stroke immensely, and never leave your office. Your eyes may deceive, but a straight line speaks clearly for your path and alignment.
A few minutes daily with this drill-and your stroke will improve beyond your hopes! The ball will roll truer and fall in with regularity. It truly can be that simple. You addiitonally will have a foundation for two of the golf swing fundamentals-alignment and path.
Rick Danruther teaches with Bruce Baird's California Golf Schools and offers private clinics. For comments or information email Bruce Baird at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his site at www.weteachgolf.com.