Yes You Can
The title of this presentation is pretty strong. But
it’s true! A few gifted golfers will be able to use this information and
actually have a better putting game than some tour pros. Unbelievable?
It’s true because many professional players rely on a lot of practice and
natural talent. They violate fundamental rules in favor of comfort, habit
and misinformation just like you do.
By becoming fundamentally sound and by using
correct strategies for the different kinds of putts you will face and
if you learn how to correctly practice, you might actually develop
professional skill. That’s a lot of ands, ifs and here’s two big buts …
first, you will have to practice a whole lot and second, you will need that
natural talent thing.
For the rest of us mortals, yes we can expect
to improve and to obtain a very satisfactory level of skill. There will be
many more days when we are “on” and putting “lights out”. Perhaps more
importantly, there will be far fewer, maybe even no days when we hack up
Concepts and Considerations
To be a good
putter, you must do three things …
Consistent … be able to do the same thing the same way every time … be
able to execute a straight 10’ putt
Use a pre-putt
routine to call up you best effort every time and apply the correct
Begin with an
The hole is bigger
than it looks (A) … three balls struck at the correct speed will drop …
you don’t need a perfect stroke to get the ball in the hole
See a path (B), not a
line (C) … visualize a 2” wide yellow ribbon leading to the hole …
Putt using your
instinct … feel the perfect putt you have learn how to make
Believe the ball will
go in the hole!
are straight putts … you don’t try to hook or slice a putt into the
hole. Your first learning task is to master the skill of hitting a
fundamentally sound, mechanically repeatable, straight 10’ foot putt.
From this basic skill, other skills (reading breaks, controlling speed)
are added like ornaments to a Christmas tree
are speed putts … there are more ways to miss a putt because of speed
than there are ways to miss because of direction …speed is the ONLY
factor you have control over. Like the last thing that passed through
the bug’s mind when it hit the windshield, how hard is the last thing
that should go through your mind before you strike the ball. If your
mind is anywhere else, then you are WRONG! Remember … Speed Kills!
break downhill … putts will NEVER break uphill! Putts will continue
to break downhill until the law of gravity is rescinded. Find downhill
and the difference in elevation and you are on track to reading the
green. Grain in the grass DOES NOT cause a putt to break … it causes a
putt to speed up or to slow down … fast putts break more than slow
perfect putts don’t fall and sometimes bad putts do fall … a player
with a positive mental attitude will make more than his fair share of
both … the reason this works is because:
Confidence relaxes your muscles and relaxed muscles work more
efficiently than tense muscles
muscles allow you to have more “feel” than tense muscles
“pure physics” point of view, putter path and putter face angle are
equal in importance …
bio-mechanical point of view, they are not even close to being equal …
path errors are generally forgiven; 90% of path errors DO NOT affect
face direction is mandatory; 90% of a face angle problem DOES affect
mechanically more difficult to make a path error than it is to “flinch”
and make a face error!
Some players have been lead to believe that effective
putting is wide open to individual techniques and unsound fundamentals.
WRONG, dead solid wrong! Putting is subject to the same laws of physics
and fundamentals as a 300 yard drive … the size of a mistake is just a lot
There is a RIGHT WAY to putt!
putting is both a science (first) … sound mechanical fundamentals and
the application of correct strategic rules and an art (second) …
reading breaks and speed control
How Putting Can Be Learned Faster and Better
the mechanical consistency of your stroke on a consistent putting
surface … indoors on a smooth piece of carpet or putting mat. You must
be able to differentiate between an error caused by poor stroke
mechanics and a miss caused by an irregular putting surface … was it me
or was it the green?
Tips on How Putting Can Be Learned Faster
Mechanical consistency is learned on a consistent putting surface by
and the ability to “read” greens is learned by using a variety of
surfaces and conditions. Apply the law of variability to develop the
strategic skills needed to be a good putter. When learning touch,
NEVER hit the same putt twice!
Checkpoints of a Mechanically Sound Putting Stroke
putter head swings straight back and straight through, along an
imaginary path (the 2” yellow ribbon) throughout the full length of the
stroke … on longer, lag putts the putter head will begin to follow a
slightly, natural inside to square to inside path
putter face must be perfectly square to the intended target path at
THE KEY to good putting … make an
accelerating stroke into and through the back of the ball!
the ball, head absolutely still …this anchors the stroke and corrects
for any cross-eye visual dominance
inside the target path can cause pulled putts … eyes outside the path
(nobody does this) can cause pushed putts
Performance Technique: Visualize a plumb line hanging from the bridge
of your nose to a point over the ball
(hang and dangle) Your Hands Under Your Shoulders to promote a very
consistent, straight back and through stroke path
correct posture requires a correctly fitted putter
Common Pre-Putt Set-up Errors
inside the shoulder line causes pushed putts … hands outside the
shoulder line (very common error) causes pulled
bending of the elbows causes “wristy” hand action rather than the
desired shoulder and arm stroke
Performance Technique: Visualize a necktie acting as
a plumb line from the front of your shoulder joints to the thumb of your
to Work For You
of a Mechanically Sound Putting Stroke
Shoulder and Arm Stroke
wrists are firm, not “flippy”
elbows maintain their “bend” through out the stroke
are soft to promote maximum “feel”
Wrists/Hands Free Stroke Motion
Move the handle of the putter.
With the elbows flexed, it is easy to “lock” them in place while pushing the
club back with the left forearm. The forward stroke is the same. Push the
handle forward with the right forearm. Think of the forearms as your
“thumbones”. The thumb bone begins at the tip of the thumbnail and extends up
to the elbow. The radius bone in your forearm, your thumb bone and the shaft
become one solid object and moves as one unit. The same goes for the right
shaft, thumb and forearm. The stroke becomes a push back and strike through,
integrated movement. There is zero possibility of any wristiness in the stroke
Slow and Go
The forward stroke must be an
accelerating strike into the back of the ball. Such a movement can be observed
when the forward stroke is both longer in distance and shorter in time. The
backstroke will be about 1/3rd the length of the forward stroke. The
entire length of the forward stroke will take the same time for the backstroke.
The “and” part or transition between the backstroke and fore stroke is NOT a
deliberate stop, just a soft, unhurried change of direction as the right hand
takes over. Left pushes back, right strikes through.
The act of striking the back of the
ball with an accelerating stroke CAUSES the putter face to stay square to the
About Making a Perfect Stroke
Practice time is precious.
You do not need to practice with the tail wagging the dog! You do not have
to make a perfect putting stroke to get the ball into the hole. About 85%
of where a putt goes is related to where the putter was facing at impact.
Only about 15% of where a put goes is related to stroke path. Go to any
putting green and watch how many players are practicing their stroke rather than
striking the ball squarely. This is bassackwards from what you need to be
doing! The major goal of your physical practice should be dedicated to
striking the ball with the putterface aimed at your intended target path.
How the putter gets to the ball is far less important than facing the putter to
This does not mean stroke mechanics
are unimportant. They do have a significant affect on where the putt goes.
The proper place to practice is at home and on the putting green at your course.