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|The short game will account for approximately 65% of your total shots during a round, and your putter will account for 43% of these shots. Simply speaking - if you shoot an 85, then you will use your putter roughly 35 times per round. The putter is the greatest equalizer in this game, so it is important to find a way to use it to your advantage during your matches. There have been countless articles written on the fundamental of putting, but the overall fundamentals remain the same. The following should help you keep these fundamentals at the fore-front of your mind.
|As you approach the green from the fairway, study the lay of the land. Try and read subtle breaks or slopes as they are sometimes difficult to read when standing on them. If possible, approach the green in a direct line by lining yourself up with your ball and the flag as you walk. Studying the green while you walk and then from the fringe will help you learn the breaks.
When "reading" the green, you are actually trying to determine which way the ball will travel if hit straight at the hole. Some questions to ask yourself as you are reading the green, include: Will it veer to the right or left? Will it be rolling downhill or uphill? Is the green wet or dry? These kinds of questions will help you decide how to compensate for any slopes or banks in the terrain.
|If it appears that your ball will veer to the left if hit straight, you may want to aim a little to the right. If the it looks like a downhill putt, don't use as much force as you would for a flat surface putt. Straight shots at the hole are rare, so reading the green continues to be an important aspect of good putting.
While there are no real secrets to reading the green, try lining your ball's name or number with the hole. Then line your putter's sights with this name or number to ensure a straight line with the hole. This will greatly assist you when trying to modify your stroke to compensate for the green's terrain, feel and slope.
|Your stance should normally be the narrowest of any shot that you play (it is recommended that the outside of your feet be no wider than your hips). Your stance should also be taken near enough the ball so that you can produce a stroke which is straight back from, and straight through to the hole for putts of nominal length, while not so close as to have a tendency to force the clubhead to the outside of your target line on the backswing (if you were to drop a ball from the bridge of your nose, you would want it to land on their target line).
The feet should be turned open, closed, or square, relative to how those adjustments affect your swing's path, with the right foot primarily responsible for your ability to follow-through correctly. Most, although not all, good players address the ball so that their weight is balanced slightly toward the inside of their left heel.
It is recommended that you play your ball somewhere between the center of your stance and the left instep. This allows both the path and the clubhead to square up to the target prior to impact, and it allows any approach angle to level out enough to promote a good follow through (sweeping type strokes are probably better positioned left, while a tapping type action might tend to be positioned more toward the center).
Aside from your feet, keep these four set-up fundamentals in mind throughout your stance:
1) Keep the putter face square to target line
2) Keep your eyes over the target line
3) Keep your shoulders square (parallel) to the target line
4) Keep your hands vertically under your shoulders
|Putting grips are as diverse as people themselves, so it is impossible to suggest one type of putting grip. Rule of thumb: Use any grip you like as long as your palms face one another...if they are twisted around on the grip you will have to fight the tendency for one hand to become more dominant than another.
What you want is to lightly "place" your hands on the club in such a way that it's easy for you to swing the clubhead squarely toward the target. For simplicity's sake, try using a very light version of your normal grip, with the exception that the little finger of your right hand be on the club rather than overlapped, or interlocked. Be sure that in closing your fingers you don't force the club into some angle of lie, of loft, other than its designed one.
In regard to grip pressure, don't exert so much pressure that you create tension in the arms and shoulders, and don't hold the putter so lightly that it is loose in your hands. Within this range, your grip pressure can be as firm or light as you prefer. Whatever your grip pressure, keep it constant and uniform throughout the stroke. Any change will distort the putterhead and the path of your stroke.
|The line is the path that the ball must take (with the correct speed) in order to intersect the hole consistently. Remember that the Line and the Speed are factors in and of themselves. Pay attention...your line is relative to your speed! If you have poor speed then your line will be irrelevant. Spend ½ your practice time on the putting green working on line work and the other ½ of the time on finding the speed of the greens you putt.
|Just like with your regular golf swing, a good putting stroke depends on some basic fundamentals. In stroking the ball, the most common swing is a sweeping, pendulum-type motion where the shoulders, arms, and hands move as a unit, but they are not rigid. There will be some natural movement of the arms and hands.
The stroke is made with both hands, neither dominating. The distance the ball rolls is determined by the length of your backswing, i.e. your tempo remains constant. On a short putt, the putterhead swings basically back and through on the target line; as the stroke gets longer, it starts traight back, then gradually swings inside the line making the putterface appear to fan open on the longer strokes. In reality it is remaining square to the arc. Make sure that you don't manipulate this, just let the putter swing.
Your object in all of this is of course to strike the ball with the clubhead so that it rolls surely and truly to the target. This will be best accomplished by accelerating the clubhead through your point of balance (not your hands, elbows, or the grip of the club), and fine tuning the components of your basics until this acceleration occurs down the intended line, with a clubface which is square to it.
1. Steady Eyes for Sure Strokes
When your eyes wander during the downstroke the path and face angle will also wander. Train our eyes to remain steadily focused on the ball until the putterhead is at least one foot past the impact point.
2. Distance, Distance, Distance
Most three putts are caused by poor distance control on the first putt. Even the tour pros miss almost 50% of their putts from six feet. Practice distance control so you do not leave yourself long second putts.
3. Precise Focus for Precise Putts
When reading the green pick precise targets for every putt. Telling yourself the putt is a little bit uphill and breaks a little bit left is a recipe for a tentative stroke and a missed putt. If we expect to roll the ball into a 4.25" hole, the brain needs specific information.
4. Straight Back, Straight Through
If you are having problems with direction control especially on short putts, check your take away. If the putterhead comes inside on the take away you will tend to pus your putts and if you take it outside you will tend to pull our cut putts. Find a straight line or lay down two clubs parallel to each other and practice taking the putter straight back on every putt.
5. Play the Percentages
Putts make up 45% of the shots in the average round of golf. Practice our putting and your scores will start dropping.
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