Tips From The Tour

Improve your game by learning from the pros

Learn To Release The Putter
Putter release actually is a simple concept that entails keeping the butt end of the club pointed at a fixed point throughout the stroke. This is an important fundamental of putting as it allows the putterhead to swing on-plane while the putterface rotates naturally during the stroke. In a conventional stroke (above), the end of the grip always should be pointing at the navel. This is achieved by maintaining the bend in both elbows and wrists from address to finish. The putting strokes of Kevin Sutherland (right) and Carl Petterson (far right) follow the same principles, with slight differences. The belly putter is literally attached to the navel during the stroke. This makes it easy to release the putterhead and is a great practice tool if you want to continue putting conventionally. The long putter is also fixed at its end, but against the sternum instead of the belly. The putterhead releases easily with this method as well. Remember that the key for any type of putter is to keep the butt end pointed at a fixed spot, and you should be able to release freely.

A belly putter can be a great help for those players who struggle to properly release the putterhead (middle). Once you understand how it works, a long putter can make shorter-length putts almost automatic (right).

tour tipsFrom The Ground Up And Back
In the game of golf, power means very little without consistency. To produce a reliable combination of both, the body must lead the motion on the downswing, and that motion must begin with the feet. At the top of the backswing, the weight should be in the right heel and ball of the left foot. Tour players move aggressively toward their front foot (without spinning) to begin the downswing. This keeps the club attacking on the proper angle and makes it possible to snap the clubhead into the ball through use of the body’s pivot. Here, Brandt Snedeker is poised for a dynamic impact position (right). His hips are slightly open, his weight is moving out of the front of his left foot back toward his heel, and his right foot is beginning to come off the ground. Like most athletic movements, the swing is largely dependent on good footwork, and Snedeker knows how to make the most of it.

Down And Out
This is a great drill to feel the proper sequence on the downswing. To begin, hold a medicine ball (or soccer ball) with both hands and begin your downswing with your feet and legs driving the movement of your arms. As you approach the bottom of the swing, throw the ball “down and out” and into the ground. Since the ball is relatively heavy, you should really feel the need to heave it with the muscles in your core rather than your arms and hands. This will give you the feel of the proper sequence of movements starting the downswing and produce the snap needed for power and consistency. If you want a great example of proper sequence from the top, take a good look at Steve Flesch (right). Pay particular attention to how his knees have remained flexed while he shifts his weight toward the target. This allows his hips to rotate slightly and sets up a powerful position to deliver the club “down and out” into impact. There’s no upper-body thrust in this move, and there shouldn’t be in yours either.

Want to learn the proper downswing sequence? Try practicing like the pros, with a medicine ball (left). Notice how Steve Flesch goes from a perfectly balanced position at the top of the swing to a truly outstanding spot in the transition. His knees remain flexed and his weight is shifted toward the target as it should (right).


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