Different Strokes

Find the right stroke for you

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The arcing stroke, where the putterface opens and closes relative to the target line functions like a mini

golf swing. The key is to remember that while the putter may seem to open and close relative to the target, the putterface is remaining square to the arc of the stroke. Try it if you want a more fluid-feeling stroke.
A popular stroke style lately is the arc-to-straight stroke. This method allows the freedom to swing the putter around on the backswing and be able to keep the clubface going toward the target longer on the forwardswing. Try this stroke if you want more feel and better directional control with your stroke.


A BALANCED STROKE (pendulum) has equal speed and distance on the backswing and forwardswing. This method is usually preferred by golfers who putt more with a rocking motion using the shoulders and little wrist action. In addition, this stroke is useful for golfers who prefer the straight-back and straight-through approach. Just remember, there's no true straight-back and through stroke. You'll always swing on a slight arc because you stand to the side of the ball.


A POP STROKE has a longer backswing and a shorter followthrough. No, that doesn't mean decelerating on the forwardswing; rather the putter comes to a quick stop after impact. I've seen this stroke used on slow greens successfully, and from golfers who prefer a firmer grip.

If this suits you, consider using it more on longer putts; and on shorter putts, loosen up a little more on the followthrough. You'll have a better chance of controlling your distances and avoiding overpowering your short putts.


The ACCELERATOR stroke has a short backstroke and a longer followthrough. It's a stroke I've seen on Tour, since it favors golfers who play on fast greens. The short backstroke helps golfers hit more putts more solidly, making it a viable choice to keep the putter online. Hence, more short putts are made. For longer putts, it may be tricky to judge distances, but again, it's up to the golfer. In any case, all three strokes are worth considering the next time you struggle with your putting. There's no one right way to do it, as long as you're making the most of your putting opportunities.

Rick Sessinghaus, PGA, teaches at Chevy Chase Country Club in Glendale, Calif. For more information, visit ricksessinghaus.com.


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