Putting Mechanic

How to become one

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With the push stroke, you should feel as though the backswing moves inside the target line.

Through the stroke, as you push it down the target line, it's okay for the putter to release down the line.

Once you have your stance figured out, you need to match your stroke to your stance. The pics above show a stance with open feet and ball-forward positioning (identical to the upper right photo on the opposite page). Let's call this a "push stroke." This means, on the backswing, the putter should feel as though it moves inside the target line, and on the forwardswing, it should "push" down the target line. Whether that actually happens or not isn't the point. Allowing the club to move inside on the backswing helps the putterhead swing properly since even with this push stroke, the putterhead should release eventually in the follow through. This type of stroke works best by holding my left wrist flat through the forwardswing, and my whole putter moves to my left side. If I had a glove on my left hand, the velcro on the glove would face the hole at impact and in the followthrough (until the putterhead releases). See how you can barely see the knuckles of my left hand after impact? That's what you want with this stroke.

With an arc stroke, feel as though you're swinging inside the target line on the backswing.

Same goes for the followthrough. Let the club feel as though it arcs back to the inside.

If you prefer to align your body and feet more parallel to the target (below), you should have a stroke that's free to arc a little more. This means, relative to the target, you should feel as though you drag the putter inside the target line on the backstroke, then square at impact, only to close through the followthrough. In the photo below, even after impact, I haven't closed the putter yet. That's okay, and it doesn't mean I'm not arcing. It just means the putter is on a wide arc. Finding how much you like to arc the putt, well, that's a matter of personal preference. However, keep that grip end of the putter pointing at the navel, and both wrists bent when doing this stroke.


How you follow through on your putts can be very telling of how well you just rolled the ball. And thinking of your followthrough and not your stroke can actually help smoothen your stroke out and accelerate better.

If you have a push-style stroke, the correct followthrough is one like you see here. Notice how the butt end of the putter isn't pointing at my navel and the hands are hanging out in front of me with a flat left wrist? This position indicates I've not only swung the putter down the target line, but also prevented overusing my wrists, which is a common problem for this type of stroke. Think of this stroke as more of a pushing of the ball toward the hole with my arms.

With the push stroke, the left elbow should separate from the body in the followthrough.

Keep your left elbow connected with a stroke that arcs more.

The arcing stroke tends to benefit golfers who like to let the weight of the putter swing more. That's not a bad thing, if that's what you're trying to do in the first place. The trick is to match your followthrough to your stroke. In this case, because you're arcing the putter, the butt end of the putter should point at your navel through the stroke and into the finish. This means allowing the wrists to hinge on the backswing and followthrough (as you see here at right). It's not as important for the upper body to get active in the stroke, but if it does, that's okay. The key is to stay centered and don't sway the body away from side to side. Let the putterhead pass you going back and on the followthrough.


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