Putting Mechanic

How to become one

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It's not going to matter how smooth your stroke is, or how well you're matching your stroke to your stance. If you're moving your head all over the place, you're going to knock your stroke off line and miss a lot of putts. For proof, check out some of the best putters on the PGA Tour. Many of them don't just hold their head still, they hold it still until the ball is several feet away. Some even hold their head until the ball stops moving.

A great drill to make sure you don't move your noggin is to take advantage of a sunny day and use your shadow. I like to align myself over a putt (as you see here) and see if my head moves as I rehearse. If it does, it means I'll likely shift from side to side, often with knees or legs as the culprit. Or, I might be tilting away from the ball too much at impact. Either way, this simple drill gets me back on track. Try it; it works.


When it comes to acceleration, it's critical when you hit shots that fly in the air. But with putting, I think acceleration is often misunderstood. One thing I don't want to see from my students is a really short backswing and a fast, long forwardswing, or a long backswing with a short forwardswing with the putter. This type of stroke makes it impossible to have good distance control, and to me, looks and feels unnatural. Instead, I like to see my students have an equal pace, both on the backswing and on the forwardswing with the putter.

If you struggle with a stroke that's long going back and short on the followthrough, try using a tool called the Swinkey (swinkey.com), and place it outside your right foot (left photo). This will physically and instinctually shorten your backstroke as you practice, helping you avoid having too long a backstroke, but still have a free-flowing forwardstroke.
In case you struggle with the opposite problem, try placing the Swinkey in front of you and avoid making contact on your followthrough.

Either way, practice and rehearse your stroke so it has an even, pendulum-like stroke both on the backswing and forwardswing. Both motions should be at the same pace, tempo and rhythm.

Top-25 Instructor Brady Riggs, PGA,
is one of Southern California's most popular golf instructors. For more information, visit bradyriggs.com.


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