Do you ever wonder why you see Jordan Spieth looking up at the hole while he putts rather than looking down at the ball? This technique will help with speed control with your putts.
The premise of this drill comes from our basic hand eye coordination of tossing or rolling a ball (Photo 1). Your eyes will figure out what arm swing is necessary to roll a golf ball that particular distance. I usually check on the actual technique of tossing a ball which involves an even arm swing with very light and constant pressure holding the ball. The exact same mechanics are relevant to a good putting stroke (Photos 2-4)
Take your normal putting stance and set-up, then instead of looking down at the ball, look at the hole and pretend the ball is in your tossing hand and try to feel the same tossing motion you used to toss the ball to the hole, to roll the ball to the hole with your putter (as I’m doing in Photos 5 and 6).
It will take a few attempts to get used to the feel and also the fear of not looking at the ball. The hand-eye coordination we talk about is not used to hit the ball because you don’t need hand-eye coordination to make contact, as this ball is NOT moving! Your eyes are focused on your target, like throwing darts, pitching a baseball, or shooting a free throw. Your arms and hands are coordinating with what your eyes are seeing to figure the right amount energy needed to get your object to your target. In this case it is the right arm swing with constant hand pressure to roll the golf ball to a particular distance.
Once you have rolled a few close to the hole and have a feel for the speed of the green, look back down at the ball or even close your eyes and see if you can do it by feel. The main idea for this drill — and now technique, thanks to Jordan Spieth — is to take your mind off mechanics and turn your attention to feel for distance and target. Practice putts from 20 feet and farther and start “getting in touch with your feelings.”
Randy Chang is Director of Instruction Journey Golf Academy at Pechanga in Temecula, California, and Aloha Academy of Golf at Talega Golf Course in San Clemente, California. Reach him at www.randychangpga.com