Putt 4 Dough

Drain Putts From All Over The Green

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GATE DRILL

AN OFTEN OVERLOOKED part of putting is how to make solid, center contact with the clubface. Without successfully doing that, it’s hard to know in which direction the ball will travel.

A great drill that’ll help you make solid contact is my gate drill. First, set up to a 10-foot putt, then put two tees in the ground about an inch in front of the heel and toe of your putter, and two tees about an inch behind the putter. What you should see is a small box around the putter like in the above left photo.


Once you’ve set it up, simply swing your putter through the gate without making contact with any of the tees. Continue to do this until you’ve missed the tees on at least a dozen putts. Then remove them and swing freely.

If, as in the photo at right, you hit any of the tees, you’re not hitting the middle of the clubface. Continue to practice from many different distances (so your putter swings back and forth for various lengths) until you consistently don’t hit the tees.

HOW TO CHOOSE A FLATSTICK

There are two types of putters: blades and mallets. Blades travel on more of an arc, mallets go straight back and straight through. (That said, “straight” is relative.)

Of course, the easiest way to know which style is right for you is to visit your local pro shop and test one out. Ultimately, while we suggest getting fit for a putter, a lot more factors should figure in your decision-making process, like “Do I like the way it looks?” and “Do I like the way it feels?”

While advancements in weighting technology, clubhead shape and face texture have spawned modern and unusual shapes, the old classic Anser styles work just as well.

Then there’s actual classics, like the Bulls Eye Corey Pavin uses. Yup, this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup captain still plays with a 1984 Bulls Eye. Hey, at the end of the day, the objective is to get the ball in the hole in the fewest number of strokes. Whatever works!

FULL SWING VS...

IN THE TWO PHOTOS left, I’m addressing and swinging my 7-iron. At left, my posture is picture-perfect for that club. Its sole is flush with the ground, its shaft and my chest form a 90° angle, there’s a slight bend in my knees, my chin is up a bit, and my back is flat but not rigid.

In the next photo, I’ve started to swing the club back, allowing my body to react to me swinging the club. The butt end of the shaft points toward my torso, and the shaft remains on the same angle it had at address. I like what I see—for a full swing—but it’s not the right setup and execution for putting.



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