If you want to become a better putter, you have to learn to stabilize the lower body as much as possible. All great putters have a rock-steady lower half and swing the putter from above the waist. Now, deciding whether you're a hands-driven putter or a shoulder-driven putter (or both!) is a matter of personal style, but one thing is for sure: No matter how you choose to swing with the upper body, the lower body must stay as still as possible. If it doesn't, you'll have a lot of inconsistencies in your putting.
To keep the lower body stable, good putters employ a lot of methods for staying steady. Players like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer would lock their knees together, while others like Tiger Woods use a shoulder-driven stroke that displaces movement as far from the legs as possible. I'm willing to bet some of you move your lower body during your putting stroke and you don't even know it. Luckily, I have a drill that can help you. Here's how it works.
Grab your putter and take your putting stance, only rest your putter on your thigh (as I've done here). From that position, allow your arms to hang freely and start a rocking motion with your arms as you would if you were holding your putter. Sometimes this drill is more effective if you close your eyes, so feel free if you want to. If you're making arm swings without moving your lower body, the putter will stay rested against your thigh. If your lower body is swaying, turning, raising or lowering, you'll either see the putter move or the putter will fall off your leg completely. If it does, then you know you need to practice keeping your lower body still.
Don't hesitate to keep your lower body still by any means necessary. Once you manage to stabilize your legs, you'll see that it's a lot easier to keep the putter on-line in addition to making an accelerating stroke through the ball—two must-dos for consistent putting. You'll find this drill to be a big help, especially on those testy short putts!
A 15-year veteran of the LPGA Tour, Pam Wright teaches at We-Ko-Pa GC in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information, visit Pam's Website, www.pamwrightgolf.com.