One of the more common putting mistakes I see from my students is a lack of acceleration through the ball. When this happens, it's likely the hands, wrists, even the puttershaft, have lost positioning through the putting stroke, causing a lot of missed putts. Also, if you let up, decelerate or even stop at the ball (I've seen that, too!), you're probably not making as many putts as you could had you accelerated through the stroke.
To help correct these problems, here's a simple drill. Set up your putting practice station about three feet away from the hole. From here, go through your entire putting routine and get ready to make a stroke. Only now, instead of making a backstroke, then a forwardstroke, I want you to eliminate the backstroke entirely. Use a forwardstroke only and push the ball into the hole.1 Notice the "Y" formed by my forearms and the putter. I should hold that "Y" all through the putting stroke. 2 Because I have no backstroke, I'm forced to accelerate through the golf ball. 3 I've pushed the ball, but the putter is still moving toward the target. This proves I didn't decel during the stroke. 4 The "Y" is still present and I've made a good forwardstroke through the golf ball.
This exercise teaches you how to follow through and allows you to feel how the shoulders, ribs, arms and golf club maintain a consistent "Y" when swinging the putter. When pushing the ball to the target, you'll notice whether the wrists break down due to the arms, ribs or shoulders stopping. If you break down, you'll probably miss. But if you hold your "Y" and accelerate, you'll start sinking those three-footers. Also, you should notice the target shoulder coming up as the arms push the putter through to the target. This is what you want.
Susie Corona, LPGA, is the director of instruction at Terravita Golf and Country Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.BALL OF STEEL
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