Are you struggling to turn good ball-striking into a great score? To help improve your game on the greens, here are the 6 Things All Great Putters Do
6 Things All Great Putters Do
1 Consistency at address
Every good putter stands to the ball in the same way, every single time. This is because a good putting stroke needs to repeat and as with the long game, the foundations are established at address. Set your feet shoulder width apart and parallel to your start line, let your arms hang naturally down from your shoulders and place the ball a fraction forward of centre in your stance. Standing the correct distance from the ball will make a huge difference to how well you are aligned. That’s why it is important to practice these pointers and then practice them again so that your eyes are in the same position over the ball every time.
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2 A solid base
One of the 6 things all great putters do is to keep the body extremely still. Your body needs to act like an anchor, providing a strong centre for your arms to swing from. Those players who have a tendency to sway will always struggle with inconsistent strikes and unpredictable distance control. A great way to think of this is to concentrate on keeping your head as still as possible at address. To help, mark a dot on your ball and focus on that. Feel your eyes locking onto that spot and make a normal stroke (keep your head down for a second after you’ve struck the ball). Alternatively, you can try the coin drill. This will really help to keep your head still and maintain a reliable, repeatable stroke.
3 Soft grip pressure
For many golfers, putting is the most tense part of the game. With the results so immediately quantifiable, players often find themselves gripping the putter too tightly in a bid to exert more control over the head. However, a good putting stroke flows. For this, you need a soft grip pressure. No matter which style of grip you chose to adopt (there are a host of different techniques to try), hold the putter with a 3/10 pressure. Not only will this help the putter flow but it will help maximise your natural feel. Try reducing your grip pressure and you should notice an immediate improvement in your distance control.
4 Flow & Release
As we have already mentioned, a good putting stroke needs to flow. In relation to this you will often hear coaches and players talk about ‘releasing’ the putter. This refers to the way the putter moves through impact, rotating so the toe turns towards the target slightly. Of course, the amount of release you have will largely depend on the natural arc of your stroke (explained below in part 5) but it is always worth remembering that the best putters let the blade flow through the ball. If you decelerate into impact, jabbing at the ball you’ll struggle with accuracy and distance control.
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5 Know your stroke
There are three different types of putting stroke – straight, slight arc and strong arc. There is no right and wrong here, as much will depend on your physique and the way you stand to the ball. However, your choice of putter should be dictated by how your stroke works. Certain putters are designed to help those with arcing strokes to square the blade more effectively at impact while those with a straight stroke will benefit from a more face balance model. Matching your putter to your stroke is a must and if you’re unsure, our advice would be to seek out some guidance from a PGA professional.
6 Centre the strike
When making a relatively small stroke, every golfer should be able to strike the ball from the centre of the clubface. However, it is amazing how sloppy many amateur golfers are with their striking. Just as with the other clubs in your bag, off centre contacts will not carry the same speed as centred ones. There is some excellent technology out there to help you on this front, such as PING’s TR grooves, but consistently striking the ball from the middle of the face is certainly one of the 6 things all great putters do. Use a couple of tees to create a gate around your putter head and practice swinging the putter freely through. This will help improve your contacts and ultimately your distance control.
Becoming a good putter requires a deft feel and a solid fundamental technique. Unfortunately, this will require time spent on the practice putting green. However, if you can adopt these 6 things great all putters do, you should be able to accelerate your improvement. Good luck!