2008-03-28 / Sports

Golf Instruction - The Methods Of Putting

By Joel Garyn

(Garyn is a USGFT golf professional. You can contact him for lessons at 347- 404-3751.)

Approximately 40 percent of all the shots played during a round of golf are putts. Therefore, adequate time should be spent learning the fundamentals of putting. The putting stroke is the most accurate shot because it is the simplest of all the shots.

The putting stroke is used primarily when you are on the putting green. If you are on the fringe or close to the green, and the area between the ball and the green is smooth, then you may also want to putt the ball. If the area is not smooth then you should use a chip or pitch shot.

Methods of Putting

The two different methods of putting produce a simple pendulum-like motion. The traditional putting stroke is the most common method of putting. The other method is called side-saddle putting, which is popular because it minimizes back stress. I recommend the traditional method (pendulum) for the consistency of distance and direction.

The Setup

Hold the club in your palms with the thumbs on both hands extended straight down on the grip. The back of your left hand faces the hole. The palm of your right hand faces the hole. Bend from your hips. Your arms should hang directly under your shoulders.

Position your shoulders so that they are parallel to the target line. Your eyes should be over the ball. Before you stroke the ball, relax your shoulders, arms and hands.

The Stroke

Your arms and shoulders move as one unit like a pendulum. The putter moves straight back and straight through. The putter stays close to the ground. Your wrists should not bend, they should remain firm. Your Head and Body Stay Very Still

The movement of the putter head should remain consistent. A common error is the overuse of hands and wrist when putting. Your shoulders, arms and hands should all move together as one unit.

To achieve this, you should feel as if the putting stroke is controlled with your shoulders and arms and not your hands and wrists.

You should always follow through at least the same distance as your backswing. The length of your backswing will determine the distance the ball will travel.

Play the ball slightly forward of center with the putter head directly below your nose.

The Right Putter For You

Your putter is too short if you have zero elbow bend. Your putter is too long if your arms are jammed into your sides at address.

Your putter is just right if your arms hang under your shoulders and when you grip the top of the handle.

Next week, we will discuss putting with confidence and how to putt under pressure. We will also discuss short putts, mid-range putts, longer putts and minimize 3 putting.

We will be spending the next few articles on many different topics related to putting, reading green, visualization, putter, sweet spot, etiquette and other topics. If you have any questions, please e-mail me at itchgolf@aol.com or call. Have a great week and take care.

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