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GOLF ARTICLES - APRIL '07

GOLF ARTICLES ARCHIVE>>>APRIL ARTICLES INDEX

Put The Feel Back In Your Putting

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Putting is many things. It is speed. It is touch. It is concentration. It is reading the line. But most of all, it is confidence. You can't putt consistently well without having an innate trust in your ability and method. So how do we build that inner confidence? First, you need a sound technique. You must adhere to certain fundamentals in order to build a repeating golf putting stroke. Once you have a good golf putting stroke, you can work out the finer details. Never become so mechanical that you become more like a putting robot. Instead, good feel of both pace and line are more important.

Stand so you can see the line

Some people advocate a closed or open stance when addressing the golf ball, but a square stance offers the best view of the line on any putt. When changing your stance, be careful - any alteration can set off a chain reaction. If your feet change position, your head and, more importantly, your eyes will also move in relation to the ball. Your whole perception of the line is changed. Whatever stance you prefer, always make sure that your eyes are directly over the golf ball. You must be able to turn your head and looking at the hole, make a stroke with the golf putter straight down your intended line to the hole.

Apply the same pressure with both hands

A good thought would be to think of your hands working as a single unit during the golf putting stroke. That is much easier to achieve if the pressure exerted by each hand is the same. If you are gripping with one hand more firmly than the other, the putter will tend to drift off line as your arms work separately rather then together. An excessively tight grip causes tension to creep up your arms into your shoulders preventing a smooth, flowing golf stroke.

Takeaway - Free the wrists

Many golf professionals teach that the wrists should play no part in the golf putting stroke. It's true that too much wrist break can be a real problem, but some relaxation in the wrists can be helpful, especially on longer putts. With overly stiff wrists, you start to putt more with your forearms, thereby eliminating any feel for pace. This becomes very mechanical and with no feedback from your hands, you can't "feel" how the golf ball will react off the face of the golf putter. And you start guessing how far the golf ball will roll. Certainly the wrists should not be floppy through impact, only that they should return to square. In other words, allow yourself a little wrist break on the way back, then return to your address position, and no farther, at impact. If the left wrist does break past square at impact, consistency is practically impossible.

Let your posture dictate the shape of your stroke

If you have a very upright stance when you address the ball, your golf stroke will follow more of a straight line back and through. The farther away from the golf ball you stand, the greater will be your tendency to swing inside, back to square, then inside again.

Keep body still; let length of swing dictate tempo

Too short a backswing means you have to rush the club through impact, while too long a swing means you will have to decelerate. Both are disastrous to good putting. You must have a smooth acceleration through the golf ball to be consistently successful. If you can make your backswing and follow-through the same length, you will develop the smoothness you need. Once you have that smooth picture in mind, you know the line and the speed of the putt, good putting is all about working through your normal preshot routine. Whatever that routine may be, do the same thing every time - without fail. Decide on the line and go for it. More putts are missed through indecision than bad green reading. One more thought you should have - too many moving parts are disastrous to a good putting stoke. When you move your head, shoulders or any other body part not part of the swing, you change the angle at which the golf putter will strike the ball and hitting the ball on-line is improbable.

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