How often do you three or four putt a green during your round of golf?
If your answer is more than occasionally, it can add dramatically to your overall score. I would like to provide you with some information and fundamentals that will help.
Controlling the distance you roll the ball is the most important aspect of putting. Here is an example of direction versus distance. I am putting 30 feet away from the hole with two golf balls. My first ball I roll on a line two inches from the hole, but the distance went 10 feet by the hole. With my second ball, I rolled it on a line two feet from the hole, but the distance the ball rolled was only two feet past the hole. It is easy to choose which putt you would rather be faced with for your second putt.
Develop a consistent pace to your stroke so you can control your distance by the length of the stroke. Try to imitate the stroke of players such as Ben Crenshaw or Ernie Els. They both have a beautiful pace to their putting stroke.
Position your body in a posture so your arms are hanging relaxed under your shoulders and your eyes are directly over the ball. You can check to see if your eyes are over the ball by simply holding the end of the putter grip between your thumb and index finger between your eyes. Then look to see if the putter head is over the ball. From this position you will be able to see the line of the putt. During the stroke keep your head and posture steady.
The putting stroke is an arm and shoulder motion. I try to visualize a triangle between my arms and shoulders and on the backstroke of a right handed player the left shoulder drops as the right shoulder raises and on the forward stroke just the opposite. The only part of the body moving is the triangle.
If you are having trouble with your direction on short putts I would recommend laying two golf clubs down parallel to the line of the putt just wide enough to give your putter head about one half inch space from the shafts. Practice putting from within the track you have formed and this will help to make sure the putter is traveling on the correct path.
Be realistic with your expectations on making putts. Tour players from 10 feet from the hole, on average, make only 30 percent of putts from this length. This will give you and I something to measure our putting on.
BRIAN ERICKSON, the PGA professional at the Legacy Courses at Cragun's, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 825-2733.
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