Do you believe that amateur golfers (including of course you) can build a 'perfect putting stroke'? As an advanced PGA golf professional who has been coaching amateur golfers for many years, I strongly believe amateur golfers can build a putting stroke that is as close to perfect as many of the top golf professionals.
What does it take to build the perfect putting stroke?
- Good instruction! That is where I can help of course.
- Good feedback when you are practicing. You need to know you are executing drills correctly.
- Time – you can not do it overnight.
What makes up a perfect putting stroke?
I often tell my pupils that a golf swing and a putting stroke are like a jig-saw.
You need to work on different parts of your putting stroke and then when you put it all together you'll get the complete picture – a 'finished' putting stroke. Luckily with putting it's quite easy to work on separate parts of the putting stroke. Some elements are easier to master than others since putting is very static – in fact the more stable and still you are when putting the better.
So – what are the different elements of the putting stroke?
Here are a few to whet your appetite, and note that each element needs to be perfect in it's own right:
- Putting grip. The putter should lay in the palm of your hands, not in your fingers. Your putting grip needs to ensure you deliver the putter head back to the ball at precisely 90 degrees to your target line.
- Alignment. Your shoulders, hips and feet all need to be aligned parallel to your target. Note they should not be aiming at the actual target – imagine you are standing on one rail of a railway track and the ball is on the other track.
- Ball position. Another crucial part of putting , but it's amazing how many people get this wrong. It's a simple part of the putting stroke to get right though, and luckily the ball position never changes when you are putting.
- Stance. Your stance has to do two things. Firstly create a stable platform – in putting there should be no body movement at all. Secondly it needs to enable you to swing the putter along a straight line so you can hit the ball precisely at the target.
- The actual stroke. If you've got the above parts of your putting stroke right, the actual putting stroke is very simple. All you need to do is rock your shoulders back and forth – at the right speed of course – and you'll always hit a good putt. There really is very little to go wrong during the actual putting.
Is it as simple as that?
In terms of the mechanics of the putting stroke, there are only a few more parts of the jig-saw you need to master including tempo, but not much else …
Do I need to master anything else to be a great putter?
Yes I'm afraid you will need to work on some other parts of your putting to be a great putter.
- Reading the greens.
- Judging pace.
- Psychology. This is a huge area in its own right, but if you have the best stroke in the world but cave under pressure then it's not going to be much use. You need to control your emotions when under pressure to hole crucial putts. This is another area that I can really help you master.
How will my putting benefit?
Assuming you can master the mechanics (which is not that hard) and the other elements such as reading greens (much harder but still within your grasp), then your putting will be:
- Does not break down under pressure
You will also find when you are standing over a putt that you have amazing confidence. The thought of three-putting will not even enter your mind, though of course every golfer including the best pro's occasionally do this. You'll thrive on pressure situations in match-play as well since you'll have confidence in your putting stroke.