When I ask my students the question: What is more important:
a) making sure you have the right line or direction? Or
b) having the right distance?
60% of the time I get the answer: a) having the right line.
But think about it for a minute…how many times have you had a putt that was five feet wide? Now, compare that to how many times you’ve had a putt that was 5 feet short or 5 feet long… or 10 feet long for that matter? Chances are that your distance is more off than your direction.
Wouldn’t be nice if you had a one or two foot putt 90% of the time for your second putt? (Instead of your third?)
Here’s a powerful formula to make it happen:
Step #1. Taking the wrist out of the stroke
Make sure you make your putting stroke with your shoulders only…do not use your wrists. Why? The rocking of the shoulders creates a certain amount of distance. If you add your wrists to the stoke you add another element of distance. We’re trying to develop distance control so we have to keep it simple. Rock your shoulders only, much like you would rock a baby in your arms. If you feel you are too wristy stick a small pencil underneath your watch band of your left arm if you putt right handed.-right arm if you putt left handed. This end of the pencil will poke into your forearm if you’re too wristy.
Step #2; working on tempo and rhythm…important for distance control.
If you have a smart phone, download a “Metronome” Ap. They offer free ones. Set the metronome meter to ¼ and the tempo between 65 and 75, depending on your personal comfort. The average pro’s putting stroke has a tempo of 75 beats per minute as measured by a metronome. This tempo holds true regardless of length of stroke. But find the tempo you are comfortable with.
Now swing you putter from toe to toe, that is, to the big toe of your right foot on the back swing and to the big toe of your left foot on the forward swing. Don’t use a ball for now; just swing the putter to the beat of the metronome. This will train you to develop the proper tempo.
Now putt a ball if you have a smooth enough carpet. Be aware how far the ball goes when you swing from toe to toe.
Repeat the same exercise. This time make a putting stroke to outside your back foot to outside your front foot using the same tempo and rhythm. First without a ball to get the feel and than with a ball. Note the difference in distance between the two drills.
Next spring or this winter, if you head south, try this drill on a real green. Use you smart phone to keep that tempo smooth. You may notice that the “toe to toe” stroke goes, let’s say, 10 feet and the “outside to outside” the foot stroke goes 20 feet. This will be a positive step to developing distance control and fewer putts.