Mastering the perfect putt
Independent golf tips for the professional at Leisure
The perfect putting stroke
Any coach who can take two sedate, overweight,
arthritic folks and turn us into real golfers is a remarkable
teacher, and these are my notes on developing the perfect putting stroke.
Janet and I are very lucky to have a PGA Master
for your coach (Brad Clayton, author of the book
Golf and 2009 PGA Instructor of the Year for the Carolinas).
People travel from all over the world to take
lessons from Brad Clayton, and for good reason. Brad is a
mater coach for beginners and pros, and golfers old and young.
Brad Clayton teaches putting better than any pro I've ever had, and
he know the subtle nuances that distinguish a great putt from
My goal for 2009 is to break 90, and Brad assumes me
that the easiest way is to shave 10 strokes off my handicap by improving my
putting stroke. We are
committed to this, as it requires at least one hour of dedicated putting
practice every day. We
practice green at home, so that we can practice at home during the day.
Make no mistake, golf is the
world’s second hardest sport, and it requires constant practice, rain or
Aim Small, Miss
When practicing putting it’s important to aim to win.
Beginners often imagine the cup as being five feet wide, and that
great for getting into the neighborhood, but not so good for consistent
The aim-small, miss-small is also great advice for
sharpshooters, and it really works in putting too. In addition to the
putting tops below, Brad stresses that you must practice until you can putt
like a machine, consistently and without any variation It's easier
said then done, especially for longer putts. Most beginners are
surprised to see that on a long putt, and putter actually deviates back from
the putting path, it's not a 100% straight-back, straight-through shot.
Plan your approach
Whenever possible, land the ball downhill from the cup.
An uphill putt is a zillion times harder than putting uphill.
This is even more challenging if you need to get to the green from the
Here are my swing thoughts on the perfect putting stoke:
Examine the breaks - Like Ben Dover
says, get down there and see where your breaks are.
Set-up in a uniform fashion - Make
sure that you stand tall with your eyes are directly over the ball
to facilitate a consistent stroke.
Drill the line - Walk an imaginary
ball backwards from the cup to the club head, and back again. When
putting uphill, resist the temptation to come-in "hot" with less break.
Plan the arch at the highest point.
Set the stroke distance - While you
always aim small, you want your second putt to be a tap-in, so you gauge the
amount of swing to use to get you where you need to be.
Last minute checklist - Just before
initiating the putt, remember to follow through exactly the same distance
that you draw-back, accelerating into the ball, and remind yourself to keep
you head down until the ball is well underway.
This last point is especially important. If you
commonly miss to the left, it may be that you are "peeking", watching the ball
leave the putter face. It takes practice to keep your eyes stationary, but
it's worth it!
Again, these are my notes from Brad Clayton, and they are
working out amazingly well. I now sink ten foot putts with ease, and while
I may never putt like Tiger Woods, I will see the occasional thrill of sinking a
forty foot putt!