Putting from A to Z
Putting is 43% of the score, which is why it is so important. Although it is the simplest movement in golf, putting lays the foundation for all golf techniques: chipping, pitching, half-swinging and even full swing tee shots with the driver (1 wood). Why is that? Because you’ll develop all the crucial golfing skills more easily and quickly if you learn to putt first. In other words, since the pendulum movement of putting is very simple, you will be able to pay more attention to the skills that are crucial for the future:
- Rhythm and tempo
- Pre-shot routine
- Stability of the blade in the impact zone
- Shoulder rotation
Learn to walk before trying to run
In short, you must learn to walk (putt) before you can learn to run (chip, pitch, etc.). If you don’t, you will have a hard time becoming a good golfer. Even worse, you will fall prey to bad habits if you try to skip steps. However, under the supervision of a golf coach, you can start with pitching and continue with the half-swing and full-swing, even if you have to go back to putting afterwards. Indeed, putting is a world of its own, a swing that is very different from other short game and long game techniques. Putting is a pendulum movement, while other swings are rotational movements. Moreover, the grip in putting is different from the grip of other short and long game techniques.
No matter what, you will have more fun playing golf and become a better golfer faster if you heed this warning: “Start at the beginning. Start with putting (or pitching with a coach).”
The complete putting routine
Several key concepts (“chrono” links in new Youtube tab)
0:08 Alignment to the target (not the hole if the putt is on a side slope); 0:30 Initial position relative to target (Address); 0:40 Ball position; 0:46 Shoulder height (the inverted “K” principle); 0:55 Hip and knee flexion;1:06 Short Putter = Arms not bent at elbows; 1:15 Glancing at the target turning the neck without any other movement; 1:17 The pendulum swing (the swing for putting); 1:20 Head stillness for better hand-eye coordination; 1:24 Don’t get up (maintain the angles of the initial position).
What exactly is a putt?
A putt consists of rolling the ball on the greens with a putter. However, it is possible to putt around the greens if the grass leading to them is short enough and the surface is flat enough.
To be or not to be right-handed in golf: that is the question.
First of all, you must answer the following question: Are you a left or right handed golfer? To answer this question, read the article on this subject. Reading this article is a mandatory step since, with few exceptions, all putters are either left or right handed. However, a small percentage of golfers prefer to putt from the left even though they are right-handed when it comes to other clubs, and vice versa.
Drill: 6″ (15 cm) three ball putt
To learn how to follow-through the ball, practice 6 inches putts with two balls as backswing and foreswing markers. The ball on the trail side of the putter is 6 inches behind the putt. The ball on the lead side of the putter is approximately 6 inches beyond the hole.
6 inches putt with 3 balls
Better to make a pendulum than to hit the ball sharply
How to choose the right putter
Choose the putter whose face you can align most easily by the color, shape and alignment lines of the blade. Some people prefer a light blade, but others prefer a dark blade. Some golfers find it easier to align a blade that is shaped perpendicular to the line of sight. Others have an easier time aligning a blade that is elongated away from the target. Finally, the blade may have one or more short or long alignment lines, perpendicular or parallel to the line of sight. It is up to you to try several types of putters at your local golf shop.
Length of the putter shaft
The length of the shaft should allow the hands to fall freely and directly below the shoulders, without bending the elbows. To do this, you need to bend the torso down from the hips. This is the posture I recommend for putting, especially for beginners. Why? Because it simplifies the putting swing and the transition to other golf swings. In fact, many excellent professional golfers, including Phil Mickelson, have adopted short putters for this reason: their arms are extended (no bend in the elbows) as they are for all other golf techniques or swings.
In standard golf sets, this shaft is almost always too long to allow for such a posture. Therefore, you must adopt a more upright posture and/or bend your elbows to make your putts. Otherwise, either lower your hands on the grip or have the shaft shortened by a professional technician. The best thing to do, however, is to get a putter that is the right length and that you like. You can find your ideal putter at your local dealer or golf club pro store.
The 5 static fundamentals: how to set up for a putting stroke. (Description for right-handers, think vice versa if you are left-handed.)
If you don’t take the time to set up properly each time you are about to putt, you will not be able to develop the muscle memory of the swing. Why is that? Because your swing mechanics will change from time to time. The golf swing, whether it is a putt or any other technique, is a reflex. And this reflex is built by repeating the same movements. If your initial position fluctuates, your swing will also fluctuate. You will not be able to develop the right reflexes or have consistency. Consequently, the final result will be unpredictable, inconsistent.
As with any golf shot, you need to set up for a putt by checking five key points: alignment, posture, grip, ball position and, finally, foot spacing (or stance). These are called the static fundamentals, or the art of setting up properly before swinging. The golfer must perform them in a specific order each time. This order is called the pre-shot routine, which is used to set up the correct initial position (address). But before we get into the routine, let’s look at the key points of each static fundamental.
Stand behind the ball in relation to the hole. Find a distinctive mark on the green (e.g., a blade of grass of a different color) about 6 inches in front of the ball as an intermediate target. Align the ball mark with it. This intermediate target is used to establish the line of sight and the correct stance. Roll the ball over this target (do the Railroad Drill, below.)
Drill : The Railroad
Lay two alignment sticks parallel on the ground. The first stick indicates the line of the feet. The second stick, placed a few centimeters beyond the ball, indicates the line of sight. Putts of 1 meter (3 feet) should be practiced to ensure that the body is aligned with the target. This principle applies to all golf shots. Also, for putting and chipping, you can adopt an open alignment (like Jack Nicklaus), i.e. align your feet to the left (for right-handed golfers). This will allow you to see the target better and follow-through the ball better.
2- Stability (Stance)
Drill: John Wayne for putts and chips
To improve lower body stability and prevent foot roll during the swing, adopt a cowboy straddle position. To do this, move your knees apart from each other in the at address. In fact, this is the address posture recommended by Patrick Reed, an excellent putter by the way. Putting with the knees apart is made easier with a narrow base (feet close together, like Rickie Fowler).
3- Posture for putting
Feet, knees, hips and shoulders are parallel to the line of sight. The glutes and the transverse muscle are contracted to strengthen the seat. Nevertheless, the upper body is relaxed to facilitate the swing of the shoulders. The left shoulder is higher than the right (so that the blade stays close to the ground on the way up and rises to the sky after impact, creating a brushed effect). In fact, this is the classic inverted K position for right-handers (non-inverted K for left-handers). The bent trunk is at the hip joint only (no round back, as the round back hinders the rotation of the thoracic vertebrae and thus the swinging motion of the shoulders).
4- The grip for putting is different from other techniques
The purpose of the grip is to make the hands work together and eliminate the rolling of the forearms and, therefore, the blade. The pressure should be equivalent to the pressure you use on a full tube of toothpaste to fill your toothbrush.
The palmar grip is the one used for the putter. Why is this? Because the palmar grip reduces wrist mobility and, therefore, power. This makes it easier to produce straighter, lower-intensity shots, as required for putting.
For the putter, the handle in the palm grip goes through the lifelines or on the pad of the little finger of the lead hand. The two palms face each other and the two thumbs are on top of the handle.
A- The classic grip
The classic grip is the most common. In my opinion, it is also the simplest grip and the one that is suitable for all distances of putting.
First, place the lead hand (left hand for right-handed players) at the top of the handle. Then place the trail hand directly under the lead hand, making sure that the index finger of the lead hand covers the fingers of the trail hand.
B- The reversed palmar grip
The reverse palm grip lends itself well to short putts with a straight plane. What is the plane? In golf, when we talk about the plane, we are most often talking about the swinging motion of the hands, or the path described by the hands during the swing. There are two planes: the straight plane and the curved plane. But we’ll come back to this point later.
C- The palmar claw grip
The palm claw grip is also suitable for short putts. It also has the advantage of minimizing scooping. Scooping is the unwanted bending of the wrists on the target side. In France, scooping the ball is called “cueillir la balle”.
D- The inverted grip
Many players advocate a posture where the shoulders are parallel to the ground (no reverse K). In this case, an inverted grip (lead hand down) is ideal.
There are other, rarer types of palmar grips, but I believe that one of the four above types will suit any golfer, regardless of age.
Drill: Lead hand on the lead kneecap for the inverted grip
To achieve the correct posture with an inverted grip (lead hand low) when putting, bring the lead hand to the lead kneecap to eliminate the inverted K posture and to ensure that the shoulders are parallel to the ground. Bring the hand back on the grip without moving the body.
Details on the grip and posture for putting
Corey Pavin and Retief Goosen recommend an open grip (palms pointing more skyward, especially for the lead hand) to prevent the lead hand from extending at impact. Paige Mackenzie and Retief add that this grip pulls the elbows in against the chest and brings the hands closer to the ground, allowing for a rotation that comes more from the ribs than from the shoulders, thus from the abdominal core, as David Leadbetter also suggests.
Matt Kuchar anchors the grip of a belly putter to his lead forearm to increase blade stability. Note that anchoring a golf club to the rest of the body is not permitted.
Charlie Rymer also suggests arching the front wrist to simulate anchoring a belly putter and using a claw grip to keep the hands independent as with a belly putter. This technique is similar to the Drill Flat lead wrist at impact.
The “Fat Grip” or “Super Stroke” Grip
The new “Super Stroke” handles have a flat side for a good grip and make it easier to feel the face of the putter instinctively.
5- The position of the ball
The ball faces the lead breast. The eyes are slightly below the line of sight and slightly behind the ball in relation to the target to better see the line of sight and the target. Unlike the full swing and the short game, the trail eye looks at the ball when putting. To verify this, drop a ball from the top of the nose (do the Ball between the eyes drill, below).
Drill: Ball between the eyes
Put a ball in the pocket on the side of the trail hand. Assume the putting stance and remove the trail hand from the handle. Using this hand, grab the ball from the pocket and place it at the base of the nose between the eyes. Drop this ball. This ball should fall slightly behind and back from the ball to putt. This way, with the eyes behind the ball in relation to the hole, it is easier to see the line of sight by simply rotating the neck without any other part of the body moving, resulting in better alignment.
The pre-shot routine for putting
You must establish a simple routine (not too long so as not to give time to doubt) and always the same, hence a fixed duration that generates calm. The automatism thus created reassures the mind and allows Wilfred (the mind) to switch off and Willy (the subconscious mind responsible for the movement) to switch on at the right moment. This applies to any golf shot.
The routine begins with the alignment of the ball on the apex of the trajectory with the help of an intermediate target and a marker.
Before performing the other 4 static fundamentals of the pre-shot routine, several practice swings can be performed to establish the proper weight to apply to the ball to get it to the target (17 inches beyond the hole). However, Rory McIlroy does not take practice swings for fear of losing his concentration. Billy Horshel, on the other hand, makes a few practice swings behind the target line and at address but always looking at the hole to turn on his intuitive brain. However, you can do what the new 2014 J. B. Holmes did and not take any practice swings at all, which greatly improved his putting.
Then, using the trail hand, place the putter blade perpendicular to the intermediate target before performing the last 4 static fundamentals.
Spread your feet shoulder width apart or wider.
Adopt a low athletic inverted K posture (non-inverted K for lefties), knees slightly bent, trunk bent toward the ground from the hips, hands hanging directly below the shoulders.
Grasp the handle with the lead hand, then with the trail hand.
5- Position of the ball
Ball facing the front breast (left breast for right-handers), hands directly under the shoulders and eyes slightly below the line of sight and behind the ball in relation to the target.
The dynamic fundamentals of putting: how to swing the putter
It is the shoulder turn that produces the swinging motion. In addition, the transition of the shoulder turn from back to front produces a slight delay of the blade in relation to the hands, a movement that accentuates the cocking of the trail wrist and that Nick Faldo considers essential. Hence the importance of having the wrists relaxed, the same principle as Phil Mickelson’s “Hinge And Hold”, but a much more subtle movement. (Loren Roberts calls this movement the Little Lag Move, source: Bobby Clampett, The Impact Zone, p. 23).
My secret to a better putting pendulum
The lead elbow will kiss the floating ribs on the way up, while the trail elbow does the same on the way down.
At impact, the lead wrist is just firm enough not to scoop the ball, but it can give way slightly to produce an upward impact. Longer forward swing than the backswing. The swing should be fluid, never jerky (Drill Coin on the putter). Nevertheless, the impact must be crisp; to do this, the pendulum movement in the impact zone must be accelerated in a smooth and constant manner.
Drill: Ball between the lead wrist and the handle
Place a ball between the lead wrist and the handle of a putter or short iron and execute small no-ball swings, taking care not to drop the ball. Corrects the scooping and, therefore, the pull. Follow up with the Drill Putter Release, as you still need to let the blade go past your hands at impact.
Drill: Flat lead wrist at impact
(Source: Bobby Clampett, The Impact Zone, p. 18. First of the five dynamic swing principles). Place the lead forearm, wrist and hand against a wall. Look and feel the straight line formed by these three parts of the lead arm. While maintaining this line, move to the starting position with a putter so that the shaft extends this straight line (the back wrist is flexed); the ball should be two inches behind the lead heel. Putting. To promote proper shoulder turn in this position, combine this drill with the 3 Wood under the armpits to grasp the difference between a flat lead wrist and a flexed lead wrist at impact.
Slip and deflection of the ball: The ball always slides a little before rolling
The ball deflects more when it slides than when it rolls. To minimize this harmful slippage, the ball must be given a brushed effect. To do this, the follow-through of the blade (blade release) must be early, which means allowing the lead wrist to flex earlier as opposed to a downswing from a full swing (do the Drill Putter Release). This allows the blade of the putter to make contact with the ball on the way up. This creates a rising stroke, which promotes a slightly brushed effect. The brushed effect has the advantage of minimizing the length of the ball slide (do the Drill Putts between 2 lying tees).
The arm-shoulder triangle should be maintained throughout the swing (Drill Towel against the chest, below, and 3 Wood under the armpits).
Drill: Towel against the chest
Hold a towel to your chest with your arms. Execute putts without dropping the towel. This drill makes the hands passive: no supination, no pronation, no flexion, no extension. In addition, it allows you to maintain the arm-shoulder triangle throughout the swing.
In other words, this drill helps you not to “scoop the ball”. Indeed, thanks to the shoulder turn, you will avoid pushing the ball with the back hand. Otherwise, you risk bending (breaking) your lead wrist too much and, therefore, “topping” the ball.
It is better to turn the torso to describe a pendulum movement with the arms. This way, the hands follow-through the ball, minimizing the flexion of the lead wrist (the left one for right-handed players). However, it is not necessary to have completely rigid wrists. To do this, perform the following three drills.
Drill: Pendulum swing with a putter
Drill: Coin on the putter
Drill: Putter Release
Recommended by Paige MacKenzie, this putting technique adopted by Graeme McDowell simply consists of letting the head of the putter extend past the hands after impact, but without the ball. To do this, you don’t “hold on to the club” past impact in hopes of hitting it downward like a full swing. Instead, you should let the blade run over the hands earlier in order to have an upward impact for a better direction.
Position of the hands relative to the shoulders
The hands should hang directly below the shoulders to minimize the “saloon door” arc of the swing and come as close as possible to a straight swing. The arc of the swing is called the “plane” in golf.
The arc, or swing plane for putting
Two methods or types of swing confront each other: 1. the rectilinear plane; 2. the arched plane.
- In the first method (straight plane), it is a swing of the trunk. The straight plane keeps the blade square throughout the swing. A “square” blade is one that remains perpendicular to the arc at all times. To keep the blade square with a straight plane, your head must swing from left to right with your shoulders.
- In the second method (Arched plane), it is a rotational movement of the trunk. The arched plane opens the blade on the way up and closes it on the way down. To keep the blade square with an arched plane, your head must remain still. To execute the swing, the trunk turns to the right and then to the left. This is the plane I advocate, because I find it more natural and it matches the plane of all other techniques. One rotating (arched) plane for all your golf swings: simple and terribly effective. Plus, keeping your head still promotes better hand-eye coordination because your vision doesn’t blur.
Place a 3 Wood under the armpits as a line parallel to the line of sight to check for pendulum or rotary type shoulder movement. This drill can be combined with the Driver against the lead hip drill to stabilize the lower body while performing the desired upper body movement. Execute putts with a good feel for the shoulder turn, producing an arched plane. In addition, shoulder turn makes the hands and arms passive and therefore promotes putting accuracy. This is an excellent drill to learn how to rotate the shoulders correctly for putting.
Drill: Two poked tees “à la” Tiger Woods
Plant two tees near the ends of a putter blade and make putts without touching them. Do the same for chips, pitches, half swings and full swings. This drill improves the swing plane and consistency of impact (on the sweetspot).
Drill: Driver against the lead hip
To correct the pelvic slide for a putting swing, place a driver against the lead hip with the club head toward the target. Perform slow-motion putting swings without the driver head moving.
The point of impact on the ball for putting
According to research, the best point of impact is 3 degrees above the ball’s equator. This creates an accelerated or brushed effect (topspin) from the first moments of the roll. The brushed effect therefore eliminates the undesirable backspin (see Slip and deflection of the ball).
Eliminating backspin (underspin) produces a straighter trajectory and more consistent distance (Drill Band-Aid) similar to hitting the white ball over its equator in pool.
This is why the blade should be lifted off the ground at address and the grip should be brought forward as the first swing motion. However, the blade must be brought in front of the grip just before impact. The blade is close to the ground for the backswing, but comes up for the follow-through, as Graeme McDowell recommends. To do this, let the blade swing on its own so that the zero point, the lowest point of the swing, is just behind the ball. You should not prevent the lead wrist from extending, as this would interfere with the pendulum swing of the blade.
Drill: Band-Aid along the bottom of the blade of a putter
Tape a Band-Aid to the bottom of the blade of a putter to practice the impact point of putts. The ball should not make contact with the padded part of the bandage. In the absence of a band-aid, a strip of thin self-adhesive felt (or insulating styrofoam) about ¼ inch wide can be taped to the bottom of the blade.
Le tempo pour le putting
This is a 1/2 or 2/4 tempo like the chip (as opposed to the 3/4 tempo of the pitch and the 4/4 tempo of the half-swing and full swing). Use a metronome. Keep the same smooth, even tempo, but speed up the tempo on the slow greens and slow it down on the fast greens. This way, the magnitude of the backswing and the forward swing stays the same for a given distance. Do the You go In the Hole drill, below.
Drill: You go In the Hole!
To develop the right rhythm for putting, mentally repeat the phrase “You go In the Hole!” to yourself. (Rhythm in three beats: dotted eighth note, sixteenth note, dotted eighth note, sixteenth note, fermata.)
- “You”, i.e. the first beat (the first dotted eighth note) is the forward press.
- “In”, i.e. the second beat (the second dotted eighth note) corresponds to the peak of the backswing.
- “Hole!”, i.e. the third beat (fermata) is the fixed final position.
On a practice green, lay down two tees, two balls width apart, in front of your ball perpendicularly to the line of sight. Make putts without moving them. To do this, let the blade rise after impact, which gives the ball a topspin effect and improves the direction of the putt.
Drill: The ball circle
Place several balls circling a sloping hole at the same distance from it. Sink each ball until no putts are missed. Otherwise, make 10 rounds and count the number of putts sunk.
The Ball Circle for Putting
An easy and fun game to reduce your golf score
Controling the direction of the putts
Direction is established by reading the green. Retain that most missed putts go too low off the hole, especially among amateurs. This is because they are unaware that the center of the hole is not directly in front of them when the slope is sideways, but is more toward the top of the slope (Retief Goosen, Drill Putts from the high side of the hole).
For a squarer blade at address
At address, the blade position is often too closed due to an optical illusion (Drill Ruler to align the putter face).
For a squarer blade at impact
It is critical that the blade remains square to the plane (the arc of the swing) from start to finish, especially on the follow-through (Drill Putts with a lined ball). Misdirection (push or pull) is 85% caused by blade position at impact (open or closed) for a full swing, but this percentage can rise to 95% in the case of a putt. Make the Drill Tube for Putts of.
Causes of misdirection during the putting swing
Blade position can be altered by rolling the forearms (be sure to have a face perpendicular to the arc of the swing throughout the backswing and forward swing. Check your blade stability with the Putt two balls at a time drill.
However, Michael Breed suggests a “reverse roll” of the hands in relation to the plane.
Misdirection is also caused by a sudden action of the hands, wrists or arms. Misdirection also comes from a sudden stop or movement of the pendulum swing of the shoulders. The movement of the lower body or head can also compromise the direction of the ball.
Correcting the putting pull
A pull is most often caused by scooping (do the Drill Ball between wrist and handle ). Good direction lies in relaxing the mid-back vertebrae and positioning the club face perfectly perpendicular to the line of sight. To facilitate a perfectly “square” plane, make sure the hands are directly under the shoulders and the club shaft is in line with the lead forearm.
Better direction for short putts
Caution: the eyes remain fixed on the location where the ball was resting until the swing is complete. For short putts, do not turn your head (i.e., do not follow the ball with your eyes) until you hear the ball drop to the bottom of the hole (Drill Business Card under the ball). To increase your success rate of short putts, regularly do the The ball circle drill. Close your lead eye (the one on the side of the hole) so that you are not intimidated by the sight of the hole.
Better direction for long putts
However, for medium and long putts, you need to watch the end of the ball’s path to see which way gravity is deflecting it. That way, you’ll know how to line up for your next putt, if you need to.
Reminder: You must also produce a brushed effect on the ball (topspin) by letting the blade go up after impact (do the drill Putts between 2 lying tees). To produce a brushed effect when putting, you must allow the follow-through of the blade to occur (do the drill Putter Release).
Drill: Putts on the high side of the hole
Drill: Putts with a marked ball
Make a line or circle on the perimeter of a ball. Align this line or circle with the line of sight. Make the putts. If the blade is “square” at impact and the plane follows the line of sight, you will see a straight line on the ball throughout the putt. If not, the line on the ball will wobble or be blurry.
Drill: Ruler to align the putter face
Place a ruler on the target line. Place the face of the putter on the back end of the ruler and take the at address position. Hold the mental image of the blade position. It will probably appear slightly open due to an optical illusion.
Drill: Putting two balls at a time
Match two balls perpendicular to the line of sight and hit them simultaneously. If the blade is perpendicular to the line of sight at impact, both balls will travel the same distance, and you can even sink them both. If the blade is closed at impact, the ball hit by the tip of the blade will travel farther than the one hit by the heel. Conversely, if the blade is open at impact, the ball hit by the tip of the blade will go less far than the ball hit by the heel. In other words, the ball hit first will go farther than the ball hit second.
Drill: Tube for putts
Make a tube about 6″ long and ½” in diameter. The ends should be perfectly flat (the tube should stand straight up on a table and be parallel to a corner of a wall). This tube is used like a ball on a putting green, the goal being to get it to travel 5-8 feet without spinning out. The absence of spin proves that the blade is perfectly square and that the plane of the hands is perfectly straight at impact. This tube can be replaced with a cardboard salt and pepper shaker for camping (recommended by Martin Hall).
Drill: Business card under the ball
Make putts by placing a business card under the ball. Do not look up until you read the name of the business card holder. Instead of a business card, a thin coin can be used, making sure to look at it before raising the head. This drill corrects the trunk lift during the downswing, which improves the direction of putts. This drill also allows you to lift the blade slightly so that it does not catch on the ground.
Additional details on alignment
Corey Pavin and Dave Stockton advocate an open stance like Jack Nicklaus to better see the line of sight. Nick Faldo says to have heavy arms, let them hang. Gary Player advises to bring the trail knee towards the lead knee to stabilize the lower body. On the contrary, Patrick Reed advises spreading the knees apart (Drill John Wayne for putts and chips). Make sure you have good balance by doing the Pink Flamingo drill on the lead foot, below.
Drill: Pink Flamingo on the lead foot
Perform swings with the trail foot on the tip of its toes so that almost all of the weight is on the lead foot, making sure to maintain your balance at all times.
Putting distance control
The “sweet spot”
First priority: good contact on the “Sweet Spot”. Indeed, the accuracy with which one hits on this sweet spot greatly influences distance (Drill Two tees poked at the Tiger). Without regular contact on the sweet spot, the intuitive brain is unable to train itself to predict how much force to apply for a given distance.
Distance is everything
Just before you swing, privilege distance over direction, as direction is predetermined by the green reading. The weight to be applied to the ball, which is the desired distance, is the only technical element to fix your intuitive brain on (“Willy” the Golfer).
Controlling the distance of long putts
Adopt a higher posture and a higher, slightly firmer grip. Allow the wrists to break on either side of the impact zone to avoid too much upper body rotation that would drag the lower body and cause loss of balance. Hit more with the trail hand. Make 10, 20 and 30 yard putts with the trail hand only and always keep the same tempo. To facilitate greater acceleration in the downswing, the follow-through should be shorter and stop more sharply than for short putts (Robert Damron).
The ideal length of a putt
According to Dave Peltz, to have the best chance of entering the hole, the ball should end up 17 inches beyond a plugged hole. Why should this be done? To combat the “donut effect”. The donut effect is a hollow that forms around the hole as golfers stomp on the same spot to get their ball out. Thus, a ball that is too slow deflects and misses the hole by bumping into the donut.
To feel this weight to apply, you need a relaxed grip and a very slow takeaway. As the weight to be applied to the ball has already been determined during the last practice swing, it is enough to reproduce this swing. To improve the feeling of the force to be applied, imagine that you are throwing the ball towards the target with your trail hand, as you would naturally do without thinking about it. Do the drill below.
Drill: Shoelace in front of the hole
To master the proper force to apply when putting, practice by placing a shoelace in front of the hole. You can do this drill on a mat at home, but also on a practice green.
Feel the force to be applied by a slow rotation of the neck
Once you have stopped in your setup, slowly turn your head until your eyes see your nose stuck to the hole. Also slowly return to your setup at address. Always rotate your neck with the same tempo. The length of the round trip of the neck gives a sensory indication of how far to swing for the distance of the putt.
You can also visualize a boat (the ball) floating down a river (the putt line) into a waterfall (the hole). Practice 10, 20 and 30 yard putts with the trail hand only and always keeping the same tempo. Also do the Putts between 2 lying tees) drill.
For upward putts, visualize the ball entering the hole with force. However, visualize that it will die in the hole for downward putts. Retief Goosen advises against hitting downhill putts with the tip of the blade, as this may open up the blade at impact and therefore undermine the direction.
Drill: The ball line facing the golfer
Facing you, place a straight line of balls about 4″ apart on a green. Add another ball acting as a hole and a boundary. Putt the balls one after the other so that each ball rolls farther than the previous one without going over the boundary ball.
The Ball Line Facing the Golfer Drill
Drill: The ball line in front of the hole
In front of a hole, place a straight line of balls further and further apart as you move away from the hole, with each ball on the opposite side of the hole acting as the backswing boundary. Starting with the ball closest to the hole, putt the balls one after the other in order to sink each ball.
Self-confidence and fear in putting
When it comes to putting, you have to believe you are the best athlete in the world, the best “putter” in the world. The important thing is not to be, but to believe. Several fears come into play: fear of the hole, fear of the ball and fear of starting the swing. To fight this fear, do the drill below.
Drill: Tap, Tap, Tap, Back, Through
To remove the fear of starting the backswing when putting, tap the ground three times with the putter head before starting the backswing. These taps act as a “swing trigger”. This is what Nick Faldo and Payne Stuart did. Do it all while repeating these words to yourself in a five-beat measure: Tap, Tap, Back, Through (Martin Hall). A “Forward Press” can be inserted as an additional trigger between the third Tap and the Back. Here, the Through has more the value of the full forward swing from the beginning of the downswing and not the value of the follow-through itself.
Visualization (mental imagery)
Visualize the ball going to the target by looking at the target for 10 seconds to allow the analytical brain to give way to the intuitive brain. Banish any negative thoughts or emotions by focusing on the target (the apex for a putt). Focusing on the target focuses attention on the goal and not on what you fear. Otherwise, the brain will produce what you fear. Visualization applies to any golf shot. For example, to forget about obstacles in a full swing (water or numerous bunkers), choose a high target (tree top).
Praising the super slow motion and frozen finish for self-diagnosis and continuous improvement
I cannot stress enough the benefits of analyzing muscle feeling (swing mechanics) at the end of the swing. To do this, you must stay frozen in the final position. This will allow you to detect the intricacies of your movements and improve constantly. To correct a faulty movement, make a perfect super slow motion swing in an ultra conscious way (with your logical brain “Wilfred”).
Successful putts, from a technical point of view
From a technical standpoint, a successful putt is a putt with the right direction and distance. In fact, these are the only two goals that can be controlled. Sinking a putt is not the same as making a successful putt, because a ball may well enter the hole in a different direction and at a different speed than you intended. Conversely, a ball may well not enter the hole despite a direction and speed in line with what was intended. Once the ball is hit, the result is no longer up to us. It is the quality and the assiduity of the practice which produce a result more and more reliable.
Reading the green for putting
No green is flat, otherwise it would accumulate puddles. You can’t rely on your eyes alone because of the many optical illusions.
- Determine if the hole is higher or lower by standing perpendicular to the putt line. This will determine the amount of swing required.
- Determine which way the path of the ball will curve by standing behind the ball in relation to the hole. This determines the line of sight to the apex (not necessarily the hole because of slopes). The line of sight is the direction of the first few inches that the ball will travel. Basically, a putt is always a straight shot towards the apex. In the basic address setup, the feet, knees, hips and shoulders are parallel to the line of sight towards the apex.
Eight key points to remember:
- while walking towards the green, look at the general slope of the green (“the big picture”);
- the clubhouse is almost always at the highest point of the course;
- the sand thrown out of the bunkers onto the greens causes a heave on the greens;
- l’eau près des greens est le point le plus bas;
- pay attention to weight distribution when walking on the green (the body naturally leans to the higher side);
- pay particular attention to the slope and grain near the hole as this is where the slope and grain have the most effect on the path of the ball;
- take into account the speed of the green by analyzing the density of the turf in relation to the practice green and by evaluating the hardness of the green while walking on it;
- deduce the slope(s) from other players’ putts (e.g., if a competitor’s putt 90 degrees from yours looks slow, you are dealing with a downhill side slope to where the competitor’s ball was; Similarly, if a competitor’s putt 90 degrees from yours curves to one side, you are dealing with a downhill putt to the side where the competitor’s ball turned or an uphill putt to the side opposite the side where the competitor’s ball turned).
The ball’s point of entry to the hole
Take note that on a side slope, the center of the hole where the ball will enter is not facing the player, but is on the high side of the slope. (Jason Day)
The Aimpoint putting technique
More and more players are using Mark Sweeny’s “Aimpoint” and “Aimpoint Express” technique for side slopes. To do this, rate the severity of the slope with your feet from 1 to 4. Then, to find the initial target, stand right behind your ball and use the equivalent number of fingers of your left hand pointing in front of you, with your left eye closed and the left side of your index finger pressed against the outside of the hole. The initial target is against the leftmost finger. For this technique to work, you must also learn to “adjust” the distance from hand to eye according to the distance of the putt. This is done through trial and error.
The imaginary hole for putting
This is my personal theory. In The Ball Circle, the imaginary hole (the apex) is above the hole on the high side of the slope. It is this imaginary hole that you should try to reach no matter where your ball and the real hole are. In doing so, you will instinctively adjust the strength of your shots and make good use of the slopes of the green.
- For a downhill putt, the imaginary hole will be closer to you than the actual hole. You will have no trouble slowing down your swing.
- On the other hand, for an uphill putt, the imaginary hole will be further away from you than the real hole. You will therefore tend to speed up your swing to avoid coming up short.
The ball against the collar or the long grass
Use the tip of the putter or the edge of a Sand Wedge or Lob Wedge and hit the ball at its equator.
Ball in front of the green, flag at the back of the green
Consider using a hybrid with a putt swing. The ball will travel a small distance in the air (about 10% of the total distance), but it will roll a lot (90% of the total distance).
Putting warm-up before a round of golf
- Like Retief Goosen, make 30-foot putts with no slope and then slope down and up. This will give you a good idea of the speed of the greens before you start your round.
- Then, perform the The Ball Circle drill, firmly hitting balls about 3 feet (1 meter) from the hole.
- Finish with 4-meter (12-foot) putts in a circle to better control the various slopes.
Retief does not recommend hitting downhill putts with the tip of the blade, as this can open up the blade and therefore undermine the direction. If all the holes on a practice green are occupied, use a tee or pitchfork instead of a hole.