Putting seems like a relatively easy task. You get to use a perfectly tuned $200 putter to hit a perfectly round golf ball on a relatively flat ground into a hole that is a 2.5 times the size of the ball. But it’s one of the most difficult tasks in all of sports. Even golf professionals 4-putt from time to time and 3 putts are rarely avoided during most amateur rounds.
So why is it so hard to putt a golf ball into a hole? Many reasons! Exposing the various factors that may lead to inconsistent putting and showing you how to correct them will help you putt better.
The primary reason is that we tend to make contact with the ball at different angles and different speeds than we plan to. This means that we have many factors that contribute to an inconsistent stroke. I have posts on other putting factors such as How to Read Greens and Gripping a Putter, but for this post I will focus on making consistent putting strokes to help you putt like a golf pro.
Various Putting Factors
In golf, we get lucky and unlucky but the professional golfers on TV don’t rely on luck. They have a putting skill they have practiced and perfected knowing exactly how their ball will roll. They know everything to the detail by using technology like the SAM Putting Lab that gives you data on every putting stroke at impact. This gives them…
- Face angle at impact
- Face aiming degree
- Face rotation
- Path of putterhead
- Impact spot on face
- Angle of face rising after impact
Now if the average golfer got this information, it would definitely help that golfer become a better putter after understanding what it all means and how to get the numbers you want. However, putting is so precise that you would more importantly need to be consistent with your stroke to get these numbers consistently at impact.
This leads me to what I see on the majority of putting strokes, lots of hands and wrists being used to putt the golf ball. We need to relinquish some control in the hands and use your upper torso to control the putting stroke.
Here are some tips to promote your shoulders and upper body to make your strokes. Let’s take your hands out of putting. Note: Having the correct length putter is vital in making your stroke more consistent.
Proper Posture and Spine Angle
If you watch any good putters, they put their body in a position to use their upper body. Their posture is more over their toes while keeping the spine angle closer to 45 degrees. This helps get their upper arms closer to their side of their chest.
Line up Arms through Putter
If your posture is ideal, you will notice that your putter shaft should be an extension of your arms. This will lead you to a consistent path by using one lever: your shoulders and upper torso.
In order to feel your upper torso make the stroke and rotation, we have to take the controls out of the hands.
Forward Press Your Hands
Forward pressing your putter at the takeaway is a very subtle move that can give you a more consistent putting stroke by eliminating your hands and other unintended movements. A couple things to note when performing this subtle trick include
- Let your hands lead the forward stroke: Maintain your hands in front of the putterhead. It’ll help ensure your transition isn’t rushed and will help you keep a nice angle upon impact.
- Let the clubhead get ahead: This is where you’ll notice the putterhead release with a more active bottom hand. This is commonly used by the pros for a more consistent release on all their putting strokes.
Stick Upper Arms to Chest
You want to make them feel that they work together because they do. The upper chest rotates more than you think keeping your spine as your pivot point. You should feel the putter head release through impact by creating better momentum. This is also a great drill if you only feel your arms make the stroke.
The image below shows me using a great training aid from Perfect Practice called True Pendulum Motion. This tool allows you to feel what it’s like to keep your upper body in the proper form to reduce variance in your putting motion.
Plant your Lower Body into the Ground
Not literally but if you followed the previous steps, we need to finish the putting stroke properly. Many players unintentionally move their body and head to see where the ball goes as they make impact with the ball. This will result in deceleration and over-rotating the putter head. Keeping your lower body more stable can help you stay down longer to complete your release through impact while keeping your putterface down your intended path.