Now that we have the putter clubhead style that suits your putting stoke as well as it adjusted to a more appropriate length, we can now look at some of the fundamentals of putting that you can practice to help you improve your scores this season.
Grip – have you noticed that all of the clubs in your bag have round grips, but your putter grip has a flat front? This is because while all other clubs should he gripped at the base of your fingers, the putter works best when held in the palms of your hands with your thumbs on the front (flat part of the grip)
You may have also noticed that there are also larger grips on putters these days. A larger (thicker) grip will minimize the amount of hand action in your putting stroke which reduces the chance of the club being twisted during the stroke and thus sending the ball offline. Golfers who are a bit twitchy with their nerves, or have some arthritis or other hand pain, will benefit from these larger grips. However, if the grip is too large, you will have less ‘feel’ and may find it more difficult to gauge the distance of your putts as the putter will be begin to feel unwieldy. Experiment with different grip sizes to find one you are most comfortable with.
Aim – even the best putting stroke in the world won’t help if you are aimed in the wrong direction. Visualize that you are pouring a bucket of water on the green. Where does the water flow? Obviously, it will run off from the highest point to the lowest point. You should also take the time to walk from the spot of your ball to the hole and look at the line of your putt from the opposite side. This achieves two things. First, you will note any uphill or downhill portions of the putt that you won’t see by just looking at it from behind your ball. Second, by double checking your first impression of ‘where the water will flow’ will remove any doubt from your mind and now you can commit to the aiming point of where you want to putt your ball towards (which isn’t always directly at the hole!)
Commitment – now that you have the aiming point decided and confirmed, all you need to do is put the ball in the hole. Remember, the ball does not have a mind of its own and will only do what your putterhead commands! Always take a few practice strokes to program your brain into the length of putting stroke required to achieve your goal. A good drill to practice is to stand with a ball in your hand and underhand throw a ball to the hole. Note how far your arm swings back and through. This will give you a sense into how far back and through you should swing your putter. Remember that the putting motion is a gentle stroking motion, not a violent hitting motion.
You’ve taken the time to aim your putt properly and now have taken a few practice strokes to gauge the feel. Now all you have to do is COMMIT to the putt. What this means is to replicate you practice strokes as best you can and please FOLLOW THROUGH (your putter head should swing through the ball and not just stop at the point of contact) - this is the only way to guarantee that your putterhead will propel the ball toward the intended target. All of your preparation is wasted if you do not commit to your goal and give the ball its command to GO IN THE HOLE!
Remember that not even the best golf professionals make every putt, all you can do is prepare properly and commit to the best of your ability. Once the ball leaves the ball leaves your putterface everything is out of your hands, but if you do your best on every putt your putting will certainly improve!