One of the most popular things to do on Memorial Day besides cooking out and watching the Indy 500 race is probably golfing. We love golf at Parker Flags and wanted to share with your some golf tips before you go out to the greens this weekend. Below are 6 keys to great putting. Be sure to check out our wide stock of golf flags and golf flagsticks while you’re here.
The first thing to remember is that there is nothing new under the sun about putting. However, because of its enormous importance, let me share with you six problems with their solutions that are at the root of most bad putting. Few of these issues are found in those who must putt for dough in order to eat, incidentally.
1. Few amateurs have address fundamentals that produce repeatability. At address, your eyes are directly over the putting line, slightly behind the ball. To check this, set up then drop a ball directly from your nose. It should land just behind the ball in play. Also, you should not rest your club on the ground. If you do, the first move you will make will pick the club up and make a minute change in your balance. This promotes movement of the head, an absolute killer of putting. Hold the club barely off the grass to promote a smooth, balanced take-away. Keep your wrists firm throughout the stroke. I prefer a slightly open stance but that is individual.
2. Most handicap golfers take too long a back swing and decelerate on the forward stroke. With few exceptions, the putter should not pass your back foot on the take-away. Exceptions are, of course, very long putts or very slow greens. There should be a very slight pause at the end of the back swing and a smooth forward motion. This promotes smooth acceleration.
3. Most handicap golfers err on the short side of the hole. Dave Pelz, genius extraordinaire of the short game, states that a putted ball should have speed enough to finish 17 inches past the hole if it misses. I consider a putt that comes up to the hole and dies weakly a few inches either way to be short. There is a “ramp” around most cups due to people stomping around them and the ball must have enough speed to climb that ramp without curving away. It is simpler to make a four-footer coming back than a two-footer from short of the hole. There are two reasons for that. First, you can perfectly read the four-footer because you observed its roll. Second, the area in front of the cup gets beat up and scuffed far more than that beyond the hole. If you are always short, try to imagine a hole 17 inches beyond your aiming point. Notice I didn’t say the cup. Every putt is a straight putt. Putt for a spot on the green on the line you want to putt. Let breaks take care of themselves.
4. On breaking putts, amateurs are likely to miss to the low side. That’s why they call the low side the “amateur” side. The reason is most amateurs fail to read the break by a factor of four! That is, whatever break they see, if they would quadruple it they would make far more putts. Even professionals tend to under-read breaks. If you combine being short with under-reading the putt you have a double whammy for disaster.
5. While not a putt, poor choice of approach club is a leading cause of poor putting. If you are always thirty-plus feet short you can never putt effectively. In fact, better to be a little long unless that leaves you with a downhill putt. The green is smoother beyond the hole thus reducing the trample factor. Because most people leave their approaches way short try taking one or even two clubs stronger than you first think you need and see whether you can’t end up with some ten-footers for a change.
6. Many amateurs play line instead of speed. I have previously discussed this whole point but will encapsulate it again. When you practice, spend more time on speed than any other part of the putt. Start putting from 20-30 feet away until you can get most balls within at least a club length beyond the hole. Then concentrate on making every putt a straight putt of the desired length. Amazing, isn’t it? I could make a list of twenty more common problems but if you conquer these six you will be a much better, thoughtful, player.