Fastest Way to Lower Your Scores – The Putter

What is the fastest way to lower your scores??

Let’s review a stat or two (very telling…). 43% of scoring occurs on the green (with the putter). Meaning if you shoot 90, you will average close to 40 putts per round. If you shoot 80, you will average 35 putts per round. There is no question, the quickest (and for most, the easiest) way to lower your scores is to work on your putting. In this e-tip, I am not going to discuss the proper fundamentals (we have discussed many times and talk about these in many of our instructional videos) – but rather common faults many have with their putting.

#1 – Improperly fit putter.

Many golfers have improperly fit putters. For most, the putter is too long for their set up and many times the lie angle does not fit. To determine proper length of a putter for you, do the following:

  1. Bend over (at the waist) like you were going to putt. Bend comfortably (no stress on your back).
  2. Hang your arms down comfortably (like you are going to putt) with slight (nature) bend in your arms (at the elbows).
  3. Measure the distance from the top of your upper hand to the ground (may need someone to measure). Add one inch. This is a good approximation of the proper putter length for you.

Lie Angle – Set up over your putter (like you are going to hit a putt). Have someone hold your putter in that position. When the putter is set up, slide a card (business card…) under the toe of the putter and under the heel of the putter. It should be even from the toe to the heel. If not, the putter’s lie does not match your setup. You may need to bend to match your set up.

#2 – Improper Set Up The proper set up is to have the ball slightly forward in your stance and under your eyes.

Problem – if the ball is too far back in your stance – you will hit the ball on a downward blow causing it to “jump” on the green – you want overspin on the ball – caused by an upward blow at impact.

Problem – if the ball is not under your eye line it will be difficult to perform the proper putting stroke and when you set up over the ball, you will not be looking down your putting line (you will be looking at your putting line).

#3 – Hand Dominance

Test – Have both hands free. Clap a small/light clap. Determine which hand is moving and which is still. The hand that is moving is your dominant hand. The hand that is stationary is your non-dominant hand. If both are moving – you do not have a dominant side. (For most, you will clap one hand into a stationary hand…)

Issue – ideally you want your trail hand in your putting to be your dominant hand. For example – if you are a right-handed putter, ideally your right hand should be your dominant hand.

Why? Because, it is much easier to control your putter on line when your dominant hand is your trail hand. It is much harder to “wave” your putter off line when your dominant hand is your trail hand…

If you trail hand is your dominant hand – GREAT. If your lead hand is your dominant hand or if you don’t have a dominant hand – we recommend the following. 1. Practice one hand putting with your trail hand until it becomes more comfortable to putt with that hand than your lead hand. 2. May want to experiment putting cross-handed to “give your trail hand more emphasis” in the putting stroke.

Remember – the trail hand runs the putting stroke… the lead hand basically goes along for the ride…. #4 – Improper Grip

What type of grip do you hold your club with (how are your hands on the club)? Are your hands on your putter the same as your full swing grip?

They should not be…

Why? The reason your grip should be different is the following – you are “training” your body/hands to release the club when you are gripping your irons/woods, etc.. You do NOT want to release your putter. Meaning – you need to have a different feeling on the club (a different grip) on your putter.

Examples – I recommend trying the following –

  1. Reverse overlap – putting the entire trail hand on the club and overlap one finger of the lead hand over the trail hand (this is the most popular grip with professionals).
  2. Cross handed – put your right hand on top, left hand on bottom of the grip.
  3. Whatever is comfortable for you (this is no “wrong putter grip”) as long as it is different than your full swing grip.

Remember the following facts about putting (and practicing putting):

  1. There are only 3 things to work on when practicing putting – face alignment, path and speed. Everything in putting is affected by these 3 points. If you are not practicing at least one of these topics, you are not practicing your putting…
  2. Your trail hand should “run” the putter – if not, your putting will be very inconsistent.
  3. You should have VERY LITTLE body movement when putting – basically only your shoulders and arms.
  4. You cannot be TOO OPEN in your putting stance (within reason) – but 1* closed is too closed. Check your alignment often to make sure you do not have a closed stance.

Good Luck!!

PLEASE don’t hesitate to call or email us anytime!! Remember – ALWAYS PRACTICE WITH A PURPOSE

3 thoughts to “Fastest Way to Lower Your Scores – The Putter”

  1. I believe in forward lean on the putter. Forward lean because you hands must be ahead of the ball at impact, meaning for most, you must set up with your hands ahead of the ball.

    Some players like to forward press as their stroke begins (for ex. Phil M.) – but, unless you practice a lot and make this part of your routine, for most it is just easier to set up with your hands ahead of the ball – creating forward lean on the putter.

    If you are going to exaggerate – exaggerate your hands forward.

    Tim Graves, PGA
    timg@swinglikemoe.com

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