I have spent a lot of time watching some of the best putters on the LPGA and PGA Tours, including Brad Faxon. Three things the top putters have in common are they are great at reading greens, they start the ball on their intended line the majority of the time and they have great distance control. This article is going to focus on how to start the ball on your intended line more often, so you can sink more putts.
Key 1 is Setup
It is very hard to start the ball on the intended line if you have an inconsistent setup. I have spent many hours with one of the top putting coaches, Pat O’Brien. One of the biggest keys I learned from him is it is very important your shoulders are level at setup. Most right-handed golfers tend to set up with their right shoulder slightly lower than their left making them hit up on the ball through impact and have trouble controlling the clubface. Sometimes it will be open and other times it will be closed. Setting up with your shoulders level at setup helps have a more consistent clubface at impact, club path and angle of attack. Practice setting up in a mirror focusing on having both of your shoulders level at setup. If you are a right-handed golfer most likely it will feel like your left shoulder is lower than your right but if you look in the mirror they will be even when you feel this.
Key 2 is Grip
There is not one way to grip a putter, you have to find out what grip is best for you as everyone has success with different grips. Here are two grips I see often that have quite the success rate. The grip on the left is the conventional putting grip used by: Tiger Woods, Rory Mcllroy, Justin Thomas, and many others. Below are some bullet points to look at for this grip.
Start with your lead hand on the club and then put your trail hand on top overlapping your trail pinky over your lead index finger.
Both thumbs are pointed directly down the grip.
The back of your lead hand is facing the target.
The back of your trail hand is parallel to your lead hand, this helps to have a square clubface at impact.
For the grip on the right lead hand low grip (left hand low or cross handed) here are some bullet points to follow. This grip is great to try if you find yourself missing a lot of putts from 10 feet and in or missing putts left constantly. One of the biggest names that uses this grip is PGA Tour player Jordan Spieth.
Start by placing your trail hand on the club and then place your lead hand below.
Make sure both thumbs are pointed directly down the grip.
Back of both hands are parallel to each other.
Once you find your most reliable grip for you, the next key is making sure you rock your shoulders and are not too handsy. The more you use your hands when putting the harder it is to control the putter face.
There are two drills I love to ensure hands are quiet in the stroke and you are using your big muscles to move the putter (rocking your shoulders, keeping the triangle between your arms).
For drill one tape a tee horizontally at the top of your putter grip pointing towards your target. From here practice making putts by starting with the tee against your lead wrist and keeping it there the entire stroke. If you notice you putt and the tee is poking your trail wrist, you are using your hands rather than rocking your shoulders back and through.
For the second drill it is very common I see students move their entire body when putting. It is vital lower body stays still and only the upper body is moving when putting. The shoulders should be rocking while the lower body is stable. Far too often I see students move their lower body as well. This drill will ensure your core muscles are engaged and the only thing moving during your stroke is the upper body. To practice this, place a resistance band around your calves, just below your knees, having resistance in the band when your feet are shoulder width apart. From here practice putting, keeping the resistance in the band.
If you think about these keys: level shoulders, proper grip for you personally, and rocking the shoulders without moving your lower body you will make more putts guaranteed! If you have any questions on these drills or want a virtual assessment on your putting or lesson, e-mail email@example.com