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Love it or hate it, Stack and Tilt might help your swing

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Stack and Tilt.

The moment someone utters those three little words there’s a thought that jumps into your head and also a connotation. It is one of the most loaded phrases in all of golf and the elephant in the room in terms of golf instruction.

Every season I get a handful of new students who come to me and the first question they ask is, “You’re not going to make me do anything CRAZY like Stack and Tilt, right?”

I never quite understood how Stack and Tilt had become a pejorative phrase among golfers until it dawned on me, it’s different and it actually works.

It doesn’t just work though, it contradicts a myriad of concepts  “top golf instructors” in the world teach and therein lies the problem. I will admit I am not a full fledged “Stack and Tilt’er,” but I do incorporate aspects of it in my own swing. Let’s take a look at Stack and Tilt’s basic concepts, why it is scrutinized and see how you might be able to utilize them to improve your golf swing.

The Basics (for a right-handed golfer):

  • Weight Forward
  • (Left) Shoulder Down
  • Hands In
  • Straight Leg (right)
  • Arms Straight
  • Tuck Hips

Weight Forward

Stack weight forward

Flaw: Old school instruction used to teach a full turn with your weight balanced between your two legs, moving the majority of the weight to the back leg and then fully transferring it on the down swing to the lead leg. The problem with this is that many amateur golfers hear this and begin to move their weight and their entire upper body to the right on the back swing, resulting in a sway.

Fix: Stack and Tilt advises you to start with more weight on the lead leg (55 percent or even more), and during your back swing feel an increase in percentage (60 percent or more). This concept eliminates the sway and forces your body to stay more centered over the ball throughout the entire swing. If you struggle with a sway, using a weight forward concept is great option to help you remedy your problem.

Shoulder Down

Stack shoulder down

Flaw: A lot of golfers concentrate on generating a full turn in their back swing, but many most don’t realize that when they make that turn it needs to be done on an angle where the shoulders turn down and not out. Many amateur golfers don’t turn their shoulders on an angle and as a result need to raise and lift the arms to generate height on the back swing causing erratic loops and inconsistent swings.

Fix: Stack and Tilt states that if you can get your left shoulder to turn down and not out, it allows the head to remain steady and it also allows the club to move vertically without lifting. Keeping the head steady is also key fundamental for striking the ball first and eliminating fat shots. Many golf instructors don’t emphasize this enough during golf instruction, and as a result many golfers generate height in their back swing by lifting the club rather than letting the shoulders do the work. If you struggle with inconsistent ball striking turning your left shoulder down can help alleviate a variety of swing faults.

Hands In

Stack hands in

Flaw: The closer to your body you can keep your arms the better. Take a look at the above pictures, the picture on the left shows a golfer moving the club “straight back,” which is commonly taught by golf instructors. Not only does it move the club immediately off plane, but it causes the arms to disconnect from the body, thus losing any possibility of repeating this move consistently.

Fix: Stack and Tilt advises golfers to move there “hands in,” forcing the club to swing on an arc and thus remaining connected to the body for a more repeatable takeaway. Many high handicappers disconnect their arms immediately to start their swing and either move the club too far inside or too far outside making every swing different than the next. By using Stack and Tilt’s “hands in” fundamental, you can start to improve your takeaway and keep better connection to your body throughout your swing.

Straight Leg

Stack Leg Straight

Jim McLean just had a heart attack. Just kidding, but isn’t maintaining the flex in your back leg one of the most important rules in golf?

Flaw: Believe it or not, it is impossible to maintain the same amount of flex during your back swing and turn your hips at the same time. To be able to make a full shoulder turn, you need to turn your hips. To do so, you need to change the amount of flex each leg.

Fix: The more your back leg straightens, the more your hips can turn, which lets your shoulders turn even more. Its a win-win. Like anything in golf, we want moderation, so don’t lock the back leg but feel free to let your hips turn and allow that trail leg to elongate on the back swing. Many senior golfers have trouble with making a full turn and generating distance with their golf swing due to flexibility issues but when I get them to turn their hips they create a fuller turn resulting in dramatically more distance.

Arms Straight

Stack Arms foldedStack Arms Straight

Flaw: Maintaining length and creating extension are two of the most important aspects of the golf swing. Many beginners tend to misinterpret a hinge of the wrist for a bending of the arm.

Fix: Stack and Tilt emphasizes maintaining extension not only on the back swing, but at impact and into your finish. Many instructors teach the importance of extension, and over look how important maintaining that extension well after impact is as well. Not only will this help produce consistent ball striking, but it will also help generate club head speed through impact. Signs that indicate your extension may be lacking are large divots, seeing the club over your shoulder on the back swing, and the club hitting or resting on your shoulders at the top of your back swing.

Tuck Hips

Stack Tuck

Flaw: Many golfers have a difficult time finishing their swing and maintaining their balance after impact.

Fix: There may be a variety of reason for this, so Stack and Tilt simplified things by saying, “Raise the belt and tuck the hips.” Take a look above — by raising the belt, the golfer is forced to clear their hips fully, and by tucking the hips the golfer has placed their core directly over the lead leg in a stable and balanced manner. If you have difficulty maintaining your balance or fully finishing your golf swing, Stack and Tilt is a viable option for creating a stable finish, something all golf instructors can agree upon.

Stack and Tilt is not nearly as terrifying as golf commentators and non-believers make it out to be. It is merely a sequence of moves to get your body moving in a more efficient manner. Although it may seem radical to straighten the trail leg and not transfer weight backward, it is essential to exaggerate these moves to eliminate common faults and misconceptions that have plagued the average golfer for centuries.

There is no perfect way to swing the golf club and there will never be a perfect way to swing the golf club, but there are ways to swing the golf club more efficiently, and Stack and Tilt may be able to help you do that. If your golf swing isn’t quite where it belongs, it might be time to take a look at Stack and Tilt. It may just be the change you’re looking for.

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Scott is a Certified Personal Coach at GolfTEC Main Line in Villanova, PA and also the Head Men's Golf Coach @ Division III Rosemont College. Each day he utilizes 3-D Motion Measurements, Foresight Launch Monitors, and high speed video to help each of his students achieve their specific goals. Past experience include owning and and operating the Yur Golf Swing Teaching Academy in Philadelphia. He started my golfing career at Radnor Valley Country Club in Villanova, Penn., and spent time at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. In his short 7 year instruction career he as taught over 5,000 golf lessons. He currently works with many of the top local Amateur golfers in the Philadelphia area, and many of the best Junior golfers. Teaching golf has always been my passion and with my civil engineering and philosophy background from Villanova University, I am able bring interesting perspective and effective techniques to my instruction.

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Glenn kirk

    Aug 4, 2016 at 4:57 am

    Was shanking & hitting woeful iron shots tried stack & tilt now hitting pure irons ????????????

    • Steven

      Aug 8, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Have tried everything for over 10 yrs. Nothing seemed to work until i tried stack and tilt. My ball striking has improved and distance with my irons has added 10 yards. Now, if i can start making putts.

  2. Billy

    Mar 24, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I’ve got a question. Can somebody put in stupid terms a description of what it means to “tuck the hips” ? I get everything else and I’m about 99% sure I’m gonna commit to this swing. I fight over the top and simply telling myself “just stay inside the ball is not helping my consistency one bit. Everything else was perfectly laid out in this awesome article, I’m just having a hard time visualizing and practicing tucking my hips.

    Also, another related question. Is chipping around the green type shots the same exact swing? This is the other thing thats messing up my game. I try to make these the same swings. Could somebody good at chipping please help me understand what the secret is to using a consistent chipping method, whatever that is. Thanks a lot in advance whoever answers these riddles.

    • Nik

      Mar 29, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      I started using the Stack and Tilt this year, so by no means am I a pro. To me, tucking your hips kind of feels like standing up on your front foot and pushing forward and up with your back foot. I kind of feel like I’m clinching my “cheeks” together and pushing slightly forward with my hips. I usually end with 90% of weight on my front foot and my hips pointing towards my target. I’m sure I’m over exaggerating it some since I am still finding my groove with the swing and trying to cement the motions, but I am striking iron shots more pure than ever.

      For standard chipping (not flops) I try to keep my hands quiet and use more of a putting type of stroke. This ensures my swing plane is online and I let the club do the work. I will place the ball in different parts of my stance and use different clubs depending on what kind of shot I want to play. I always keep a forward lean on my shafts no matter the flight I’m trying to hit. I typically use a 50*, 56*, or 60* wedge around the green, but I will also use a 7 iron if I need to run the ball a long way up a slope. Play the ball a little forward in your stance for more loft and less roll out (more spin) or farther back in your stance for a lower ball flight and more roll out (less spin). Don’t be afraid to experiment with different clubs and ball positions.

      Hope this helps.

  3. Michael Y.

    Jan 21, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I have struggled often with a repeatable swing. Last week I read then reviewed P & B’s main book on Stack and Tilt. I expect improvements to take some time but hard work is the way to better scoring.
    I have tried the elements of S & T and have never hit my irons better!!! I need more work but their principles have helped me very quickly and given a boost toward the 2105 golf season.
    I know one thing. “The mind is like a parachute; It only functions when it’s open.”

    Michael Y. Las Vegas, Nevada

  4. Pingback: Now Hiring: Swing Coach for Tiger - Alberta SandbaggerAlberta Sandbagger

    • David Lyons

      May 16, 2015 at 5:04 am

      Believe it or not stack and tilt puts much less stress on the back then the moves made above, extension is good for the spine not to mention if a golfer turns and tilts they also extend (fact but still somehow theory) and vice versa as well as vice versa, extend and tilt = turn, extend and turn = tilt imo tigers first swings with foley were very s&tish but then tiger figured it out and went back to a fldxed right leg which led to his back problems(imo), check his warmup for the Ryder cup on YouTube

  5. Uncle Bob

    Jul 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Out of sheer desperation, I am just now beginning to use stack and tilt.
    In my first couple sessions i have noticed significant improvement in how I strike the ball. As I get more comfortable, I think that part of the S&T is what I had unknowingly utilized 30+ years ago when I had a low single digit Hdcp. since my index has quadrupled since then, maybe I am onto something. I had gotten far away from the fixed-head and shoulder-tilted turn of my younger days. I slipped into the habit of swaying and sliding. consequently, my iron play and overall game wilted and died. I was either skulling the ball or laying the sod over on top of it. A good shot was simply a random event.
    Rome wasn’t built in a day. So this could take a while. I haven’t taken it to the course yet. But I hope to this weekend. As with any change, it’s going to be problematic not over thinking it. With that in mind, since I have a tendency toward brain lock, what would be the single most important swing thought?
    Thanks,
    bob

    • David Smith

      Jul 22, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Uncle Bob,

      How’d it go man? Give us an update. I’ve been studying this swing for a year now, I haven’t really given it any attention, I dabbled here and there but get scared trying something new but I am getting tired of inconsistent strikes and considering put it all on the table and giving this a go, I just swung a few wiffle balls in my yard with the principles in mind and it seems like a natural and powerful move thats inviting me to give it my all…. Keep me posted!

      D

  6. adam

    Nov 25, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    before the stack and tilt golf swing, I was scoring above 100. I could never hit my irons perfect all the time. since using the s&t, I hit all shots pure. I now shoot b/w 87-92. if I improve more on my putting I know that I will shoots in the 80’s all of the time. I recommend the book and/or dvd’s. people say you can’t hit the driver with this swing, which in nonsense. my driver shots are now better that ever. there is just a slight adjustment for the driver, like your hips slide more to the target and remembering to tuck your bottom during the follow through.

  7. Ron M

    Oct 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I cant thank you enough for this article. I was in a slump and struggling with my ball striking when I came across this article. I thought what the hell and gave S&T a serious try. Im never going back! S&T has completely saved my golf game. My ball striking has greatly improved with every club in the bag. On those occasions i do hit one fat i go back to the fundamentals learned from the book and im rivht back on track. Thank you for this article

  8. Pete Murphy

    Oct 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Although I dont use S&T, when things go wrong with my swing I over exaggerate a movement, ie, shoulder down when not swinging on plane, not transferring I practice not shifting back and other moves that resemble S&T. This article has got me thinking, maybe I should switch to this method,

    Thx
    Pete murphy

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Jul 22, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Pete,

      Whether you “switch” to this method or not isn’t a huge deal, just simply adding a few of the pieces and continuing to make improvement is a huge bonus. Lots of people get crazy when you say the term “Stack & Tilt” but lets be honest, I’m a golf professional, in the business of making you a better golfer. If Stack and Tilt helps you and others, I want to learn as much as I can about it!

      Since this article was published I am now S&T Certified and realized just how great and simple this system really is.

      Cheers,

      Scott Yurgalevicz

  9. jaybo4@mac.com

    Jun 10, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    I’m 41 and just attended the 5 day camp at Ironhorse Golf and Country Club in West Palm Beach Florida and it was for sure THE BEST THING I HAVE DONE!
    The instructors that we worked with couldn’t have been better, Dave, Melainey and Steve are so easy to work with and really seam to know their stuff. Also had the chance to meet Mike Bennett and he is exactly like the way he is one of the nicest guys I have met. Thanks to these guys my ball striking is better than ever before and I now know for sure what I’m working on at the range/course is the right way. My only regret is not doing this sooner!!!

    Thanks Again Stack and Tilt
    Jay Black

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Jul 22, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Jay Black,

      Very happy you found the article informative and your S&T experience has been a positive one. It is a great system which helps many golfers see great results.

      Cheers,
      Scott

  10. yo!

    Apr 11, 2013 at 2:08 am

    P&B S&T book is the most insightful book with regard to the golfswing since Homer Kelley’s TGM. Dante’s 4 magic moves is a classic as well. Every other golf instruction book have been less than satisfactory.

  11. Jack

    Apr 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I actually didn’t know these were different than normal. Other than the weight forward, and the arms in ones. I am going to try the arms in. Looks like something I haven’t incorporated into my swing. Arms straight too. I often struggle with that as it feels stiff and robotic. I think tiger brings his arms pretty close to his body on the backswing too.

    • Ben Pittman

      Apr 24, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Jack, make sure that if you plan on incorporating the “arms in” that you also get the left shoulder down component . . . otherwise you risk rolling the clubface open on the takeaway. Keeping the clubface square in s&t will feel like it is hooded.

      regards

  12. Blanco

    Apr 3, 2013 at 1:49 am

    I like many/most of the tenants of stack and tilt… however, if anyone wants to throw blame around regarding “how did S&T get such a connotation…” look no further than the “OGs” Plummer and Bennett. From what I’ve researched, these guys are so fire and brimstone about their “method…” that they’ve officially crossed the line into clueless self-absorption. Questionable advertising and using the official web site to publicly insult former students? It’s at best childish and not worthy of my time or money.

  13. Travis Mathews

    Apr 1, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Could someone comment on ball position? Does the traditional ball position thoughts still apply for S&T?

    • Matt Newby, PGA

      Apr 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Pending all other things equal…yes

  14. G

    Apr 1, 2013 at 2:36 am

    It works great for mid and short irons, or if you are tall guy, even with the longer clubs as you can really strike down at the ball. But if you’re on the short side, say below 5’7″, it’s harder to get at the ball with the longer clubs, to be so on top, that it doesn’t quite work.
    And then you get stuck (hahaha) trying to hit draw all the time. Great if you never have to play courses that require to hit more fades, or are playing on soft greens that hold, as your ball most likely is going to have draw/hooking spin as it gets to the green, and you have no chance to get at the pins that are tucked into the right side of greens over bunkers and water, etc – try to hit a floating cut shot with backspin with stack, it’s really difficult. Try hitting a major fade ball around trees and the corner because you have to, you would find it really difficult.

    And then there’s the driver………. as one Stack N Tilt teacher ADMITTED: “Yeah, the driver swing…. IT IS different.”

    Don’t do it for all your shots. Learn it for short clubs as it works great for full wedge shots. Learn to use another swing for you driver. Or never play courses that have trees on both sides and lots of dog-leg rights.

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Apr 1, 2013 at 9:01 am

      G,

      Although I do agree with you that it is very simple and easy for short/mid clubs, I have to respectfully disagree with your fade & driver comments. In regards to hitting a fade or a cut, take a look at someone who utilizes some of these motions in their swing (although not labeled s&t tiger woods swing comes to mind as he stays center, turns his shoulders on a steeper angle, etc) and he manages to hit a fade & cut very well.

      In terms of driver I find that most students, ESP with a driver turn there shoulders much too flat (a lot almost parallel to the ground) so feeling like your left shoulder turns down with a driver “feels” incredibly radical. What’s funny is I find it just as easy to cut the ball as it is to draw it when done correctly. Breaking through that crazy feel of the left shoulder turning down is tough achieve and takes some time and practice.

      Thanks for the input though it sounds like you have some experience with s&t and some of the principles, I understand that everyone doesn’t have the same swing and that’s perfectly fine but kudos for not being afraid to implement some aspects into your game!

      Cheers

  15. Alex Pisano

    Mar 30, 2013 at 12:35 am

    “Signs that indicate your extension may be lacking are large divots, seeing the club over your shoulder on the back swing, and the club hitting or resting on your shoulders at the top of your back swing.”

    Love the article, however wouldn’t a student lacking arm extension be more likely to not hit the turf at all rather than take large divots? I would see a student lacking in side bend and spine extension at impact taking larger divots.

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Mar 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      Alex, I think you’re also correct, but for simplicity I left out side bend, spine extension, etc to keep it easy to understand. There are a variety of reasons for fat shots. I notice a fair amount of clients who struggle with extension actually fold their arms at the elbow during the backs swing and then on the down swing extend them causing the club to strike well behind the golf ball. Thanks for the input!

      • Alex Pisano

        Mar 30, 2013 at 8:15 pm

        Ah now I understand the point you were getting at, nice to see the good word spread!

  16. AJ Ellis

    Mar 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    true Scott, feel and real are so different. Video feedback is so helpful in realizing the difference. most everyone needs to exaggerate a “feel” to get into better positions. I think closed mindedness is a reflection of what people hear from the announcers on TV (not really the most up to date if you know what i mean.)

  17. Pingback: Love it or hate it, Stack and Tilt might help your swing – GolfWRX | Golf Grip Instruction

  18. Scott Yurgalevicz

    Mar 29, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Hey Aj, What I find is most students who move off the ball with an iron do it even more with the longer clubs. Not only do you have to exaggerate the weight forward move with iron but all the clubs including driver and fw woods. Most students actually feel like they are falling/leaning too far towards the target, but when I show them video of their swing they are actually directly over the ball with zero lateral motion. My golf coach always says “feel isn’t real” and that’s a tough thing for students to understand when making this move.

    • kygolfer81

      Mar 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      This is exactly the feeling I had to get. It felt like I was going to tip over at the top (toward the target) but on video I was perfect at the top. Of course, when you’re using to swaying a foot off the ball, staying centered will definitely feel like you’re tipping the other way.

  19. Matt Newby, PGA

    Mar 29, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Scott,

    Well said. I think too often S&T gets a bad wrap in the media for a lot of wrong reasons. That being said I think your title says it the best, S&T “MIGHT” help your swing. I find too many people come in to a golf lesson very closed minded about what they think should happen during the golf swing.

  20. AJ Ellis

    Mar 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    All great for solid, consistent impact and hitting down making good divots. but i think the driver swing should follow a more traditional weigt shift. Do you? (Easily done with the wider stance of the driver swing)

    • Ken McAnally

      Oct 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      Really Scott, another S&T promotion where a) a short iron is used and b) where really dubious pictures are used to represent the ” problems with traditional swings”…Arms straight pictures supposedlybrepresenting trdaitional method…really ?. The straightening of the right leg, does increase shoulder turn BUT completely ignores the fact that torque has to be built up by “static” hips. If there is no torque build-up, it would be like having a catapult without one end fixed…great shoulder turn, lousy torque. This S&T method does not work with longer clubs, such as driver where the ball is hit with a flat or up trajectory and because the weight is so far left (for RH players) and put further left by S&T, the “angle of attack” of the driver is made ludicrously large. OK S&T people say to “jump up/lift/rotate” to fix that just before impact. Really ? How do the eyes cope with that change at the last moment ?. The “in-to-out” emphasis of S&T is good BUT does encourage conditions which create shanks, by the clubhead moving out, and makes a fade with backspin difficult with shorter irons….try S&T to a tight pin over a bunker. one last point: making a golfer not have weight transfer is like telling a baseball pitcher to keep his leading foot on the ground all the time…..good luck with that. Sure weight transfer can be “overdone” but, keep it inside the trailing foot line…as all great golfers have always done and that is a control.

      • ed

        Jun 21, 2015 at 7:38 am

        Hitting a golf ball is nothing like a pitcher throwing a ball.
        It’s more like a hockey player winding up for a slap shot or a baseball player winding up for a powerful hit.Both can be accomplished with the weight staying forward or weight staying back.In golf weight staying back is bad for all clubs except the driver but it certainly can be accomplished with weight forward.
        Speed,spin (left or right),and contact are much more important that moving back and forth.Moving back and forth almost always creates poor contact and way less coil.

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Instruction

A Guide (Secret) to Better Putting

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Putting is a part of the game where we can all do small things to get better. You don’t have to practice 40 hours a week or have a stroke that gets a perfect score on a SAM PuttLab. The universal answer is to simplify the approach as much as possible.

While being a world class putter is an art form, being competent at putting is probably the least physically daunting task in golf — aside from maybe driving the cart. Putting generally provides the most stress and frustration, however, as our results are almost never aligned with our exceptions, which drives us to create unnecessary roadblocks to success.

That being the case, let’s narrow this down to as few variables as possible and get ourselves holing more putts. First off, you need to have proper expectations. If you look at the PGA Tour averages for made putts, you will find that the rates of success overall are far lower than what we see on on TV on Sunday afternoon. That’s because we are seeing the best players in the world, who in a moment in time, are holing putts at a clip the average plus-handicap club champion couldn’t dream of during a near death experience on his way to walking into the light.

If you have ever seen golf balls rolled on a stimpmeter ramp (the device used to measure green speed), you have probably seen something shocking. Golf balls rolling perfectly — the perfect speed, on a perfect green, on a perfectly straight putt — sometimes miss on both sides of the hole on consecutive efforts.

This is a very important point. The farther you get from the hole, the less control you have over making the putt. That’s why actually making putts outside a few feet should not be your priority. Hitting the best putt possible is your only priority. Then be resigned that the putt will either go in or it won’t. This might seem defeatist, but it’s not; its just a perception change. If you judge yourself on whether the ball goes in or not, you are setting yourself up for failure. If you judge yourself on whether or not you hit a good putt, you will be more successful… and you’re going to make more putts.

This sounds like something you’d hear at a Tony Robbins positive thinking seminar, but it has proven successful for every one of my clients who has embraced it. So what’s the secret to hitting the best putt possible each time?

Simplify the process.

  1.  Read the green to the best of your ability.
  2.  Pick a line and do your best to set up to it.
  3.  Do your best to hit the putt solid and at the right speed.

Reading the green is something that gets better with experience and practice. Some will be better than others, so this is an intangible thing that countless books are written about. My advice is simple; DON’T OVER THINK IT. Look at the terrain and get a general sense of where low point is in relation to the hole.

The reason why perfect green reading and perfect alignment are overrated is because there is no one line to the hole. The hole is over 4-inches wide and putts break differently with changes in speed and solidness of contact. I saw a video at the Scotty Cameron Putting Studio many years ago of dozens of PGA Tour players. There was a worm’s-eye camera on a 4-5 foot putt that was basically straight on the artificial grass. Few were aimed at the middle of the hole and many weren’t even aimed at the hole at all… but I didn’t see one miss.

So have a look at the terrain and be decent at lining up in the general direction that will give a chance for a well struck putt to go in or finish close enough for a tap in. Simple. After rambling on for several paragraphs, we get to the heart of how you can improve your putting. Narrow it down to doing your best to hit a solid putt at the right speed.

The “Right Speed”

I ask people after they addressed a putt how much attention they pay to line and speed. Any answer but 100 percent speed is wrong. You’ve already read the putt and lined up. Why is line any longer a variable? Plus, have you ever missed the line on a 20-foot putt by 5 feet? Maybe once in your life on a crazy green, but you sure as heck have left it 5-feet short and long on several occasions.

Imagine I handed you a basketball and said shoot it in the basket. Or what if I told you to toss a crumpled piece of paper into the trash? Having the requisite coordination is an acquired skill, but you wouldn’t grind over innocuous details when it came to the feel of making the object go the right distance. You’d react to the object in your hand and the target for the right speed/distance.

Putting is no different, save one variable. There’s the sense and feel of how the the green interacts with the ball, and that’s a direct result of how solidly you hit the putt. If you use X amount of force and it goes 18 feet one effort and 23 feet the next, how are you ever going to acquire speed control? That is the mark of almost every poor lag putter. They don’t hit putts consistently solid, so they never acquire the skill of distance control.

Since speed is a learned reaction to the terrain/target and consistency is a direct result of how consistently solid you strike the ball, that is what we’re left with.

Learn to Hit Putts More Solid

The road to better putting is as simple as hitting your putts more solid. Put most/all of your effort into what it takes to hit more putts solid. Now for each individual, it’s less about doing what’s right. Instead, it’s about avoiding movements and alignments that make it difficult to hit the ball solid. It would take an encyclopedia to cover all of the issues that fall into this category, so I will list the most common that will cover more than 90 percent of golfers.

The most common one I see — and it is nearly universal in people who are plagued by poor lag putting — is excess hip rotation. Sometimes there’s even an actual weight shift. Think of it this way; take a backstroke and stop. Rotate your hips 20 degrees without moving anything else. The putter and the arc is now pointed left of your intended line. You have to shove it with your arms and hands not to pull it. Good luck hitting it solid while doing all of that.

I had a golf school in Baltimore and told this story. Ten of the 15 people there assured me they didn’t do that. After 8 people had putted, we were 8-for-8. No. 9 said, “There is no ******* way I am going to move my hips after watching this.”

The entire group laughed after his putt told him he was wrong. The last 6 did everything they could to avoid the fault. We went 15 for 15. Many people are unaware that this issue is so dire. If you add the people that are unaware they have this issue, we are near 100 percent of golfers. I have gotten emails from 8-10 of them telling me how much their putting improved after all they did was focus on minimizing hip rotation and just hitting the ball solid.

This issue is not just the bane of average golfers; I’ve had several mini-tour players with putting issues improve with this. We are all aware Fred Couples would have won many more majors if not for a career-long battle with his putter. Watch the next time he misses a 6-foot putt to the left. As you will see, it’s not just a problem for a high-handicappers.

The best way to judge and practice avoiding this, it putting with an alignment stick in you belt loops.  If your hips rotate too much, the stick will definitely let you know.

Other issues include the well know chest/sternum coming up too soon in an effort to see the ball go in the hole, as well as:

  • Not aligning the putter shaft properly with the lead arm
  • Grip pressure issues (too much and too little)
  • Too much tension in neck and shoulders
  • Poor rhythm
  • Long back stroke

I could go on and on and on. The main point; find out why you aren’t hitting putts solid and do whatever it takes to do so, even if it’s something crazy like a super wide-open stance (with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek). See the Jack Nicklaus picture at the top of the story.

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Instruction

WATCH: How to Improve Your Golf Club Release

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Many golfers release the club way too early. The low point of the swing moves back and they hit the ground behind the ball or pick the ball clean off the top of the surface. They then dream of “lag” and the “late hit” trying to achieve this by thinking of holding on the the wrist angle too long.

In this video, I share a drill that it will improve the way you release the club.

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Instruction

Alistair Davies: My 3 Best Swing Tips

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In this video, I share with you my three best swing tips. Watch the video to get on the path to lower scores straight away.

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19th Hole

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