Connect with us

Instruction

Rethink how you practice your putting

Published

on

If you want to make more putts, you should begin by concentrating more on the putter face instead of the path that it travels on.

I see many golfers who work on their putting strokes by trying to perfect their path going back and through. If you are one of those players, you may want to re-think things. Research has shown through SAM Puttlab that putter face alignment is responsible for 83 percent of a putt’s starting direction. With that being said, if the path is only responsible for 17 percent of where the ball starts, why are you spending so much time trying to perfect it?

As a golf coach, I used to spend a lot of time trying to perfect the path that the putter travels during the putting stroke. As technology continues to evolve in our industry, however, we have to adapt to help our players improve their performance. When I found out the face angle is five times more important than the path, I immediately had to rethink how I taught putting.

When looking at the best putters of all time, you’ll find that many have different set-ups, grips, stance widths, tempos, ball positions and paths. The only constant is they all square the putter face to their intended starting line at impact and strike their putts at the same location on the putter face time after time.

Chris Dimarco putting
Above: Chris DiMarco has won three events on the PGA Tour using a “claw” putting grip. 

The great thing about putting and putting well is that there are so many different ways to do it. Putting is an individual art and it should be taught that way. Look at players like Loren Roberts and Brandt Snedeker, for example. If someone got to Loren Roberts at a young age and tried to change his notoriously long and slow stroke, he probably wouldn’t be the great putter that he is today.

Brandt Snedeker is the opposite, as he has a very short and quick stroke, but it’s very effective. Would you teach that to someone? Probably not, but both players are able to consistently square their putter to the intended start line and that is why they are great putters!

Kuchar putting
Above: Matt Kuchar has used the “Arm Lock” putting style for four of his seven PGA Tour wins. 

In order to square the face to the player’s intended start line at impact, I have found that it’s very important to get the player’s face angle at address aligned within about 1-to-2 degrees of their intended start line. This makes for less manipulations during the stroke, which will lead to more consistency and more holed putts, especially from shorter distances.

SAM Example

I like to use a few of the drills below to help golfers improve their face angles when putting. After the drills, I have listed a few troubleshooting tips for anyone having issues with the drills. I would recommend you only pay attention to the troubleshooting area if you find you’re having a tough time, otherwise as I stated above, there are many ways to get the ball in the hole and the below drills can help you begin to hole more putts.

The Ruler Drill

This is one of my favorite drills to help face alignment at address and impact. You will first need to find a ruler. If you don’t have one, I would suggest picking up a metal ruler at your local store. They only cost a few dollars.

Once you have your ruler, you need to align it where the golf ball needs to start. This drill should be used no more than 7 feet from the hole. Place the ball at one side of the ruler, square the face to the ruler at address, make your putting stroke and try to keep the ball rolling down the ruler through its entire length. If you can do this, you have done two things.

  1. You have squared the face at impact.
  2. You have most likely struck the ball “square,” allowing it to roll on its intended line.

Ruler 1Ruler 2

The Two Ball Drill

This is a great drill to give golfers automatic feedback of what their putter face is doing at the moment of impact. All you need is two golf balls to start.

Place the two golf balls next to each other and make sure they are both flush with the putter face at address. Make a stroke and pay attention to what both golf balls do after impact. If the heel ball takes off first and travels farther, the putter face was open at impact. If the toe ball goes farther, the face was closed at impact. If done correctly, both balls should roll close together and around the same speed. This will show a square face angle at impact.

2 ball drill 12 ball drill 22 ball drill 3

The Gate Drill

After getting a good feel for the proper face angle at address and impact using the ruler drill and two ball drill, the player can advance to the gate drill. This is a great drill to see how you are progressing after the first two drills.

You’ll see I used two alignment sticks for a good visual, but two tees work just as well. This drill should be started at about 10 feet from the hole and on a straight putt. The player should place the two tees half way between them and the hole. The tees should be about 3-to-4 inches apart.

If the player has good face angles at impact on a solid strike, they will have a great chance of rolling the ball between the two tees and holing the putt. Once the player is successful with the straight putt, they should find a breaking putt and do the same. When working on breaking putts, I suggest that players hit a few putts first to find the apex point. Then place the two tees halfway between you and the hole, and see how well you can do on a breaking putt. As you begin to master this drill, you should move farther back and test how well you can judge line and speed.

2 tee drill

Troubleshooting

If you find that you are struggling with any of the above drills, I’d like to suggest a few items that should help. Many times, improper face angle can be caused by a few of the items listed below. Again, only make adjustments if you are consistently struggling with any of the drills.

  • Setup: Bend slightly from the ball joints of the hips. Your triceps should rest close to your rib cage, ball position should be slightly forward of your nose, hand position should be between your nose and forward eye and no matter what grip you use, it should run through the lifelines of both hands (with both palms facing each other).
  • Lower body stability: Pretend that the lower body is rooted into the ground and cannot move during the stroke. This will help with face angle consistency at impact as well as overall speed control.
  • Passive hands: Think about using the bigger muscles only. The torso/shoulders do all the work, and the hands should stay passive and maintain the same angle player started at address. Many problems are created because the trail hand gets overactive, effecting face angle at impact.

Luke Donald Putting address 2 Luke Donald Putting BS Luke Donald Putting Impact Luke Donald Putting DS

Your Reaction?
  • 18
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW2
  • LOL1
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK4

Bill Schmedes III is an award-winning PGA Class A member and Director of Instruction at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, the largest golf facility in New Jersey. He has been named a "Top-25 Golf Instructor," and has been nominated for PGA Teacher of the Year and Golf Professional of the Year at both the PGA chapter and section levels. Bill was most recently nominated for Golf Digest's "Best Young Teachers in America" list, and has been privileged to work and study under several of the top golf coaches in the world. These coaches can all be found on the Top 100 & Top 50 lists. Bill has also worked with a handful of Top-20 Teachers under 40. He spent the last 2+ years working directly under Gary Gilchrist at his academy in Orlando, Fla. Bill was a Head Instructor/Coach and assisted Gary will his tour players on the PGA, LPGA, and European tours. Bill's eBook, The 5 Tour Fundamentals of Golf, can now be purchased on Amazon. It's unlike any golf instruction book you have ever read, and uncovers the TRUE fundamentals of golf using the tour player as the model.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Carlo

    Jun 3, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Hi. I need some drills to help with speed of putts. Any useful drills?

  2. Pingback: Rethink how you practice your putting - I'd Rather Be Golfing

  3. TheCityGame

    May 30, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I don’t like the “gate drill” on breaking putts. There is more than one line to the hole on a breaking putt. Line can’t be separated from speed on a breaking putt.

    That isn’t true of a straight putt.

    The only time I’ve really screwed myself up putting is when I got into the mindset that I could hit perfect breaking putts. That if I hit a putt on an EXACT LINE at an EXACT SPEED, it would go into the hole. It takes the ART, and the FEEL out of it.

    For that matter, I don’t love it on a straight putt. We already have a technique for determining if we hit a straight putt straight. . .it goes in the hole.

    But, I love the idea that you have to be able to roll a putt on your intended line. I just think it can be practiced much more simply. It’s about the only thing an indoor mat is good for, for example.

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 30, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks for the comments. I agree with some of your comments, it’s just a drill to give face awareness to a player, not sure how it could be much simpler, especially if you go in the order the drills were listed. It’s a progression

    • The dude

      Jun 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      All putts are straight…….

  4. Jadon

    May 29, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I feel like I am a “better than average” putter. I have recently noticed that I’m getting a big hop off the ground off the face of my putter. What am I doing wrong?

    • Pure

      May 29, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      You’re hitting down on it too much, may be you have started to move the ball too far back in your stance at address for some reason

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      I agree with Pure that your hitting down on it too much causing the ball to strike turf and jump up abruptly. Ball position is important but so is the effective loft on your putter. Make sure you don’t have too much forward press effecting loft at impact. I recommend putter fittings to all students as it’s very important to find the correct loft and lie to fit your stroke. This helps produce a true roll.

      Drill: Grab three coins and stake them on-top of each other. Address the coins and try to pick the top coin off the pile. This will help improve your rise angle through impact.

    • Frank Ramsey

      Jun 3, 2014 at 12:32 am

      Stop looking before you hit the ball and this will avoid the ‘hop off the ground’

    • Scott

      Jun 9, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Keep the putter lower to the ground on the take-away….problem solved

  5. Philip

    May 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Love the exercises – will add them this weekend. Personally I don’t care about my stance when putting, whatever feels relaxed at that moment is what I go with. The result is that I never putted straighter with such great distance control.

    • Jadon

      May 29, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Hm…I try to set up maybe one ball left of center (right handed), I’ll try to move it forward a ball or two and see if that gets it rolling quicker, thanks for the tip

      • Bill Schmedes III

        May 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm

        Jadon, see my post above. Hope that helps. Thanks

        • Jadon

          May 30, 2014 at 9:59 am

          Bill, I went to the practice putting green and hit about 20 putts yesterday. I adjusted the ball forward in my stance and I’m pretty sure it was working, the greens weren’t great so I couldn’t tell exactly how smooth the ball was coming off the face but it definitely wasn’t jumping. I will work on the coin drill this weekend for sure, I have a competitive round scheduled for Saturday, I’m pumped now, thanks for the drill.

          • Bill Schmedes III

            May 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm

            That’s great Jadon. Best of luck Saturday!

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 29, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks Philip! Let me know how it goes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Instruction

Clement: The shot that created the short game legend that is Phil

Published

on

We show you how Phil added a lot of longevity to his golf game when he stopped trying to nip and tuck his golf swing and opened up the valves! Then see the most awesome short game shot ever made in competition by far which created the legend that is Phil. See how you, too, can create your own backward flop shot to sharpen your short game and have some fun!

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Instruction

Clement: How grip affects pressure and vice versa

Published

on

This video is a big one! It addresses a huge common flaw that so many golfers have at address where they are not ready to be dynamic with their target but rather are perfectly positioned TO BE STILL WITH THE BALL. This opens up a can of worms for bad contact for thin and topped shots with lack of proper divots, early extension, bad compression, and bad trajectory that can’t perform in the wind. Massively important video coming up!

Your Reaction?
  • 7
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Instruction

Davies: This swing move will change your driving forever

Published

on

Alistair Davies shares with you how to drive the ball consistently well. This magic move will help you hit straighter longer drives. He shares the secret to Rory McIlroy’s success with the driver.

Your Reaction?
  • 13
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending