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Golf 101: How do I putt?

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May seem like the most mindless aspect of the game, but it’s actually the polar opposite. How many times have you seen a new golfer seemingly wonder, “how do I putt?” then stand up to a putt and either pull it back like a 1/2 inch and gun through it or take it back knee-high and hit the brakes at impact?

The point is, new golfers rarely understand the idea of controlling the pace and violence of the impact.

Without getting into arcs, release, etc., let’s just focus on a simple way to stay in your body and hit a 4-footer. How do we do that? Eliminate as many variables for chaos as humanly possible.

How do I putt?

Four checkpoints to, at the very least, keep the ball on the green and somewhere near the hole.

  1. The Grip: Club falls in the lifelines of your palms. I don’t care if it’s ten-finger, traditional, interlock, cross-handed, or anything else. The point is putting the grip down the lifelines eliminates any tricks your fingers can play and just by association secures your lead wrist in a flat position.
  2. Stance: Feet shoulder-width apart, arms hang under your shoulders and eyes are over the inside part of the ball. The ball should be just shy of the middle of your stance, so split the difference between your lead heel and your pants zipper. Simple enough. Watch Tiger, just like that.
  3. Pick your spot: Find a spot 6-12 inches in front of you and focus on rolling the ball over that spot. A) It will get the ball on your intended line B) It will help you begin to understand the harmony of line and speed C) It gets you focused on your intention as opposed to your stroke.
  4. Toe to Toe Shoulder Rocking: Once you are set up, the ball is properly placed, you got your aim point and now….. rock the shoulders. That’s it. You will see the upside-down triangle you have created with the correct setup, on a pendulum rock that triangle, and by default, the back of the lead hand will lead the train and collect the ball hopefully outta the middle of the face. This is the most important thing (for now), the clubhead never gets past your trail toe and passes all the way to your lead foot for the follow thru. Once you get a sense of speed control you can venture outside of the toe to toe reservation.

Yes, this will take some getting used to and mistakes will happen, but once you get your mental image to match up with your body action its a surefire way to instill sound fundamentals into your stroke all while eliminating all the “extra stuff” we do when learning how to putt. You can put your signature on it once you get the hang of it. One miracle at a time.

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

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