Putting technique explained

Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Neil Plimmer has some basic putting keys to help you hole more putts and shoot lower scores.

Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Neil Plimmer talks through the essential putting technique including the five key principles to a solid stroke

As anyone who plays golf regularly will know, putting is a game within a game. You can strike the ball well all day, mastering the seemingly harder side of the game but if you consistently three putt, you'll walk off disappointed. But how much time should you pay to your putting technique, and how much to feel. The answer to that question is that both are important but here I'll focus on the putting tips that will groove amre consistent stroke.

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Putting tips

One of the most off-putting things you can see is when the putter head wavers and wobbles off line as you take it back.

This will kill your confidence in the basic mechanics of the stroke, but the good news is that it’s often easily rectified.

Once you have set your spine angle and got yourself into your putting posture, make sure your elbows are connected to your midriff.

From there let your arms hang naturally down. It amazes me how often I see amateurs pushing their hands away from them, or pulling them towards them at address.

Fighting gravity in this way is a battle you’ll always lose and it is the biggest cause of a wavering clubhead.

So why not set up in front of a mirror at home and check that your arms are hanging naturally at address. A simple adjustment here could make all the difference.


Rotate, don’t rock

It is one of the phrases you often hear coaches use, ‘create momentum by rocking your shoulders back and forth’.

For me, however, this thought provokes entirely the wrong move, as your elbows become disconnected from your body.

Instead, the way to think about it is to rotate your rib cage around your spine.Crucially, your arms need to be connected to your body, working together with this rotation.

Get it right and you’ll find the big muscles will take more control over the stroke, giving you the reliability and consistency you need.

Engage your chest and back muscles at address, and as long as your elbows are connected to your midriff, it will be the big muscles that dictate the length and speed of the stroke.

Five putting stroke principles

You might think it strange for me to say, but many of the same factors apply between your full swing and your putting stroke.

The ball is on the ground and you are side on to your target, so you need to swing around yourself. The two differences are the length and the speed.

It is important therefore that you understand the five impact factors – the angle of the clubface, the swing path, the angle of attack, strike point and speed.

All you need to understand is that the direction the ball goes in when you putt is reliant on the same factors as your main swing.

If you are consistently missing putts right it is possible the clubface is open to the target line at impact (just as it could be if you were pushing your drives).

My advice is to learn the five impact laws and then watch out for any trends in your putting (are you missing right or left regularly?) and use this information to get your stroke back on track.

Strike check

To groove a consistent putting strike, built two gates using tees, as shown. Make the first gate just wider than the putter head, the second just wider than the ball and practise swinging the putter through the first gate to hit the ball through the second. Only with a pure strike will you achieve this.

Pace control

I have already talked about the importance of engaging the bigger muscles to control the swing. If you can do this then all you need to do to hit the ball further is make a slightly bigger swing, master it and you'll be far better at lag putting.

I often see players attempting to control the distance they hit the ball on the green through the speed of the stroke, but this will not deliver the best consistency. So engage the big muscles, turn around your spine and let the length of the stroke dictate distance.

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