In this lesson we are going to discuss the putting stroke. So, by the end of the lesson you will have an understanding of the different styles of putting stroke.
They key to the putting stroke is that you contact the ball with a square putter face, on the sweet spot of the putter. Any contact made with the ball with the club face angle closed or open, will have a negative impact on your putt.
The Putting Stroke Explained
When you are developing your putting stroke you must be able to:
- Start your ball on the line you have chosen
- Be able to control the pace and distance of your putts
To achieve consistency in your putting your need to:
- Maximise the number of times you hit the ball in the centre of the putter face
- Ensure your putter face is square to the target line at and through the impact zone
- Control club head speed through the impact zone
- Control the ball launch angle at impact
You only need to watch a tour event to see that there are many ways to develop a great putting stroke. Some of the differences you could see are:
- The tour players have varying methods of reading greens
- Their putting stances can be different from shoulder width to close together
- They use different putting grips
- Tour players use a variety of putter styles
- Players develop different tempos for the putting stroke to manage distance control
- The have different putting routines
So why are they generally good at putting? Because it doesn’t matter what your putting technique looks like as long as the fundamentals are right.
Types of Putting Stroke
There are 2 main options regarding the stroke, they are:
- The straight back and through method
- An arcing stroke from inside to square to inside
The key to either putting stroke is that you make contact with the ball with a square putter face, on the sweat spot. Any face angle either closed or open at the point of impact, will negatively affect your putt.
Putting Stroke Mechanics
We have discussed the biomechanics of the putting stroke in the Putting Set Up lesson. Once you have chosen your grip and have a sound biomechanical set up, you can start to refine your putting stroke.
Putter Face at Impact
One of the key factors to great putting managing your putter face through the impact zone. Your putter face angle has 5 times more influence on ball start direction (left – right) than your swing path.
Any changes to your putter face angle will also affect the putter’s loft. Traditionally, the standard loft on putters is three to four degrees. Loft is required to lift the ball up and on to the surface for an end-over-end smooth roll. Variations in loft at impact will affect your ability to start the ball online and pace and distance control.
The aim of your grip, stance, posture and putting stroke is to, keep your putter face square through the impact zone and present it with consistent loft.
Keeping the Putter Face Online
Look at the video below and this will give you a visual of what the different putting strokes look like in action.
You will see tour players putting with the ball in the middle of their stance and some with the ball much further forward. Some use an arching stroke some straight back and through. You need to work out what combination works best for you.
How to Select Your Putting Stroke
Putting is such a precise action that is quite difficult for coaches to provide you with the depth of detail that is needed to refine your putting. The level of detail required can be achieved with the Putt Lab technology.
The best way for you to select and perfect your putting stroke is via a lesson with your local professional, who has access to a Putt Lab System.
Later in this lesson, we will look at some of the statistics that are available to you and your instructor when using the technology. With this information you can develop your putting stroke.
Sam Putt Lab Example
A local professional who has a Putt Lab system, will be able to guide you through the process of selecting the best putting grip and fine tune your stance, posture and balance. You can see the difference that this type of technology can make when you compare the results shown on the left.
During the first test, I was using a standard grip, with the ball in the middle of my stance. This gave me some good results but there was a lot of club face movement closing by 7 degrees.
The next test I moved the ball up to a position 2” left of my sternum and adopted a left-hand low grip. This increased my ability to get the face of the putter square at impact by 13%.
An increase in consistency was due to the change in set up. What I really got out of this session was confirmation that the ball position and grip changed was the way for me to go. This gave me confidence that I was heading in the right direction and after a bit of practice my putting improved considerably.
Practice Your Stroke at Home
I would highly recommend that you find a local professional who has this equipment and try it out for yourself. If this is not available to you in your area all is not lost. There are many putting training aids that can help you refine your stroke at home.
Some examples are:
- The spot 360
- Putting mirror
- Indoor putting mat
- Putting laser
The key to any training aid is that it provides you with the ability to focus on a specific skill and that it provides you with instant feedback.
With the putting stroke, we have many skills that we must combine to putter effectively. You must have good stance, posture and balance. A putting mirror is an excellent aid to help you with this.
You need to find a grip that enables you to maintain a square club face through impact. A spot 360 is a great aid for this providing instant audible feedback when you get it right or wrong.
You need a stroke that ensures that you can power the putt and that the putter face is square through impact. A putting laser is great for this providing clear visual confirmation that you have got it right.
If you would like to see some drills with these training aids, go to our Putting Practice Coaching Plan.
When you practice it’s important that you focus on;
- Specific skill
- With aids that provide instant feedback
- With a defined way of testing that you have gained or improved the specific skill
- With enough repetition to ensure that you can incorporate the skill into your putting system and take it to the green
To achieve this, it is important that you practice in a balanced way. Most of your practice say 70% can and should be conducted indoors on a putting matt. The focus should be on the mechanics of stance, posture, balance, grip and stroke.
When you go outside onto the practice green, focus on the art of putting. On green reading pace and distance control. Practicing like this ensures that you use your time effectively and maximises skill acquisition and development.
More Putting Tips
The next lesson in the Putting Fundamentals Coaching Plan is Putting Rhythm.
Please contact Green2Tee Golf by using the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Normally within 48 hours.