Lessons on Putting Fundamentals

Putting Stroke - How to Putt Chapter 3

In this lesson you will learn how to make an effective and consistent putting stroke so that you can lower your score and putt with confidence. The main objective in a solid putting stroke is the triangle formed between your arms and shoulders.This triangle must stay intact the whole time you are hitting your shot.

This is where the lower body stays stationary, the head is properly positioned and the upper body, the arms and shoulders, form a triangular shape and moves with a pendulum motion.

Your goal is to swing the putter back and through at the same speed with a sense of rhythm and tempo. You want to keep the club face square at impact and along the target line. You want to stoke the ball with topspin towards the hole.

Upper Body Triangle
Triangle Pendulum Motion:

Begin by forming a triangle with your upper body.

An imaginary triangle is formed between your arms and shoulders. 

During your entire swing you will want to keep this triangle intact and the arms and shoulders working together as one unit.

Similar to the pendulum movement of a grandfather clock is how you want to swing the putter.

Be sure to have almost no wrist or hand action because they will not keep your putter head square and on the target line. Do not allow your wrists to unhinge during your putting stroke.

Putting Stoke Length: The lengthen of your backstroke should be less or about the same distance as your follow through length. A good rule of thumb is to have your back stroke 1/3 the total distance and your follow through 2/3. control distance by changing the length of your stroke and not by trying to apply sudden burst of power with your hands.

For example, you do not want to make a forty foot putt by taking the club back only a few inches and then suddenly trying to hit hard to make such a long putt.

In the illustration to the right on a shorter putt the back stroke and follow through length should be the distance of the two inner guide balls. While the two outer balls mark the putting stroke length for a longer putt.

Your goal is a smooth and flowing stroke with the shoulders moving in a pendulum motion. The key to successful putting is having your shoulders, arms and putter act as one unit. Developing a stroke that is a smooth one piece upper body motion with little to no body rotation.

The Role of Your Wrists: Basically, you do not want your wrist to be playing any role in your putting stoke. What you do not want are your wrist to flex like in the picture to the right.

Wrists Hinging
On very long putts it is okay for a little amount of wrist hinging because it starts to become too hard to keep your lower body stable and your posture correct.

Back Stroke
The Back Swing: 
Move the putter head back along the target line.

Maintain your triangle position and keep your lower body still and your head still with your eye focused on the ball.

As you move your putter back along the target line your left shoulder will lower and your right shoulder will rise. See the image to the right.  The left shoulder lowers while the head remains steady.

Head Stays Still while Shoulders Turn

Down Swing: The goal is to return the club head square at impact. Your upper body should be working together and your putter should be low to the ground.

Maintain a smooth and steady pace and let the club accelerate naturally.
Allow your shoulders to rotate during your stroke while keeping your head and lower body still.

Keeping a constant speed through out your stroke is important.

The Follow Through: The left wrist should remain flat and the right shoulder will lower. The putting stroke will continue along the target line until the length is the same as the back swing.

Stay focused on the ball and do not look up until well after you hit the ball and fully finished your back swing. It is common for golfers to look up and simply fail at this because they are anxious to look up too soon. 

Lower Body: Keep your feet, knees and hips from moving. Movement in the lower body will throw off your upper body off and cause an incorrect swing path.
Lower Body is Still & Upper Body is One Piece

Wrists: You want to keep the left wrist flat during impact. Movement of your wrist may add unnecessary power and prevent the putter head in going in the right direction.

Eyes:  Your eyes should always be directly over the golf ball and be parallel to the target line.

Pace and Rhythm: Develop a smooth and flowing putting motion and accelerate through the ball. Your stroke should have the same pace on the back swing and follow through but remember it is important that it increase speed as it makes contact with the ball

Summary Steps to Follow: 
  1. Form a triangle between your arms and shoulders
  2. Begin by moving the putter head back a long the target line.
  3. Have your arms swing the putter back along the target line. 
  4. Do not putt with your hands or wrists. 
  5. Keep your lower body stationary.
  6. Keep your hips, knees and feet from moving. Movement in the lower area is not necessary.
  7. Keep your head still with your eyes always focused on the ball. 
  8. Once you reach the end of your back swing, use your upper arms to swing the putter back and through the ball.
  9. An important key is the position of the left wrist. Keep it flat and the left arm, wrist, and hand should form a flat straight line. 
  10. Remember to eliminate any unnecessary motion. If your left wrist bends then you are adding power at the wrong time. You are also changing the direction of the putter head.  
  11. Maintain your triangle between your arms and shoulders. Lower body stays still. 
  12. Keep your head down through out the putt.
  13. Remember that the left wrist remains flat during the follow through.
In the next two How to Putt Chapters we will be covering how to effectively read greens.

Continue to Next Lesson Reading Greens Part One

List of all Articles & VideoTips