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Ballantrae at Birmingham Instructional Tips

Golf Tip of the Month for December 2018

From PGA Professional Jerry Applegate

Last month we talked about some of the history of putting. This month we will cover techniques and practice drills as it relates to putting.

Many of you have probably heard of Dave Pelz. He is the modern putting guru. He was a NASA engineer who was an avid golfer. He came up with devices that measured the putting stroke. He found that there are 4 variables in the putting stroke (and I agree). They are face angle at impact, path of the stroke, length of the stroke and speed of the stroke. He found that the most important of those is the face angle at impact.

You want the face to be aimed at the target and 90 degrees to the path of the stroke. There are a couple of drills to check this. One is to make a gate out of 2 tees even with the ball and stroke the ball. You want the putter face to be lined up with the 2 tees. This is a drill that Tiger Woods uses all the time. You can also line up 2 alignment sticks (or 2 golf clubs) on the ground and make a track just wider than the putter head. Make your stroke within the track and the putter face should be square to the target (or at 90 degrees with the track) at impact.

The second most important variable is the path of the stroke. The 2 preferred paths are straight back straight through (SBST) or an arced path. I describe these as like a door. The SBST stroke is like a sliding glass door in a track. The arced stroke is like a door that swings back and through on hinges in an arc. Whichever of these you use, the key is to be consistent and to strike the ball with the putter face aimed at your target.

The next variable is the length of the stroke. This determines your distance control (or your “feel”). Learn to be consistent with this variable by practice putting different length putts. You can also lay down an alignment stick (or a yardstick) and practice the length of the backstroke and throughstroke.

The final variable is the speed of the stroke. I call this the flow or the rhythm of the stroke. We want a flowing stroke that has rhythm. We don’t want it short, uneven or choppy. A great way to work on this is by practice putting with your eyes closed. Find a straight 6 foot putt and try it with your eyes closed. You will start gaining an intuitive feel of the length, alignment, rhythm and flow of your stroke. Many Pros practice their putting with a metronome to develop a consistent rhythm in their stroke. Most phones have metronome app now.

The neat thing about a lot of these drills is that you can do them at home. Practice on the carpet or you can buy an inexpensive 9 foot putting mat and practice on it. I hope this helps your putting and we’ll see you out at Ballantrae!


Instuctional Tip

Chris Payne PGA Assisstant                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


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