How to Make More Putts and Cure the Putting Yips!
It’s time for a more analytical approach to putting that takes the hands and arms out of the stroke, leaving you with pure and correct putting technique. Save strokes and make more putts!
Most bad putting technique comes from a few reasons, so here are those reasons and some fixes to consider:
1. Poor Setup/Alignment/Posture – make sure to address each putt the same way every time; get the ball directly below your eyes (try measuring this at home to get the feel or just extend your putter below your eyes and let it hang) – that’s where the ball should be; move the ball slightly forward in your stance so you’re not hitting down on the ball
2. Hands/Arms vs. Shoulders – use your shoulders to make your stroke (don’t let the hands/wrists get involved). We tend to use our hands and wrists to guide the ball toward the target or to make in-stroke modifications based on the feedback our body is sending our brains. While this may help you from hitting the ball way too hard or soft, it will not help you hit your putts on the right line.
3. Rhythm/Tempo – keep the same rhythm/tempo for all putts – shorter strokes should be slower overall while longer strokes should be faster (the time it takes to make each stroke – regardless of how big it is – is generally the same).
4. Stance – keep the exact same width stance for all of your putts. This will help with the next phase of learning how to putt more consistently.
5. “Putting” it all Together. Once you’ve done #1-4, then it’s time to learn how far each length of stroke rolls the ball. Measure it against a reference point (I typically use a putter length backswing, then the inside of my right foot, then the toe of my right foot, and then the outside of my right foot, etc.). If I take it back to the toe on my right foot and make the swing I’ve learned from steps #1-4, the ball will roll ~12 feet on a standard green. This takes a little while to get used to and a little practice on greens of different speed, but once you’ve mastered this technique, adjusting your putting to new green speeds becomes relatively simple. When you go to a new course, you can quickly adjust by learning how far each of your “strokes” rolls the ball. If there isn’t a flat green to practice on, try putting up and down a hill and averaging out the distances those putts travel to get a sense for the distance a putt will roll on a flat portion of a green. For faster greens, my previously mentioned stroke will roll the ball 14 feet and on slower greens, 10 feet. Every course is different, but it only takes a 10-15 minutes to fully calibrate your putting to new greens.
Note: Remember to walk off the distance on all your putts to better get the sense for what length of stroke you need to use. This doesn’t need to take a long time. Do it when you approach the green or pull the pin or when you want to take a look at the break from the other side of the hole. You can adjust the distance and stroke length if the putt is uphill or downhill based on experience with how much the slope effects the distance your ball will roll.
This technique can also help cure the putting yips. The putting technique detailed above is meant to cure the acceleration and deceleration that takes place in most people’s putting strokes. Typically, they either take the putter back too far or too short and have to compensate by slowing or speeding things up on the downswing –> yielding a push or pull stroke far too often. Some golfers quit the game because their putting gets so bad.
This putting stroke and technique should help you build confidence in your putting, and you’ll start hitting putts the right distances which makes it easier to pick the correct line. Once you’ve selected your proper line and know the length of stroke you must take and taken your stance with that in mind, then just focus on using your shoulders to make the desired stroke. You no longer have to be focused on the hole and using your arms/hands to adjust for poor technique.
Good luck and I hope this advice helps you fix your putting. Follow us on Facebook for future updates. We’d love to have you as part of the GolfStrat family!