What is a decelerating putting stroke?
This is a putting stroke where the head of the putter is slowing down as it moves through the impact area with the ball. This can cause two issues for the golfer:
1. Mis-hit putts - As the putter cannot be controlled consistently at a decelerating pace, the putter is liable to move or twist during impact.
2. Poor distance control - A lack of positivity through the ball causes the ball to be hit with different amounts of power on each putt, meaning that many putts come up short while some get pushed way past the hole as the golfer adjusts.
An easy way to spot a decelerating putting stroke is to measure the length of swing of the putter. Mark three things - the ball, the point where the back swing stops and the point where the putter head stops in the through swing. If the back swing length is longer than the through swing length then, chances are that the putter head is decelerating through the ball as it does not have the momentum to reach the same length it did in the back swing.
Practice your technique to stop deceleration with this exercise:
1. Get two head covers and place them on the floor approximately two feet apart.
2. Take some practice swings in-between the two head covers making sure that the putter head just touches both head covers at each end of the swing. Keep the putter swinging in rhythm and make sure that the putter comes to a natural rest at the end of the back and forward swings.
3. Step back a couple of inches and put a ball on the floor so that it is not directly in-between the two head covers but lined up in the centre of them.
4. Hit some putts into the centre of the green but making sure that the putter head still swings back and through the same length as the head covers.
This exercise helps you to feel and equalize the length of the swing of the putter rather than it decelerating through the ball and stopping too early.
Practice this drill to build confidence in accelerating through the golf ball.
1. On the practice green choose a hole to putt to and place a golf club approximately a club's length behind the hole, at 90 degrees to the putt.
2. Get 10 golf balls and putt them to the hole. You get 2 points if you hole the putt, 1 point if the ball finishes in-between the hole and the golf club and -1 point if the ball finishes short of the hole.
3. Aim to finish the game with at least 10 points with no balls short of the hole.
Even if you rattle the ball past the hole, treat this as a positive as the putting stroke is positive and the putter head is accelerating through the ball.
Use this combination of drills and exercises to become a confident, positive putter and hole more putts on the golf course.