One of the most frustrating putts in golf is the one where the ball is online all the way to the hole and then stops short. Effectively you have hit a great putt but it never had a chance of going in the hole.
If this happens often and you leave lots of putts short then read on.
We have all heard the saying "never up, never in", but what is the main cause of the ball not reaching the hole?
Generally the answer to this question is deceleration.
Deceleration is when the club head of the putter swings through the golf ball but is slowing down as it does so. When deceleration happens the ball is not hit with the force it should be and therefore it does not have the speed to reach the hole. Also, when deceleration occurs the ball is generally not hit from the centre of the club face as twisting and movement of the club head tend to happen more as the club head slows down. This means that not only speed but consistency is also lost.
Ideally, the putter head should accelerate through the ball giving the golfer a positive, confident action and providing a solid hit that rolls the ball, end over end, consistently towards the hole.
How can we avoid deceleration and accelerate through the ball instead?
Use this drill to practice accelerating through the golf ball when putting.
1. Set up to a six foot putt as normal and position two balls or tees, just outside the putting line, to use as markers for the length of your putting swing. The ball to be hit should be directly in the middle of the two marker balls.
2. Take some practice swings and get a good rhythm making sure that your putter head swings back as far as the back marker ball and through past the front marker ball. This is important as the putter going past the front marker means that it must accelerate through the hitting area.
3. When performing the swing, feel that you are gently pushing through the impact area with the putter head to encourage acceleration through the ball.
4. Introduce the ball and make sure that, just as in your practice swing, the putter swings back to the back marker ball but past the front marker ball. Also make sure that any putts that go in the hole hit the back of the hole before dropping in. If a putt does not go in the hole it must go past instead. Try hitting 10 putts in a row all hitting the back of the hole or going past if missed.
5. Vary the length of the putt.
Use this drill on the putting green to accelerate through the ball and never leave a putt short again.