If you watch any of today’s leading Tour Players when they putt, you may notice a variety of putting styles, set up positions and tempo’s being used.
However, the one thing that all of the best players do when on the greens putting, is to hold their finish once they have played the putt. The finish position is held until the ball is in the hole, or has basically finished moving.
To hold your finish at the end of the putting stroke, you need to swing the putter and as strikes the golf ball, allow it to swing through the ball, along the target line with the face aiming at the target line and your body remaining parallel to the target line, with your eyes still and still looking at the ground where the ball was struck from. The finish position should be a mirrored position of the back swing in that if the putter head moved six inches away from the ball on your back swing, it should finish six inches beyond the ball on your follow through.
The finish position at the end of the putting stroke is deliberately held by better players for several reasons. Initially, the position is held to maintain body alignment so that the putter head is swung directly along the target line, improving the accuracy of the putting stroke. In order to hit straight putts, the putter head must travel directly along the target line, with the putter face aiming directly down this line. The easiest way to achieve this action is to set your body up parallel to the target line. Set your toes, knees, hips and shoulders parallel to the line you want to strike the putt along and then if you swing the putter straight back along this line on your back swing and then straight through on this line into your follow through, with the putter face aiming along the target line, the ball will be accurately hit along it. This promotes very little rotational movement in your body.
If you do not hold your finish position, your body will be moving excessively as your eyes follow the roll of the ball towards the target and as a result, your body turns towards the target. As this happens, the putter head will be swung off the target line on to the inside of it and also the putter face will rotate to the left of the target, making it difficult to hit the putt along the target line accurately.
The second reason that great players hold their finish position is that they can observe the feedback that is available from the putter head. If you putt and do not hold your finish you are losing valuable information about why the ball rolled the way that it did. If you hold your finish and look at the putter head and face position, you can learn what has happened to both as you have struck the ball. You can then alter this appropriately to correct the movement and improve your subsequent putt.
To encourage you to hold your finish position once you have hit a putt, work on achieving the following. Hit the putt and then keep your eyes still and looking at the ground where the ball was just positioned. Hold this position until you believe the ball is at least half way to the hole as a minimum. This will help to minimize any rotating movement towards the target with your body and help to maintain a parallel to the target line position with your shoulders and hips, improving accuracy.
Work on this drill, holding your finish position and then only rotate your head to see the final half of the putt. Now look back down at the position that the putter head finished in for information about the putter head and face position and then feed this into the next putt that you play, making the necessary improvements to improve your putting accuracy.