There are as many variations for the putting stroke as there are for the golf swing.
The putting stroke mechanics in this article are based on the straight back straight through stroke, but the elements can be applied to other methods as well. A putting stroke that gets out of sorts is normally caused by a component of the set up.
It happens slowly and silently until you start experimenting and moving things, doing all you can to compensate for the poor putts and being uncomfortable over the ball. The mechanics listed are basic set up and putting stroke components. Carefully go through the checklist to make sure your putting stroke mechanics are in order.
1. Grip- The palms face each other because the hands influence the putter face. The hands should not cause any rotation of the face, therefore the grip should be neutral. Placing the club in the palms (lifelines) should promote a neutral grip and prevent rotation.
2. Posture- Your posture directly affects where your arms hang in your set up. Although ideally you should bend from the hips to give your arms room to hang, it’s sometimes not comfortable. Your posture is also regulated by how you need to stand in order to get your eyes over the target line at address.
3. Arms hang straight down from shoulders- Letting the arms hang down will make it easier for the club to be stroked more on a straight line back and through. Hands that are inside the shoulder line create a reverse arc (out to out) while hands outside the shoulders will create a conventional arc (in to in.)
4. Eyes over the ball or on the target line- Your eyes tell you where to roll the ball. If your eyes are too far inside the target line your brain is telling you that you are lined up to the left of the target and need to hit the ball out to the right to get it to the hole. If they are too far outside the target line the eyes tell you to pull the putt left.
5. Forearms start in the same plane- Think of this as alignment for your forearms. If you start your stoke with the right forearm below the left it will either cause your arm to come through higher than it started, or it will cause the right arm to tuck in even more on the way through to hold the face open. For every action…..
6. Shoulder alignment- The shoulders need to be parallel to the line you are putting on. Since the putting stroke is so short the shoulder alignment has a huge influence over path.
7. Lower body wide enough to stay on balance. The alignment of the feet does not matter as much as the shoulder alignment because putting is a short, passive motion.
8. Your putter should be in the center of your stance. The ball then should be just ahead of center. If your ball position is too far back the hands will slow down and fall behind the putter head on the forward stroke. Ball position is paramount with any putting method.
9. Use equal energy to stroke the putter back and through, but don’t regulate the forward stroke too much. Let gravity take over the forward stroke. The idea is that the length of the putt on the forward stroke is slightly longer than the back stroke.
10. Find a tempo that is right for you and try to keep that same tempo on both short and long strokes.
11. The face of the putter has more influence over the direction of the putt than the path does. A square club face at impact is the key to being consistent. You could stroke the putter left of the target line but if the face is pointing down the target line the ball will head in that direction. The face is influenced mainly by the hands and arms.