Sometimes referred to as the SBST putting stroke, the straight back straight through concept of putting is the most familiar and traditional of putting strokes. Common sense says that if you keep the putter path and the putter face on the target line the entire stroke the ball will roll on line. The theory has never come into question. Unfortunately golfers have faced the reality that executing it is much harder than it sounds. For best results the left arm will become disconnected from the chest during the follow through.
If you are a right hand dominant putter that can cause problems because your right hand will want to release. It’s very difficult to do both simultaneously. Some say the Straight Back Straight Through Putting method is too mechanical and if one part of the stroke malfunctions then it throws the putting motion into chaos. They say there is no feel for the putter head.
Nevertheless, the straight back and straight through putting stroke remains the method of choice if only because of its basic premise. Let’s take it apart and see if the SBST putting stroke is for you:
What- The straight back straight through putting concept refers to keeping the putter on the target line and the face square to the path for the entire stroke. The arms hang straight down from shoulders at address to facilitate an up and down motion with the shoulders. The hands do not produce rotation. Moreover, the SBST putting stoke doesn’t account for any rotation except for the shoulders moving around the base of the spine. The player’s eyes should be over the ball or somewhere on the target line at address. This usually means that the player’s posture includes bending from the hips until the eyes reach the ball.
Why- Short putts are less complicated with the SBST method. In your mind you can draw a line to the hole or target line and move the putter on that line. When the pressure is on SBST can be a savior. The straight back straight through putting stroke is the simplest to understand and much easier to diagnose when having problems.
Who- The SBST putting stroke is perfect for left hand dominant putters. In addition, those players who use a left hand low grip will find the SBST beneficial.
Left hand dominant putters don’t normally release the putter. The back of the left hand and the upper arm move in unison.
How- Set up with your eyes over the ball. Bend from your hips to let the arms fall straight down from the shoulders. The ball should be positioned just front of center with the putter being in the center of the stance. Straight back and straight through putters will benefit from using putting tracks, chalk lines and anything that will give the putter a visual of a straight line. A lower lofted putter for a SBST stroke can help reduce skid. You can get the ball rolling sooner by positioning the ball left of center and by using a putter fit for your putting stroke.
Compared to some of the other putting methods used, including the arc putting stroke, the straight back straight through putting method is easy to adapt to. Right hand dominant putters could improve their stroke with a straight back straight through putting stoke if the player has the ability to release the face of the club down the target line.
Left hand dominant putters are often SBST putters because the two match so well. Left hand dominant putters typically keep the entire left arm and hand moving back and through, even though this motion causes the left arm to separate from the chest and the hands feel like they are moving closed to open. Putt some balls with your left hand only and then your right hand only. See which hand is more consistent and what your tendencies are. The answer should help you decide if you should subscribe to the straight back straight through putting stroke or not.