A wristy putting stroke occurs when either one or both wrists ‘break down’ and cause a flicking action with the hands.
It is a common fault with many players, especially those who struggle with the putter. Its cause can be routed in either poor technique or mental approach.
To help stop a wristy putting stroke, players should first of all ensure they are gripping the putter correctly, especially in the left hand (for right handed golfers). Players want the grip to run up the lifeline of the left palm. Gripping the putter like this takes a lot of the power away from the fingers which encourage the wrists to become active. By gripping the putter in the left lifeline, the club becomes more a part of the left forearm. This helps stop a wristy stroke.
To take the wrists out of the putting stroke is regarded by most short game experts as a key fundamental of the modern pendulum putting technique. This modern technique sees the hands, wrists and arms held together as one unit whilst the shoulders drive the stroke, rocking back and through with the club acting like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. If the wrists break down during the pendulum technique then the method fails. To practice keeping the wrists firm though impact, focus on keeping the back of the left hand facing down the target line throughout the stroke. If the wrists break down then the back of the left hand will arc upward and face towards the sky. Keep the left wrist firm and pointing down the target line.
As well as being linked to technical deficiencies in the putting technique, a wristy stroke can be caused by anxiety and a poor mental approach to a particular putt. To become a better putter, players need to take a positive, thorough and consistent mental approach to each putt they have. Using some good mental preparation can help achieve this.
Basic putting pre-shot routine:
1. Read the green - make sure before hitting a putt you walk round the hole and judge the slope from multiple angles, not just from behind the ball looking down the target line. The key thing about green reading is not only selecting a line but committing to the choice. Don’t stop reading a putt until you have 100% made up your mind and picked a line and pace, this will help you be more positive about the putt.
2. Practice strokes – Take your practice putts by the side of your ball not only to get the weight of the putt clearer but to imagine the ball rolling into the cup. Using your imagination will engage the brain and allow it to warn the body what to do.
3. Hit the putt with confidence – after the green reading and imagining the ball rolling into the hole, commit to the stroke.
Wristy putting strokes are a common problem with many golfers but can be overcome by practicing good physical and mental technique.