Putting should be the easiest part of golf, but it can often be a challenge. Let me offer a couple of tips that should help you with that and the rest of the “Putt Family”.
The pitch-and-run shot, in my opinion, is a cousin to the Putt Family, and the ideas I will share with you can work for both. The pitch-and-run is typically from just a few feet off the green with a lot of green between you and the flagstick, using an 8-iron, 9-iron or pitching wedge in most cases.
Let’s start with a glass of wine. For this shot as wells as putts, you need to stay very steady, so imagine that you have a glass of wine on your head and you don’t want to spill it. For very long putts or chips a little bit of movement is ok.
Next, think of having more weight on your foot closest to the hole. This is less important on putts, but some of it is good there are as well. This will help keep you steady and will also allow you to extend the club to the target better. Dave Stockton, the long-time tour player, is one of the best putters and he is a big believer in keeping the weight on the forward foot.
Now that you are set-up and steady let’s talk about striking the ball. Keep the backswing short enough to afford an ample follow-through. One of the most prevalent problems I see is players slowing their stroke through the crucial hitting area. There needs to be a slight acceleration to keep up the speed and to insure the club keeps moving toward the target. Momentum is a key word in golf we don’t hear enough of.
For the pitch-and-run shots and longer putts, make sure you make a solid strike on the ball. Think of driving a small tack into the back of the ball. This will ensure good momentum and enough power to get to the hole.
So there you have it, three keys to improve a simple part of your game. Practice is important for any part of your game, but I think practice on the short-game is over-looked. Think about how often you have been to the driving range and the putting green is empty. Spread out your practice time. These are ideas you can practice at home in the winter, just watch out for that lamp.