Over the last forty years the putting stroke has changed dramatically. In the past it was common for professionals to stand crouched over the ball with a narrow stance, bent arms, the emphasis of the putting stroke on hand action. Nowadays, however, the hands have been taken out of the putting stroke and the overall action has become a more wooden pendulum swing of the arms and shoulders. But it is important not to dismiss the importance of the hands completely because ultimately, even though very subtle, hand action is responsible for squaring up the putter face.
How to Hole More Putts
Most golfers spend time working on their putting stroke but the majority of training aids that help improve putting deal with the path of the putter, not the face at impact. Even with a pendulum stroke using the arms and shoulders, it is the hands that square up the face at impact – and the hands can be educated. Try this exercise to help bring the putter face correctly into the ball.
Drill to Square up the Putter Face
- Stand next to a doorframe or the side of a wall so you can place the putter face squarely up against a hard surface where the ball would normally be.
- Make a backswing then bring the putter back to the wall pretending to hit a ten-foot putt.
- As the face hits the wall you will immediately feel whether the putter has contacted the wall squarely.
- If either the toe or heel of the putter has contacted the wall first your hands will immediately feel the face twist as it rebounds from the flat surface.
Use Different Hands to Square the Putter Blade
When you have tried the exercise with both hands holding the putter experiment using one hand at a time. This will give you important feedback as to which hand is better at controlling the putter face. First hit a series of ten imaginary putts with just your right hand counting how many times the putter has squared up correctly. Then repeat the exercise with your left hand. It is uncommon for the results to be the same. With this information adjust the pressure of your putting grip so that your best hand dominates. Even if your putting stroke is slightly too much inside out, or outside in, if the face is square at impact you will hit more putts on line.