Pop Putting is a distinctive style of putting.
Pop Putting uses a restricted backstroke that helps to keep the putter on line for short putts. However, it is a fine line between a firm brisk putting action and the Yips.
It is a technique where the player gives the ball a short brisk rap instead of using a gentler pendulum-like stroke. It is considered to be more effective for short rather than long putts.
Gary Player in his book Play Golf with Player writes that 'inside ten feet I give the ball a short, sharp rap, what the Americans call a stab or a jab.'
He goes on to say 'I use no wrists and only a very short back swing and follow-through.' However, a closer examination of pictures from his book shows a slight breakdown of his left wrist through impact.
The technique is often associated with Bob Rosburg, 1959 PGA Champion and author of The Putter Book (1963). It refers to the way he would give his ball a brisk tap as opposed to a sweeping stroke.
His two principle theories were:
On today tours with better prepared greens most professionals use a putting stroke with a more even tempo. However, there are a few others who use the tap technique for their shorter putts to great effect. The argument in favour of this style of putting is that by limiting the backstroke, you are cutting down the margin for error.
Brandt Snedeker and Jeev Milkha Singh are recent examples of pop putting.
The argument against this style of putting is that it requires you to develop two separate putting techniques – one for short putting and another for long putting.
In the days of Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper the way to putt was to hinge the wrists with no arm motion. This was essentially a form of pop putting. The technique today is different in that there is no hinging of the wrists in the forward stroke. It is a short sharp jab with stiff wrists.
One of the signs of an inconsistent putting stroke is an uneven tempo. Instead of being smooth, rhythmic and fluid it is uncontrollable and jerky in its execution.
The greatest manifestation of this is when a player develops the yips. It is for this reason that I would not advocate using a style of putting that may in the future lead to this problem.
Certainly you must accelerate the putter into the ball, but this is best achieved using the tempo of gravity. Artificially hitting at the ball and then abruptly stopping your follow-through has more negatives than positives.
If you want to use this style of putting for your short putts you will need good mental control of what you are doing. This is because under pressure many putting strokes disintegrate into a desperate stabbing pass at the ball.
Returning your putterface squarely to the ball can be achieved with practice and without conscious effort using a pendulum-like stroke.
Attempting to consciously limit your backstroke to prevent your putter drifting off-plane can play havoc with your distance control. This could result in you leaving your putt short, but more likely blasting the ball way past the hole.
However tempting pop putting may appear, my advice is that it is probably not a good idea to adopt this style of putting in an attempt to sink more short putts.
1 = Play Golf with Player
2 = www.sportsenergetic.com