Putting
Gap

A small putting gap between your ball and

your putterface can make a big difference.


IN SHORT

There is an advantage of leaving a small gap between your putterface and the ball rather than butting the putterface hard up against it. It helps you to avoid snagging the grass on your takeaway.



Ball Position

The position of your ball in your stance can vary from just in front of a vertical line from the centre of your chest to the ground to one or two inches forward of this line.

Putting Gap

In a conventional setup with your weight evenly divided between your feet the bottom of the arc of your putter, as you swing it back and forward, will be in the middle of your stance. It is at this point that the sole of your putter will contact the putting surface.

Because you position your ball forward of where your putter contacts the ground in order to catch your ball on a slight upstroke, there is a possibility that you could snag your grounded putter during your take-away.

If you watch carefully you will notice that many golfers lift their putter off the ground just prior to the start of their backstroke. This acts as a precaution against the possibility of catching the turf.

It is also easier to execute a smooth take-away from a moving start. Lifting the putter acts much in the same way as the forward press.


Take-away

There are other ways of achieving a smooth take-away.

  • One way is to hover your putter so that it is not pressed down in the grass.
  • Another is to leave a small putting gap behind the ball so that your putter is positioned at the bottom of its arc and not forward of it.

Advantage of Putting Gap

There are additional advantages of using a small putting gap rather than butting your putterface hard up against the ball.

  • It is easier to see the top line of your putter when its outline is contrasted with the grass. By positioning your putter off the ball, you remove the visual distraction of the ball.

    Even though you may have other alignment aids on your putter head, these are not as useful. A straight line 90 degrees to your aimline (target line) is a better gauge to test the accuracy of your aim.
  • The other advantage of a small gap is that by focusing on it throughout your putting stroke you can restrain any unwanted head movement.


Head Movement

Research by Professor Timothy Lee of McMaster University has revealed that it is not possible to hold your head perfectly still.

The difference between poor putters and good putters is the direction of their head movement. Poor putters move their head in the same direction as they move their putter – a swaying motion off the ball.

Good putters' head movement, however slight, shifts in the opposite direction to their putter as if the head is acting as a counter-balance.

Of course you could achieve the same result of minimising your head movement by focusing on the ball rather than a small gap behind the ball.

Gap behind Ball

It is a common flaw for golfers to track the movement of their putter on the backstroke and then turn their head and shoulder frame at impact in anticipation of seeing where their ball is heading. It can be a hard habit to break.


Picking a spot between the putterface and the ball, or even a spot just in front to the ball as a point of focus is a better way to quieten any head movement as well as execute a smooth stroke.


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Related Topics
(Highlighted)

position of your ball

conventional setup

forward press

top line of your putter

alignment aids

focusing on the ball

hard habit to break