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A forward press is a technique that some golfers

use to initiate their putting stroke. 


Beginning your backstroke from a stationary position can be difficult. Moving your hands forward in the take-away can help you to achieve a smoother start.

Starting the Backstroke

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson

Putting is at the precision end of golf. To putt well you need to have a putting stroke that moves smoothly backwards and forwards.

Many golfers struggle to initiate a smooth backstroke from a stationary start. As hard as they try there is an involuntary wobble at the beginning of their stroke that moves their putter off-line as it goes back.

Conscious of the erratic path of their backstroke they compound their problem by freezing over the ball on a short putt. Left unchecked this mental block can eventually lead to the yips.

Steady Hands

Operating Theatre

Steady Hands Essential

Unfortunately when the cards were dealt, not everyone was blessed with steady hands and a natural ability to block out negative thoughts from their mind.

Initiating any movement from a stationary start is difficult. Fluidity in movement is easier when it is continuous with each motion flowing into the next.

If you watch the athletes at track and field meetings, you will see that the jumpers and pole vaulters rock forwards and backwards before they set off. The act of rocking helps them to start their run in.

Forward Press

Paul Lawrie Open Champion 1999 Carnoustie

Paul Lawrie

In putting the same idea is used in the forward press. It is easier to start your backstroke if you first press slightly forwards in the opposite direction.

The movement forwards helps the movement backwards. It also helps you to get away from thinking how to start your putter back.

Should you use this technique as a trigger if you are troubled with initiating a smooth take-away?

My view is yes, if it works for you. However, the movement of your hands forwards should be tiny. You don't want to close down your putterface or change the direction of its aim.

Delofting the Putterface

Every putter has a built-in loft angle between two and four degrees. The loft is designed to lift your ball out of its resting place on the green so that it starts rolling on top of the grass as quickly as possible.

If you decide to use a forward press, my advice would be to set up with your putter shaft vertical rather than leaning forward.

Another Technique

Another technique to ensuring a smooth take-away and to relieve the tension in your arms is to hover your putter rather than ground it.

Because your putter is not resting on the ground, there is no surface resistance when you start your backstroke.

Whatever method you choose to help you iron out the annoying zig-zag of your putter path, resist the temptation to watch your putter head as it goes back.

Keep your eyes focused on your ball or your spot. Try also to maintain a light grip to reduce any build-up of tension.

Lastly check your breathing. If you breathe while you putt, your putter will wobble. Either expel your breath or hold it for the duration of your stroke. This is not difficult to do, only difficult to remember.

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Image Source
1 = sportsillustrated.cnn.com
2 = hartvet.co.uk
3 = usatoday.com

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