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Your left shoulder plays an important part

in determining the direction of your ball 


Hold your shape. Stay square as your putter moves through the hitting area.

Keep Alignment Square

The objective on every putt is to stroke the ball when your putterface is perpendicular to your aimline (target line). This will be difficult to do if you allow your left shoulder to rotate backwards during the downstroke or at the moment of impact.

A common fault of golfers who putt poorly is the habit of prematurely turning their upper body in the direction of the hole in order to follow the ball. This movement changes the square alignment established at address.

The more your shoulders swings backwards and forwards in a near-vertical plane, the longer your putter will move parallel to your aimline.

Not maintaining the square alignment of your shoulders through the contact area is not a fault confined to putting.


In the long game a frequent cause of slicing is the failure to hold your alignment as your club enters the hitting area. In other words, there is an early rotation of your shoulders.

This fault is commonly referred to as 'coming over the top'. It is when your swing path tracks from the outside to the inside.

Picture a Laser Beam

I have found that creating a picture often helps to correct a fault when you have to rely on self-coaching. It seems that we learn better when we have an image to guide us.

Here is a picture for you to visualise when you are practising your putting and have a problem of dragging your putts left.

I want you to imagine that you are putting towards a blank wall. Attached to your left shoulder is a laser that beams a spot of light. When you set up at address with your shoulders parallel to your aimline, the spot will point straight at the wall.

Spot rises Vertically

Now as you start your forward stroke imagine the spot moving vertically up the wall in a straight line and not diagonally across it.

In real terms this requires that your shoulders remain relatively square. If you allow your upper body to rotate backwards, the spot will move sidewards rather than upwards which is what you don't want.

Rehearse this move a number of times while moving your shoulders in a pendulum-like motion. In your mind's eye see the spot rising vertically rather than heading off to the left.

Note: You are not deliberately lifting up as this could result in making poor contact high on the ball.

Left Shoulder

More putts that start off line are pulled rather than pushed. This is usually because you have not stayed square through the contact area.

A technique to get the feeling of your shoulders staying aligned is to:

  • Set up at address with your arms hanging down, but without your putter.

  • Take your left arm and extend it out in front of you at shoulder height.

  • Now swing your right arm under your extended left arm as if you were putting the ball.

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Related Topics

common fault