Putter Acceleration on your downstroke is
essential for accurate distance control.
There are four different ways to swing your putter. Despite these differences they all share a common principle, namely that the putter head should be accelerating at impact.
However, this does not mean consciously speeding up your stroke as your putter head approaches the ball.
The mass of your putter head is enough to send the ball the correct distance. That is provided you have taken an adequate backstroke for the distance you are seeking.
There are four ways to swing your putter:
1. Long Back – Short Through
Decelerating into the ball is a recipe for inconsistency in both distance and direction.
Such a putting stroke has nothing to commend it. It lacks any rhythm. It is a common failing of high-handicap golfers who frequently quit on the putt for fear of sending the ball too far.
If you have this destructive habit, you need to change your putting stroke otherwise your putting will never improve.
2. Short Back – Long Through
This is a better way to swing your putter, but not the best. When you start to artificially speed up your stroke in order to extend your follow through beyond its normal length, you are changing the natural tempo provided by gravity.
With an inconsistent tempo, the actual distance the ball will travel each time becomes harder to judge.
3. Short Back – Short Through
This is known as pop putting. It is a technique that can work well for short putts, but can sometimes cause problems on longer putts.
Unlike the early days of wrist putting, it is important in pop putting to prevent any wrist break down through the impact area. You need to maintain the wrist angles that you have created in your setup.
4. Equal Back – Equal Through
This is the ideal rhythm for a putting stroke. Based on the action of a pendulum clock, the backstroke mirrors the forward stroke in length.
The distance a ball travels is managed entirely by the length of your backstroke. For longer putts you take a longer backstroke. There is no attempt to increase the speed of the forward stroke as a way of compensating for a backstroke that is not long enough.
The advice that you should accelerate the putter through the contact area is sound in the sense that it advises against slowing down the putter before impact. However, it can also pose the danger of over-compensation.
If you hold the top of your putter with your left forefinger and thumb and let it swing back and forth, you will see that there is the natural acceleration of gravity on the downswing. The longer the backswing, the faster the putter head accelerates on the downswing.
The secret of good distance control is to let your putter swing on its own.
There is no need to interfere with the smooth acceleration that gravity provides.
You allow your brain to set the backstroke to the length that is adequate to get the ball to the hole and then let go. Because you are not trying to change the rate of putter acceleration, you will develop a consistent tempo, not one that chops and changes.
Unfortunately the cave dweller in every golfer sees us trying to muscle every shot. We want to take charge, instead of just swinging the club or putter and letting the ball get in the way.