In order to putt well you must be able to putt straight. This ability is at the very centre of putting. However, humans are not robots and our body has many hinging levers or degrees of freedom. You need to manage these levers in such a way that your putterface always returns to square at impact.
Once you can set the ball rolling straight on a consistent basis, you can turn your attention to aiming your putterface accurately.
The putting stroke involves the parts of the upper body moving over the lower body. Each part of the upper body must be managed in such a way that it helps a repeatable putting stroke.
From the point of view of putting the upper body is made up of the head, eyes, shoulders, arms, and wrists. The head and eyes play a passive role with the requirement that they remain quiet throughout the putting stroke.
The Putting Triangle of shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands form the engine of the putting stroke that links with the putter. The integrity of this Y shaped arrangement determines how well you will be able to route your putter.
The biggest culprit in the disintegration of the triangle is any hinging of your wrists. When your wrists get in on the act, the stability of your stroke is in trouble. The recommended putting stroke is a pendulum action orchestrated solely by your shoulders with inactive or dead wrists.
Your lower body forms the foundation of your putting stroke. Unless it has a stable base you will sway off the ball. This leads to an unnecessary variable. The fewer moving parts you have, the more solid and consistent your putting stroke will be.
How you anchor your feet to the ground is personal. However, a wider stance has a greater chance of eliminating lower body motion.
There are three usable putter paths from which to choose. The most natural is a path that mimics that of the full swing.
Even though putter contact with the ball is in milliseconds, square contact is essential in order to achieve a straight putt. To prevent an early closing down of the putterface, many teachers advocate holding the squareness of the putterface slightly beyond impact.
The length of the putting stroke is governed by the length of the putt. However, there are different opinions on whether the forward stroke should match the backstroke. Despite these differences, all are agreed that the putter should be accelerating on contact with the ball.
The dynamics of the putterface are pure physics. The angle that the putterface meets the ball on contact will determine the direction that the ball starts rolling on.
The angle of approach of the putter's path has a lesser effect on the ball's direction than the putterface angle. It is possible to cut across the ball with an open putterface angle and still achieve a straight putt.
The impact pattern of contact on the putterface can marginally affect the direction of the ball. However, a putter with a big sweetspot and a high resistance to twisting largely counteracts the directional effects of poor contact.
The biggest effect of off-centre contact is on the distance the ball travels. Putts off the toe or heel of the putter don't travel as far.
When you have a good understanding of the requirements of making a good putting stroke, you are ready to move on to:
Lesson 5 - Aiming Your Putterface.
Related Web Pages and Ezines
Putting Stroke - Get It in the Hole Any Old Way May Not Always Work
Putter Path - Which is Best for Consistent Putting - Vertical or Arced?
Degrees of Freedom - Too Much Freedom is Detrimental to Your Putting Stroke
5. Body Motion - It's Not Sexy to Be a Mover and a Shaker When You Putt
9. Mismatched Putting Stroke - Is It Detrimental to Your Putting?
16. Forward Press - A Good Or Bad Technique in Putting?
18. Breathing in Putting - Two Important Things You Must Know to Improve Your Putting
21. Putt Straight - A Requirement for Putting Well
25. Anatomy - Why Your Anatomy Makes Putting a Difficult Challenge
26. Left Shoulder - Why Your Left Shoulder Can Help You to Putt Straighter
27. Balance - An Essential Requirement in All Forms of Sport
41. Putting Tempo - Improve Your Putting by Learning How to Putt with an Even Tempo
42. Putter Acceleration - The Need for Putter Head Speed for Distance Control
44. Putting Game - Five Important Points of Difference You Should Know
48. Windy Conditions - How to Avoid a Strong Wind from Derailing Your Putting
56. Left Elbow - Where Should It Point in Your Putting Stroke?
57. Angle of Contact - Why Your Ball Position is Important for Consistent Putting
58. Putter Release - Much Ado about Nothing. It's Square Contact that Matters
59. Putting on Plane - The Key to Accuracy is Staying on Plane before Impact
60. Putting Smart - There is No Right or Wrong Way to Putt, only Smart and Dumb Ways
64. Cut Stroke - Why Using Your Shoulders in Putting can Create a Potential Problem
66. Right Hand - Master, Servant, or Equal Partner in the Putting Stroke?
67. Belly Putter - Stabilising Force or a Crutch for Golfers with Putting Problems?
71. Putting in Sync - The Importance of Matching Your Stroke to Your Posture
73. Shoulders - Should You Rotate Them or Rock Them in Your Putting Stroke?
77. Breaking Putts - What Changes, if any, Should You Make in Your Putting Setup?
78. Aimimg Method X - How to Use the Fall Line to Find Your Aimpoint in Putting
79. Aimimg Method Y - Better Your Aim by Picking an Aimpoint to the Side of the Hole
80. Aimimg Method Z - Putting Through the Hoop at the Apex (Break Point) of the Putt
82. Putter Butt - Where, if Anywhere, Should It Point during Your Putting Stroke?
83. Pendulum Stroke - Is It Still Possible with No Fixed Pivot to Guide Your Swing?
91. Putting Straight - How Good are You at Consistently Hitting Your Ball Straight?
96. Holographic Putting - 3 Static Positions Decide Your Success Rate on the Green
103. Practice Strokes - Improving Your Chances of Holing the Putt or Just a Habit?
104. Putting Dwell Time - How Long Should You Stand over the Ball before You Putt It?
107. Wrist Rotation - A Certain Way to Send Your Putt Off Line
109. Putting Error - Very Common, Easy to Spot, but a Difficult Habit to Curb
111. Left Wrist - The Importance of Letting It Take The Hit in Your Putting Stroke
120. Arm Putting - Allowing Your Arms to Swing the Putter rather than Your Shoulders
122. Putting Compensation - Correcting One Error by Creating Another
123. One-Handed Putting - Forced to Choose, Which Hand would be Your Preference?
124. Putter Pushback - Engaging the Big Muscles and Eliminating the Small Muscles
128. Putting Follow-Through - Not just an afterthought, but important in your Stroke