Your Putting Posture is an important part
of your setup at address.
Your putting posture (along with your body alignment) helps you to swing your putter freely without having to make compensatory movements to keep it on track.
The Putting Posture you adopt should put you in a comfortable and balanced position.
Your arms should rest lightly on your torso so there is no separation between them and your upper body. This will keep your putting stroke anchored.
The height of your hands will determine where you should hold your putter.
Your angle of tilt will be about 40 to 45 degrees off vertical with your arms hanging naturally under your shoulder sockets.
Harold Swash, the European 'Putting Doctor', describes this position as letting the blood tingle in your fingers.
|Tilt forward at your hips and let your arms hang naturally under your shoulder sockets|
If your Putting Posture is too upright, your arms will catch on your rib cage making a pendulum-like stroke difficult to execute.
If you are too crouched over the ball, you will put undue strain on your lower back. It can also force you to bend your arms at the elbows and wrists creating tension and a loss of feel.
In his book Lights-Out Putting Todd Sones refers to Four Setup Lines in your Putting Posture.
The First Setup Line is the position of your eyes over the ball. Ideally you want your eyes to be over your aimline, or marginally inside it.
When your eyes are vertically over your aimline with a line from your forehead to your chin horizontal with the ground (see Top of Spine below), your perspective of where you are aiming is not distorted.
The Second Setup Line is your arm hang. Your elbows should hang naturally under your shoulder sockets. By tilting forward at the hips you can set your posture so that your arms and hands hang heavy as gravity acts on them.
This arrangement will create enough clearance from your upper body to allow your shoulders to rock freely in a pendulum-like stroke.
The Third Setup Line is concerned with the distribution of your weight.
You want to be in a balanced position with your weight on the balls of your feet. When you are properly balanced, a line from your hips will extend vertically down to your heels.
The Fourth Setup Line projects a line along the shaft of your putter and your forearms. This alignment helps to promote a one-lever motion.
The achievement of this position is a combination of how you set your hands and wrists on the grip, and the length and lie angle of your putter.
Ideally when you sole your putter, the length and lie angle of the putter will be such that your putter shaft is aligned with your forearms. At the same time your eyes should be over the ball, and your hands should be centred on the grip.
In the past it was customary for golfers to adopt a putting posture where the top part of their spine was more or less parallel to the ground and their head reasonably flat.
Today it is more usual to see golfers set up in such a way that the top part of their spine is at an inclined angle and their head titled up. This is not a good position for aiming accurately.
Harold Swash emphasises the need to adopt a putting posture where the top portion of the axis of the spine is horizontal with the ground. This helps you to make a stroke that is straighter back and straighter through.
The more upright the top part of your spine, the greater the tendency will be for your stroke to move in a tilted arc. There is nothing wrong with such a stroke as long as you do nothing during the stroke to alter the shape of the triangle you formed at address.
However, in a tilted stroke your ball position will take on added importance. This is because there will only be one point in the path of your stroke where your putterface is square to your aimline.
Your left arm should act as an extension of the shaft of your putter. If you check in a mirror, a line along the shaft of your putter should match the angle of your left forearm.
Your right arm helps your putter stay on track in your putting stroke and should be subordinate to your left arm.
A common mistake is to set your right forearm higher than your left. This causes the line of your shoulders to open and point left of your aimline. Your putter path will then follow an out-to-in direction.
Your elbows should hang naturally under your shoulder sockets with no tension supporting them against gravity. There will be a small crook in your elbows as a result of normal muscle development.
If your putter is too long, your elbows will be angled sharply back from vertical and in towards your body in order to sole your putter. This is a held position that creates tension in your upper arms and leads to added grip pressure.
Keeping your right elbow tucked in to your side can help to keep your putter steady. You can also turn your left elbow in a little to avoid rotating your forearms open on your backstroke.
There is a tip that suggests that you arch your wrists up slightly so that your opposing palms have their lifelines aligned with the bones of your forearms.
However, this is not the opinion of Hank Haney who in his book The Only Golf Lesson You'll Ever Need comments that your wrists should be relaxed when you address a putt, and not arched.
Whether you arch your wrists or not, it is more important that you sole your putter on the ground. If your hands are too low, the toe of your putter will be higher than the heel. If your hands are too high, the heel of your putter will be higher than the toe.
You should be free of tension, yet maintain certain body angles in your putting posture. You should avoid putting with stiff legs, at this is not a normal way of standing. Locking your knees contracts the muscles in that area and creates unnecessary tension.