Our Putting Stature (body height) has
changed over the years.
Modern golfers stand taller to the ball than earlier generations. This change in posture puts less pressure on their back.
Like mankind the game of golf has evolved. The aim of the game may be the same, but the means of achieving it have changed over time.
This is partly the result of improved course conditioning, and partly because of better equipment. But is there another reason when it comes to putting?
To the casual observer with little background on the history of golf, the present way of going about the business of putting may not seem that different or remarkable.
However, to the keen student there has been a marked change in how tour players now stand to the ball.
This observation is not to discuss the relative merits of crouching low or standing tall when you putt. It is more to consider the reason why this development may have taken place.
Why are golfers standing more upright when putting than golfers from earlier decades?
Professional sport today is highly competitive. If you want to succeed as a tour player you have to be prepared to follow a relentless practice regime that will test your physical fitness.
When it comes to putting practice, the putting posture will put great stress on your lower back.
Amateur golfers are not excluded from the ranks of tour players with lower back problems.
While they may not put in the same hours of practice, their sporadic play combined with poor fitness and technique exacts the same toll on their body.
Your putting stature has a lot to do with the amount of pressure you put on your lower back.
To quote from The Long View of Improved Putting by R Heyl and G Apple 'The most important benefit of using the long putter is better putting.
Less noticeable, but still important, is the reduced tension on the spine. As posture muscles supporting the upper body tire, the strain on the spine increases'.
Not every professional who uses a long putter is doing so because his nerves are frayed. Some use the long putter because it is easier on their back. Less body tilt allows them to practise longer.
Take the case of Rocco Mediate whose back problems have marred his golfing career. Early on he compensated by going to the long putter. After back surgery and improved fitness he returned to using a conventional putter.
So perhaps the reason why an upright posture is more popular among the professional ranks is because they have worked out that it allows them to practise longer without the damaging after-effect of back soreness.
As amateurs take their cue from the players they see at tournaments, they too have adopted a more upright position.
Setting aside any consideration of back pain, what Putting Stature should you adopt for optimum performance? The answer can be found by referring to web page on the fundamentals of good posture.
1 - 2 = Images from A Golf History by Ted Barrett
3 = www.golfdigest.com