Bill Wilson

Putting third of three – illuminate the three putts

In this article we will cover basics to the set up and swing of putting. Always remember though we are all individuals with our own set up and swing so before making any changes make sure that the changes are appropriate for you. We are not robots. I will explain a few fundamentals that are important and very common. You may not have these in exactly in place but should be very close.

Set up position: Weight centered or positioned favoring your target side. Never back of center or trail side. I will again explain target and trail side as some are new to these articles. You will not read in these articles right or left and never right or left-handed. What you will read is target or trail side. After setting up to your ball and aligning yourself and clubface at the target imagine splitting your body in half. Closest half is your target side and farthest away half is your trail side. For example a right handed players left foot is the target side foot. As well the right foot of a left hand player is their target foot. Ball position opposite where your weight is. In other words, weight centered ball centered. This allows the putter shaft to be vertical not leaning. Shaft position is so important. Shafts that are tilted forward or backward will cause the ball to bounce when struck with the putter head. Not a good thing.

Griping your club is very much individual. There are so many ways to grip a putter. Your objective though is a hand position that helps to illuminate wrist action in the swing. There is no wrist action in the putting stroke.

Even if your hand position does not help in illuminating wrist action be aware that a good putting stroke has no wrist action. This allows for on line shots and better control of the distances the ball needs to travel. Finally your eyes right over the ball. This may mean having to bend more forward from the waist. This makes it easier to swing the clubhead straight back away from the ball and straight through on your intended line. If your putting stroke is such (along the intended line of the putt) and no wrist action so clubface stays square to the line) you will always roll the ball on the line.

The above solves your direction but what about the most important thing. The right distance? This is totally controlled by the length of your swing. If the rhythm and the pace or tempo (speed) of your swing is consistent for all your putts then it is only the length of swing that determines the distance your ball will travel.

If your rhythm and tempo are inconsistent then so will be your distances the ball travels. Everyone has a different rhythm and tempo so find yours and use these for all your putting.

Three putts and more come from distance errors. Very seldom are caused by direction errors. Take for example a 20 foot putt. How often do you ever hit this shot more than two feet off line. Hardly ever right. How often do you hit this shot four to five feet past the hole or short that distance. Often right. It is not hard to see where your three or more putts come from. Not direction but distance. Putting procedure is.

Decide what the direction is for your putt. Commit to it. In other words, do not second guess yourself no matter what. First read is the plan. Set up and aim your putter face on the intended line. This may be one foot to the left of the hole because of side slop. Your ball will move one foot down the side slope. Not straight.

Once set up and on line turn your focus 100 percent to distance only. Try to feel the length of swing that is required to have your ball roll equal to the hole or better yet just a foot or so past if it misses. A ball that has enough momentum to get to hole has a chance of going in.

A ball stopping an inch short of the hole will never go in. So always enough momentum to go a short distance past the hole. Illuminate the three putts.