There’s only one thing all golfers know about their round before they tee off on the first hole: in the end, unless they jar a shot from off the green, they’re going to sink 18 putts.
The trick to scoring well is not to also miss 18 putts.
It’s almost impossible to be a really good golfer if you aren’t a good putter. But, according to PGA teaching professional Todd Kolb, a USGolfTV.com contributor, you can’t be a good putter if you don’t have the proper relationship between your shoulders, your arms and your hands.
“The most common mistake that I see as a golf instructor when it comes to putting,” Kolb says in a video posted on You Tube, “is people get very ‘wristy’ or ‘handsy’ when it comes to their stroke.”
When you putt, Kolb explains, you need a source of power to propel the putter into the ball. “We don’t want that power source to be the hands, we want the power source, in my opinion, to be the shoulders.”
If that has you scratching your chin wondering how to tell if your shoulders are doing the work properly, Kolb’s 76-second video above includes a demonstration of a practice technique that will ingrain the proper putting stroke mechanics.
The drill can be done on any practice green with just a putter and a few golf balls. Start by holding your putter in your dominant hand; that is, a right-handed golfer should hold the putter with just his or her right hand. Make sure the right arm is snug into your right side then take your left hand and place it on your right shoulder. Take some putts from approximately 10 to 15 feet from the hole.
“What you’re going to feel is actually your left shoulder turning as you hit a few putts. Your focus and your attention should be on your shoulders rotating and turning versus the arms and the hands.”
Kolb says that when you stroke a putt correctly, the shoulder turn provides the power “and your arms and your hands can become very passive. One of the keys to being a great putter is to putt with your shoulders. I know that if you putt more with your shoulders and get those hands out of there, you’re going to make more putts.”
No one can ever eliminate all three putts but you can cut down their frequency by practicing this drill to ensure that your putting stroke is mechanically sound.
Even then you’ll still only make 18 putts per round, but hopefully, you’ll miss a few less.