Monday, November 22, 2010

Swing Guru - Q & A on Putting

Question: I've been struggling with my putting this season. Is there a generic technique or things I can focus on to improve. When putting, I keep my elbows bent, this was something that was recently pointed out to me as something I shouldn't be doing. After trying to putt with my elbows straight, I just couldn't get used to it. Is this something that I have to stick with and get used to, or would you say it's more personal preference?

A great deal of putting is personal preference and feel, and you’ll see more variation in putting styles on the Tours than you will in the other areas of the game. But if you look at the trends over the years, you’ll see that fewer of the top players are using a bent elbows style, made famous by Jack Nicklaus. Most players now prefer to stand tall, and let their arms hang down naturally, and with this I agree completely. This allows for the shoulders to rock freely, and helps to eliminate excessive hand and wrist action in the stroke. In my opinion, most people use putters that are too long for them. Personally, I’m 6ft tall, and use a 34” putter, and most putters in the shops are 35”. Most people, especially women and kids are not 6ft tall!

So I would recommend adjusting your posture to stand more upright, and allow your arms to hang down naturally when you grip the putter. One of the main fundamentals is to make sure your eyes are directly over the ball at address. This allows you to see the line properly. If you are shooting a rifle, you look directly down the barrel, it’s impossible to aim otherwise. Same is true when putting. So first make sure you’re standing tall, with arms hanging down naturally. Then, line up with your eyes directly over the ball. (You can have a friend stand behind you to check this, or you can drop a ball from the bridge of your nose, to make sure your eyes are over the ball.) After practicing your setup until comfortable, it’s time to work on the stroke. Make sure you rock your shoulders and accelerate the club through the ball. Think “roll the ball”, not “hit the ball”. This will help you make an accelerating stroke. Please email with questions.

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For Swing Guru questions, please email’s Swing Guru is PGA Professional Brant Kasbohm, Director of Instruction at, where you can get affordable, personalized, professional golf instruction over the Internet, and at your convenience.