Putting part 3 The Stroke
By T.J. Tomasi
The mechanics of good putting depend on both direction and distance control. As you align your body and aim the putter face, you automatically fix the geometry of direction. Once you are aimed correctly, all you need to do is apply the correct amount of force for distance.
Rather than call these “rules of the stroke,” let’s call them guidelines, a less-restrictive term that provides a big tent under which I house the many theories on how to putt. And there are many.
1. Relax your arms, neck and shoulders with a firm grip in the hands. It’s not a squeeze, but it is an anchor that keeps the clubface in position while the entire assembly moves.
2. Allow your shoulder tilt to move the putter head. Think of the top of your spine as a fixed axis or fulcrum around which the shoulders act like a teeter-totter.
3. The shoulders
also move on a slight arc around the top of your spine. Thus the clubhead moves up and down by virtue of the shoulder tilt, and it moves on
its arc due to a slight shoulder turn.
4. Use the image of an equal backstroke and through-stroke with no force added to or subtracted from the stroke, i.e., the force is produced by the amplitude (length) of the stroke. You may have a longer through-stroke than backstroke, but it occurs by momentum, not by manipulation. Let the clubhead swing like a pendulum with no batting or hitting.
5. To maintain touch, a bit of cupping is allowed in the target wrist (left for right-handers) so the clubhead swings past the hands and fully releases through impact.
So much for the theory that the body stays perfectly still while you putt with only the arms moving. In fact, the correct stroke mimics in miniature the full swing where the shoulders both tilt and turn. Of course, on short putts these micro-movements are hard to see, but they are present.