Simple Learning Aid Leads to a True Roll

Simple Learning Aid Leads to a True Roll
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty
and Director of Research

simple learning aid
Distance and direction are the two most important factors on every putt, and the players who allow the clubhead to release correctly (swing back and through around a central pivot point that changes given the player’s style) are the best putters.

The simple teaching aid shown here can help you learn to release the clubhead (square it to the intended line of start) – all you need are two boards and an extra club. Line up the boards at your target so they are aimed directly at the hole – in the photos, I’m hitting a 5-foot putt with no break. Leave just enough room between them for your putter head – about a quarter-inch clearance on each side. Then place the shaft of your extra club across the runners, allowing for just enough backswing to execute the putt at hand. Match the length of backswing to the speed you want the ball to be going when it enters the hole – some are die-putters (ball dropping in on the last few rolls – or jammers where the ball firmly goes in the hole). Whatever your preference, you must learn to match the length of backswing to the desired speed of entry, and this drill is the best one I know of to teach you the matchups.

Many putters use backswings that are too long, giving them only two options — neither of which is good. The first is to make an accelerating stroke back to the ball that sends the putt too far past the cup, especially on downhill putts.

Monitor your misses, and if your profile is to miss long on downhillers, you need this drill. The other is to fail to release the putter head by decelerating in the impact area. This causes the putter head to slow down so much that the putt stops well short of the hole, usually with an open face. If you are missing short/right, you need this drill.

Often, in an exaggerated effort to keep the wrists stiff, the lead arm pulls away from the body, forcing the butt end of the club out of position. This causes a disruption of the face angle – the dreaded “block,” where the face is held open – and a missed putt, usually to the right for a right-handed player. The proper release in the second image below shows the putter face looking directly down the line of start – in this case, the target line – resulting in a pure strike with a true roll.

shaft controlling the length of my backswing
As you can see, the shaft controlling the length of my backswing is about ten inches from the ball, or just outside the edge of my right foot. For longer putts, the shaft moves farther back; for shorter putts, it’s farther forward.

proper release is demonstrated
Here, the proper release is demonstrated. Aided by the correct length of the backswing, I have allowed my wrists and hands to respond to the weight of the putter head as I accelerate through impact. This keeps my left arm close to my body in the follow through, with the butt end of the putter pointing at my navel, just as it did at address – a key position that reflects a proper release.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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