The Super Basic of Putting
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
This article outlines a basic that precedes all other basics of putting: You must determine your dominant side in your putting stroke – your right or left arm. This doesn’t depend on whether you putt right-handed or left-handed – it’s about which arm naturally has more control of your putting stroke. It is the overlooked “super basic” of putting – something most players neglect or have never even considered, even though it influences everything else in putting.
How to Improve Your Putting
DO THE DRILL, HONE THE SKILL
Here’s a simple drill you can do to determine which arm dominates your putting stroke: Hit 10 30-foot putts with just your right hand holding the putter, then hit l0 putts with only your left hand/arm in the same fashion. Experiment with different length putts. When you find the dominant arm, the stroke will feel solid and reliable, and you won’t have any trouble controlling the club head, that is to say, keeping it square at impact. The concept of the ‘reliable’ sensation is fundamental since it is the key feeling to identifying your dominant arm. The non-dominant side (or, for the sake of simplicity, the wrong side) will feel as if you must struggle to keep the face square to your putt line at impact, which results in putts that don’t go in the direction you plan. If a one-arm grip feels unreliable, switch sides a few times to ensure your feedback is accurate. You have to admit, that’s pretty simple for such a valuable skill. Once you know which side is your dominant side, here’s what you do with that information. (Note: Some people putt equally well from both sides so that they can choose either side.) In this case, I advise that you keep your putting stats for ten rounds on each side (20 total), then decide.
IF YOU’RE A LEFT-ARM-DOMINANT PUTTER
- Your left armpit should act as the “center” of your putting stroke.
- You should use a heel-shafted putter designed to swing open and closed like a gate.
- You should play the ball forward from the center in your stance, somewhere around the inside of your left heel.
- You should stand tall at the ball with your arms hanging fairly loose but straight.
- Even though the face of the putter swings open and closed to the target line, it stays square to the putter arc.
IF YOU’RE A RIGHT-ARM-DOMINANT PUTTER
- The top of your spine should act as the “center” of your putting stroke.
- You should use a center-shafted putter.
- You should play the ball in the center of your stance.
- Rather than hanging straight, your arms are slightly folded because you are bent over.
- The clubhead moves away from the ball on a straight line and returns through the ball on the same line.
Now, all that’s left is PRACTICE.
This player is a Left Arm putter – ball forward, arms hanging straight at address.
Note the upright stance and the heel-shafted putter – excellent matchups – and she is a great putter!
If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.