Coming out of a break, any break, like we did when the PGA Tour resumed in June, I always find the parts of my game that are most likely to be rusty are in the short game. You can lose your touch on and around the greens very quickly. The feel for the speed of putts is one of the biggest cobwebs you need to shake off.
But the good thing is, those parts of the game can return quickly with some grinding.
What I work on technically with the putter when I’m coming off a break is nothing too fancy, and is something you can easily replicate if you want to get back to sinking more putts consistently.
Ask Yourself ‘Y’
The first thing I do with my coach Col Swatton is look at the fundamentals in my set-up. We take videos and photos of my knees, feet, hips and shoulders and compare them with photos of my posture when the season is in full swing and my putting is sharp.
The biggest thing for me is to develop the ‘Y’ shape at address. If you look at me front on, the putter shaft’s position relative to the space between my forearms/elbows forms a ‘Y’ shape. That’s the first checkpoint you should aim to clear.
Eye For Detail
The second thing I check is to make sure my eye-line is just inside or behind the ball. If it’s outside or in front of the ball, I’m not going to swing the putter on the correct path. As I go through my technique I try to make my head stay as still and relaxed as possible. When I swing the putterhead back, my stroke should feel natural and not as though I’m taking it too far outside or inside.
Check Your Speed… Regularly!
Once my setup and eyeline are looking good, then I just have to work on speed, constantly. I’m always fine-tuning how quickly the ball should shoot off the putterface for certain distances and developing my feel again. As I ready for a tournament, I’m working mainly on starting putts on the intended target line. You can do this on any surface – repetition is the key. Pick your intended line and try to stroke the ball consistently on that same path. Don’t forget to mix it up and try from different lengths and breaks. For me the recipe is simple: if I can get the speed right and start more putts online, I’m going to hear a lot more rattles in the cup.
– with Evin Priest