The putting stroke is the smallest swing in golf, which makes it relatively simple – but also challenging. Let me explain. On putts, you don’t have much time to compensate for errors in the setup or backstroke. In fact, your address position largely determines whether you hit a good putt or a bad one.
“Best way to square the face: Don’t let it rotate open.”
Two positions in the setup matter most. First, you want the shaft directly in line with your forearms [above]. Why? Because from there, the clubface won’t rotate much during the stroke. If the shaft is on a flatter plane than your forearms, the face will tend to fan open in the backstroke. Technically, I like no more than three degrees of opening going back. That makes it easy to return the face square, which is your No.1 priority in putting. So think of your forearms as an extension of the shaft.
The second key is setting your eyes slightly inside the ball, which you can see from this down-target view. Picture a vertical line dropped from your eyes: it should touch the heel of the putter. A popular tip inputting is “eyes over the ball”, but that can distort your perception and lead to poor aim or the putterhead moving to the outside on the backstroke. Your eyes over the heel pre-sets a stroke that moves slightly to the inside going back, on line at impact, and slightly inside going through. That path, along with minimal face rotation, gives you control of where the ball will roll.
Michael Breed is Golf Digest’s Chief Digital Instructor and he spoke with Peter Morrice
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