A Better Putting Stroke

August 8, 2015: There is a difference between the traditional versus contemporary putting stroke. This is most obvious while watch the two PGA tours on TV, regular and Champions.

TRADITIONAL: The traditional putting stroke is based upon the pendulum motion with an up and down arc in the vertical plane. This is seen on the Champions PGA Tour. The problem with this stroke is the elevation of the putter head on the back stroke some 4 to 5 inches even on a putt of 10 foot in length. From this elevated position, the return of the putter head to the ball has the additional acceleration from the downward pull of gravity. The golfer’s body reacts to this unexpected addition force in one of two ways. The most common way is to resist the addition uncalculated force with deceleration of the putter head. The other way is to react to the deceleration effect with a hard hit. Either response results in poor tempo and subsequent unpredicted roll out of the putt. In addition this arc does not provide a predicable impact to the ball. In some instances the angle of attack may be before the bottom of the arc and other times it may be after. Either one of these variable changes the face angle from negative or to more than anticipated. For instance, a hit with a 3 degree loft putter before the bottom of the arc would lessen the face to perhaps 1 degree and drive the ball into the ground resulting in a bounce and loss of anticipated distance. The impact after the bottom of the arc would lift the ball off the ground. The most common result is a ball that falls short of the cup due to deceleration.

CONTEMPORATY: The contemporary putting stroke is more horizontal in the vertical plane and executed as one would a pool cue. This is more common on the regular PGA tour. The putter head is lifted no more than a 1 inch off the ground for a 10 foot putt. The impact is horizontal and therefore the putter face impacts the ball at the intended loft of the putter face. The ball roll out is more predicable. This method is more understandable if you think about how a pool cue approaches a ball. One would not use a pendulum motion to direct the cue ball.

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