In last week's article, I gave some initial tips on putting practice. In the meantime, I was back on the course myself and wanted to set a good example and spend some time on the putting green.
But fiddlesticks. Because of the weather conditions, all practice facilities were closed. Only the driving range was allowed to be used. Still, I was able to practice my putting motion a bit.
The tee mat on the range is divided into two parts. You stand on the large foam rubber surface, and the ball is positioned on the small one, which is covered with artificial turf. In between there is a dark strip that I have ignored so far, but which is now a good help to me.
Because I took this stripe to check whether my pendulum movement from the shoulders during putting is really straight.
The basics of the putting stance should be clear: Feet just under shoulder width apart, bent forward at the hips, and head tilted. The eyes should be in line above the ball. This is the only way to see the line from the ball to the hole without distorting angles and to align the club perfectly.
And now the pendulum movement. It should come only from the shoulders, the rest of the body remains immobile. Theoretically, this makes putting relatively easy, since far fewer muscles are used than in the complete golf swing.
Nevertheless, everything has to fit, including the pendulum motion, which must guide the club head of the putter in a straight line to the ball. Beginners find out that it's not that easy. Because if you don't pay attention, you also turn slightly in the hips and don't just swing in the shoulders with the arms.
By the way, I keep my arms slightly bent and grip the putter in the middle of the grip, hands not crossed as in the golf swing, but one below the other. In addition, as a right-hander, I putt to the left with my left hand on top of the grip and my right hand underneath it, extending my right index finger down along the grip. I imagine that this allows me to put more feeling into the putt.
So in this posture, I practiced the pendulum motion on the tee mat of the driving range. Not too fast, but evenly, always back and forth. The putter head should stay exactly on the wide dark stripe of the mat.
By the way, I've noticed over and over again on the course, actually on every hole, that it's important to practice the pendulum motion after the wood and/or iron shots after reaching for the putter. So I do a few practice pendulums before each putt, just as I do one or more practice swings before each tee shot.
By the way, the pendulum movement on the tee mat went very well, which I was able to prove on the following round. My putts went well in the direction of the hole in the vast majority of cases.
Even from further away, the ball stayed close to the hole. Admittedly, the played course also made it easy due to the winter greens, the greens are all level, the putts could be played in a straight line to the hole.
The fact that I could not be completely satisfied with my round was not so much due to bad putts (yes, admittedly: two three-putts were unfortunately among them), but rather due to bad iron shots, which required rescue shots and thus drove up the score.
The failed iron shots are in the nature of things, since I still call myself a beginner, even if my game is slowly getting better and more consistent.
By the way, this is not least due to a change in my grip, which now lets my balls fly straight more often than before the change. There will be a separate text about the grip.
But back to the putt. I was once again on the round with the congenial technician of this website, Mark. He adopted the arm position for putting, which he also uses for the wood and iron swing, completely unnoticed by me as "teacher" at first: Both arms outstretched.
Mark has to grip the putter even shorter, i.e. closer to the club head, so that he can stand with his eyes above the ball. But: although the stance looked a bit strange in my eyes, his putts on the round were not bad either.
Which again shows, as I wrote before, that also in golf many roads lead to Rome, respectively many postures bring the ball to the hole.
The exercise with the tee mat, however, was also considered profitable by him beforehand. His pendulum movement was clearly accompanied by a slight rotation of the hips, which meant that he did not play the path of the putter head in a straight line, but as a slightly curved path.
Of course, you don't need a tee mat for this essential exercise. You can also practice it at home by simply placing two golf clubs parallel on the ground in front of you, spaced the length of the putter head.
Spending a few minutes each day swinging the putter between them will soon bring confidence to this important last movement on each hole.
Next week I will describe more exercises in part 3 on the subject of putting. Then it will also be about reading the green correctly and aligning the path of the ball accordingly.
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