The Simply Great Golf Approach™ To Putting: Get Ready, Get Set, Go
by Mike Passmore, Simply Great Golf Academy, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The fastest route to lower scores is usually to improve your putting since putts account for 40 to 45% of your score. Today’s top golfers are averaging less “putts per round” than ever before. This is largely due to their improvements in fundamental techniques and modern putter design and fitting. Scientific studies are made and the data is used by teachers to help students gain greater improvement and at a faster rate.
I use the TOMi putting analysis program. My students and I find the visual and data analysis very beneficial in being able to design the best putting lesson for each individual student’s needs.
My Simply Great Golf Approach™ is designed to help golfers achieve the best results from their “golf time”, and “homework practice” is the key. Use the information in my “get ready, get set, go” steps below and begin a 5 to 10 minute at-home putting practice session on a regular basis and you’ll become a better putter and lower your scores in a short period of time.
Survey the putting green terrain for proper aim and the speed of the putt Squat down 10 feet behind the ball to get the best perspective of the ground slope and try to determine if the slope is from right to left, uphill, etc.
Determine whether your ball should finish 6, 12 or 18 inches past the hole if you do not make the putt (i.e. 6 inches for a downhill putt on a fast green) A study revealed a generalization that a ball has the best chance of going in the hole if it’s traveling at a speed of finishing 17 inches behind the hole (if not made).
Determine your aim by visualizing the roll of your ball based on your sense for the slope and speed of your putt (i.e. aim 6 inches right of the hole) Practicing steps 1, 2 and 3 will sharpen your senses to match your aim and speed.
Squat down behind your ball and place your ball just ahead of your ball marker aiming your “name line” on your ball to your determined “aim point” Aiming your ball’s “name line” will help you position your putter and body properly which will in turn promote the best putting motion.
Make 2 “practice/feel swings” across from your ball and the 6, 12 or 18 inches behind your ball (that additional distance you’ve determined where your ball should finish if you do not make the putt) Use your eyes and experience to help you generate the correct sense of what pendulum-length putting swing you’ll need. Look at the hole or bottom of the flagstick before you look back down to make each of 2 practice/feel swings.
Use the G.A.S.P. Principle (G = Grip, A = Aim, S = Stance, P = Posture) to properly orient yourself to the club, ball and target
GRIP: There are many functional grips. The best golfers experiment to find a grip that keeps the hands passive. The proper “just right” tension level is to hold the club just tightly enough with fairly equal hand tension to support the club at a horizontal position.
AIM: Use the lines or alignment aids built into most putters to align with the “name line” on your ball. Next, align your body lines (the visualized line across your feet, hips, shoulders and eyes) parallel.
STANCE: Make an approximate stance width of 12 inches apart with your ball positioned 2 inches toward your “target foot” (closest to the hole) to promote a good initial roll of the ball rather than a skid.
POSTURE: Take a general “good posture” with your upper body tipped over so that your eyes are over to slightly inside the “target line” (the visualized line through the ball to the target). Lean or align the end of the club handle slightly towards the target ahead of your body center. This position promotes a proper “passive hands-wrists” motion.
Make the correct length swinging motion with a coordinated arm swing-upper body/torso movement while maintaining the proper tension level of the arms and hands. Maintain your swing center by keeping your head steady by focusing on the ball and DO let your head follow the ball for proper coordinated arm swing-upper body/torso movement.