Quickie Tip: Focus on Putting

Great putting can salvage an average roundMost golfers are fixed at getting more distance by trying to buy the newest technology, or better irons for feel. It is a fact that we hit driver approximately 14 times a round, and hopefully the irons only about 22 times, which leaves 36 putts to shoot even-par 72.

We all know that it doesn't exactly work out that perfectly, but in theory this would be great. Approximately 43 percent of the game is putting, yet most amateurs do not take the care to make sure that their putter is the best fitting piece of equipment in their bag.

The putter is rarely blamed for the demise of a good round, but it is the first thing mentioned when all has gone better than expected in a good round. Ben Hogan once said, "You have to drive it, wedge it, and putt it have a successful round." You can do the first two well but if one is not putting well, they are not finishing the job.”
To putt well is to score well. I have seen and heard of many rounds where the player did not strike the ball particularly well but scored well because of great putting.

Here are my keys to great putting:

1. Go through the same routine on the putting green every time. Do not vary that routine no matter what you are putting for.

2. Do not think of outcome, stay in the present, and focus only on the task at hand.

3. It does not matter what score you are putting for, it is just another putt. All strokes in the round count equal. If you are putting for a two or a nine, it does not matter, focus on the stroke only.

When they designed golf clubs, they made the head heavy so the head of the club does all of the work; this applies to all clubs including the putter.

5. Swing the putter head in one continuous motion, like a metronome that keeps time to music. The lighter the putting grip, the more one will feel the head of the putter, and allow it to do the whole job.

6. Putting is no more than a small swinging motion produced by the fingers and the hands (the connection point to the club). The longer the putt, the bigger the swinging motion needs to be. Always ensure that your grip pressure remains constant. The tighter the grip, the more tension one will have. Tension is the enemy of any good swinging motion, because it slows and interrupts that flowing continuous motion.

A good drill to do is to putt three balls approximately two feet from the cup on the practice putting green. Make sure the putt is generally flat. Line up the putter head to the perfect line and commit that it is perfectly lined up. Forget the line, and focus only on creating a swinging motion with the putter head.

Do this drill with your eyes closed as golf is kinesthetic, you can only feel a golf swing. Trust the motion of your stroke, and listen to the ball going into the hole. When it does not go in, you have not created a swinging motion, and you will feel the difference between a swing, and a stroke that has a bit of tension in it.

The above putting tip is from Joe Salvaggio, who is a Class-A PGA instructor, former caddie to Chi Chi Rodriguez, and has worked with the PGA Tour's Paul Azinger and Senior PGA Tour's Jim Albus.

Salvaggio instructs golfers using World Golf Hall of Fame instructor Ernest Jones' technique, the "Self Correcting Method." Salvaggio instructs at The Golf Academy at Heron Creek in North Port. To contact Salvaggio, call (9410 518-6646 or email him at joegolf64@hotmail.com.


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