How To Use The Long Putter Successfully

Jim CocchiBy Jim Cocchi,
PGA Director of Golf,
The Dunes Golf Club

I ’m an advocate of the long putter and have been since 1988. I find that it is particularly helpful for golfers who have putted well in the past and then completely lose their touch, something I see happen to a lot of good players. I feel that the ball rolls better with a longer putter then the standard shorter putter because the natural release of the clubhead produces immediate overspin. What I like about this approach is that it reduces anxiety, which automatically creates confidence. Since I have adopted this approach, I have never stood over a putt with doubt that I would make it. Putting with this putter is like stealing. It’s too easy!

How To Use The Long Putter Successfully

To use the long putter successfully, I recommend that it fit so that the butt end of the club rests snugly in the center of your chest. The butt end of the putter should stay in the same position throughout the putting stroke, acting as an anchor from which the club swings. The benefit of this style of putting is that there are fewer moving parts. Your top hand holds the putter close to the chest, while your bottom hand freely swings the putter. Imagine a pool player who stabilizes the cue with the front hand and uses the rear hand to generate the power and necessary feel and finesse. To me this is the same approach. I believe that our feel is in our hands and by using the long putter the dominating factor is in the bottom hand.

Since the long putter may not be for everyone, I apply a different principle when teaching the conventional putting method. I recommend reducing hand action as much as possible so that your shoulders swing the putter head. I also recommend that you practice putt one-handed, first putting a few balls with your right hand, then a few with your left. Invariably, you will find that one hand has more control of distance and direction and feels better. The hand that has the best “feel” is the hand that should dominate the putting stroke: if your right hand is more dominate, concentrate on a right-hand stroke; if your left hand appears to be more dominate, concentrate on a left-hand stroke.

I always suggest alternative styles if you’re not feeling confident. I recommend the cross-handed grip or – for right-handed players – a left-hand low grip. These styles help you rely on the use of your shoulders and not your hands in the putting stroke.

Jim Cocchi is the 2010 West Central Chapter PGA Golf Professional of the Year. To schedule a putting lesson, call Jim at (352) 238-0114.


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