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Putting Styles That Got It Done

Reviewing the various putting methods that were effective in 2011

November 2011
Luke Donald

If you watch golf on TV for one afternoon, you'll see a multitude of different putting styles: long putters, short putters, belly putters, cross-handed grips and "claw grips" just to name a few. You'll see things we don't really have names for. At times it can be difficult to find a player that putts "conventionally" anymore -- or at least whatever it is that passes for "conventional" these days.

So what do all great putters have in common? The list is pretty short.

1) They make contact in the sweet spot of the putter a high percentage of the time.

2) They can start the ball rolling on their intended line.

3) They are excellent at speed control.

4) They are proficient green readers.

After this, pretty much everything else is out the window. If you can do these things, you will become a good putter, period. Regardless of whatever putting style or unique variations you choose to apply. Putting is very personal, at all levels. That is the moral of the story. With that in mind, let's take a look back at the putting styles that succeeded on the PGA Tour in 2011.

--Kevin Hinton
Editor's Note: Kevin Hinton is the Director of Instruction at Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley, N.Y. and a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher. You can read his weekly swing analysis of top tour players on The Instruction Blog.

Luke Donald

Luke Donald -- "Master of the conventional"

Luke's putting is as "conventional" as it gets, with the exception of his putter choice that has a unique design. Obviously he is comfortable with its feel and the results speak for themselves. At address, Luke has the shaft of the putter running up his right forearm. This makes the putter an extension of his right arm, and ensures that his grip is not too much in his fingers. That's a good thing in a full-swing grip, but not typically in putting. You couldn't go wrong in copying Luke's setup position.
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

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