Short game improvementAugust 14, 2011

Trying The Long Putter

How I got my confidence back on the greens

The first four-footer I had to make with my new long putter was in the first round of the Match Play in February. It was on the third hole, against Ben Crane. I actually got very nervous. If I missed, the previous five weeks would have been a waste. I rolled it in, and even though I lost the match, for the first time in a long time, I made all the putts we're expected to make out here.

Why did I switch? My putting confidence was really low, and my stats from less than 10 feet were atrocious. My teacher, Brad Malone, had a long putter, so I started fooling around with it. I could feel that my rhythm immediately improved, and I was putting a great roll on the ball. I was interested but wanted to keep it quiet, so Brad bought one for me at a local golf shop. I practiced only in my back yard. (Scotty Cameron built me the one I'm using now. It's 49 inches.) I knew it worked, but putting well at the Masters was huge.

The way I do it is not complicated, and it's based more on my natural feel than any instruction. I don't take a practice stroke, so I step up with my right hand only on the club (on right and below) and eye-up the line. Then I take my stance and place my left hand at the top, checking the line again. Finally, I reposition my right hand--forefinger down the shaft--and go (above). My feel is really good right now, and I'm making putts. My putting is finally measuring up to the rest of my game. (See Scott's driver swing

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