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Arnold Palmer said this 2-step putting 'system' helped him win his first Masters

September 10, 2023
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Sept. 10, 2023 marks what would've been Arnold Palmer's 94th birthday. The King, who passed away in 2016, is still sorely missed. But because of his passion for the game throughout his career, his legacy lives on.

Palmer was an active contriubtor throughout his life, and taking the opportunity to look back into the Golf Digest archive (which you can check out in full right here), I stumbled upon an article that in many ways transformed the trajectory of Palmer's career.

It came in the November 1958 edition of Golf Digest. Palmer had collected his first major that year—the 1958 Masters—and said he did in large part due to a putting system.

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"I have settled on a style of putting and a putter which feel great to me," he wrote. "I am confident that I will strike the ball in the direction and at the speed I intend. When I miss a putt, I feel that it is because I have mis-read the green. My system hasn't failed—it's my system."

Arnie's putting 'system'

So, what was Arnie's breakthrough system, which lead to the first of what would become a seven major-win career? He said it "revolves around two things":

  1. "I want the back of my left hand to face the target throguhout the stroke."
  2. "I do not want my left wrist to 'cup,' or break, on the follow through."

The primary cause of the latter, Palmer explains, was a too-narrow stance. When his feet were too close together, his left wrist would break down, and the putterhead would twist closed because of it.

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When Palmer widened his stance—which gave him him his signature knock-kneed look—his lead wrist stayed in a flatter position. The back of his left hand would face the target throughout his stroke, and the putterhead would stay square.

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