January 8, 2009

Smooth out your stroke

Think of a whippy shaft for better rhythm

Retief Goosen, winner of two U.S. Opens, has long been known for a silky-smooth putting stroke, which is great for making pressure putts on slick greens. I asked him if there is a secret to his beautifully repetitive putting action.

He showed me a special putter he practices with. It has a normal putterhead but a very whippy shaft. When using this putter, if you snap the putter back quickly or suddenly increase the pace of your through-stroke (photo above, left), you notice it immediately -- the shaft bends dramatically and the putt veers off line. If you maintain a consistent pace back and through, as I'm doing in the bottom photos, the shaft stays straight and the ball rolls true.

Even if you don't have access to such a putter, you can pretend your putter has a whippy shaft. That image will keep the putterhead and your hands moving in unison. You'll have better speed control.

FLICK, a longtime Golf Digest Teaching Professional and PGA Golf Professional Hall of Famer, worked with hundreds of amateurs and tour players including Jack Nicklaus.