February 21, 2010

Feel The Weight Of The Putterhead

Jack's key thought gives you a better sense for rolling the ball the correct distance

Putter Principle: For great touch, Jack allowed the putterhead to swing freely through impact.

Putter Principle: For great touch, Jack allowed the putterhead to swing freely through impact.

NICKLAUS SAYS: Putting is largely individual. But I think (1) your head should remain steady and (2) your eyes should be directly over the line of the putt, not necessarily over the ball. That helps you align squarely and gets the putter moving on line.

After that, my central thought is, Feel the energy of the putter going through the ball. Distance is far more important than direction. If your speed is just right, you can use the full 4¼ inches of the cup. Nearly half the ball can miss the hole, and you can still make the putt.

I do not believe in hitting the ball, say, 16 inches past the cup, as some contend is the optimum speed. Unless I'm putting really grainy greens or the break is severe, I'm a die putter. That works for me.

Jack Nicklaus* writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest.*

FLICK SAYS: I have always admired the way Jack uses the weight of the putter during the stroke. This promotes a solid hit, which helps you start the ball on line and die it in the hole.

It all begins with a light and constant grip pressure. Jack sets the putter on the backswing with his hands (the longer the putt, the more his wrists hinge), then allows the weight of the putterhead to unhinge his wrists. He delivers the putterhead with his forearms, not allowing it to pass his hands until after impact.

Jack sets up with his head behind the ball -- on putts inside 10 feet he can see the ball and the hole at the same time. This allows him to be target-oriented. It also promotes a low-to-high stroke for a true, consistent roll.

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.