June 17, 2008

Make more three-footers

If you're missing the hole, here's how to check your putter path

SWEET SOUND: Skimming the putter along a shaft acts like a metronome, helping your rhythm.

SWEET SOUND: Skimming the putter along a shaft acts like a metronome, helping your rhythm.

Having trouble with those short putts lately -- the ones you think you should be making? It's good to check the path of your putting stroke now and then, especially if you're not even grazing the edge of the cup. You can putt one of two ways: straight back and straight down the target line, or on an arc to the inside of the line going back and again to the inside after impact. Either way, you'd be surprised how your path can drift off line without routine practice and checkups.

A quick way to get back on the correct path is to lay a shaft on the ground on your target line, and then stroke along the shaft. Rest your putterhead on the shaft as you take your address, and make several practice strokes, concentrating on staying on the right path. For straight back and straight through, this means tracing the shaft. For arc putters, the putterhead should start on the shaft and drift slightly to the inside on the backstroke and through-stroke.

Also, allowing the putter to skim along the shaft will help improve your rhythm: A consistent sound promotes a nice flow.

Based at ChampionsGate near Orlando, Leadbetter runs 30 academies worldwide. Click here for more tips from Leadbetter.