A key to consistency in putting from one of the tour's best on the greens
I try to keep putting as simple as possible, so if I’m working on anything, I make sure it’s only one thing at a time. One of those things is probably something you don’t give much thought to, but it’s an important part of making a good stroke—the follow-through. To put a good roll on the ball, my coach, Cameron McCormick, says that I have be careful not to catch the ball too much on the upstroke.
It’s a tendency of mine, and when the putter moves upward too much, the low point of the putting arc will be before impact, which means I’m not hitting the ball in the sweet spot. When I strike it low on the face, trying to control the speed is really difficult.
Luckily, the fix is easy. I just have to focus on keeping the putterhead low to the ground through impact. The way I practice this is to put a quarter or some other coin down a few inches ahead of the ball next to my line of putt. When I make a stroke, the goal is to keep the putterhead low to the ground until it’s next to the quarter. This tip also works when you play. Just pick out something a few inches toward the hole on your putting line, like a brown spot, and keep the putterhead down until you reach it. Do that, and you’ll feel the difference in how the ball comes off the face.
Here’s another practice tip. I see a lot of amateurs making the mistake of dropping a bunch of balls on the green at one spot and hitting them to the same hole. Then they go get the balls and do the same thing to another hole. This type of practice is too robotic. You’re not going to gain much feel for the speed and slope of greens that way. Instead, I take one ball and move around the green, giving each putt the same attention I’d give it if I were on the course. It’s a form of practice that simulates the reality of putting during a round of golf, which I think makes me better on the course.