However, even on an activity as short and apparently effortless as putting, it can have an effect. Here, we look at how a physical limitation can lead to an issue with swaying on putts – a problem that causes an erratic delivery of the blade and inconsistency on the greens.
You’ll also learn two drills to help you remain stable throughout the stroke. Work on them and your line and length will both benefit.
The basic putting action is essentially a tiny golf swing; you rotate back, you rotate through. Even with such a short action as this, we need some separation of the upper and lower body to allow the shoulders and chest to rotate while the legs and pelvis remain stable.
The ability to move your shoulders independently of your hips and pelvis is known as ‘dissociation’. We are all different in how much we are able to achieve this, but putting only demands a small amount of it. Almost every golfer has enough mobility to retain a locked lower half while gently rocking the shoulders, but in many cases that ability needs to be woken up.
If you are not rotating your upper body independently of the lower body, you will feel your hips and knees turn with the shoulders. This can cost you your action balance and stability, making it much harder for you to find your chosen path, face and attack angle at impact
Challenge your stability to improve it.
To improve your ability to maintain a solid base while you putt, we need to make it harder for your lower body to hold its position as you rotate back and through. Here are two easy ways to do just that…
Take your putter and place its shaft across your chest, crisscrossing your arms to hold it in place. Stand generally upright, balance on your lead leg with your trail leg behind your lead calf.
Now make your upper body backstroke rotation. You can only stay balanced if your lower body holds its position.
Now repeat the same trick on the followthrough. Turn your chest through to the finish of the ‘stroke’.
Again, this challenges your lower half to retain its position while you turn. Rotate back and forth like this five times, before switching to the other leg and repeating the drill.
For this drill, you’ll ideally use a foam swimming noodle – a useful prop for many drills. But if you don’t have one you can roll up your bag towel. Whatever you use, it should be high enough that you can’t quite set both toes and heels on the ground when you stand on it. Place the noodle/towel under the middle of your feet. Start by letting your weight fall on to your heels. Hit 10 putts from here.
Now flip forward until your weight is on your toes. Again, hit 10 putts. Keep your focus on your balance; from these awkward stances, your lower body has to work harder to maintain it. After hitting putts like this, go back to your regular stance; you will feel how the muscles of your lower half, now primed to hold you in position, are able to retain position and stability as you move the putter back and through.
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