How to Hole More Pressure Putts
Get the latest tricks, tips and instruction to sharpen your game!
A pressure putt can be anything from a 5-footer to save par to a 6-footer to win your weekend Nassau. It means a little something extra, which you can probably tell by the tingling sensation in your hands and arms and the pounding in your chest. It feels like all the air has been sucked out of you.
Here are five keys to bring these knee-knockers to their knees.
COMMIT TO YOUR LINE: After studying your putt from various locations, stand perpendicular to the line of the putt. Let's call this the decision line, or commitment box. Golfers tend to see the line much better when ‘square' or facing it, whereas if you're standing to the side of the ball your perception will be much different. You don't want to be second-guessing the line just before you pull the trigger. A commitment to the line will allow you to commit to the stroke more often.
LOCK IN YOUR LEFT WRIST: Both thumbs should point straight down the shaft, toward the putterhead, with the flat surface of the grip facing away from you. The palms should face one another, and the left index finger should be somewhat extended, overlapping the fingers on your right hand. This serves as a locking mechanism for the left wrist, so there's no wrist breakdown or deviation through impact. The back of the left wrist is relatively flat and should remain that way throughout the stroke.
LINE UP YOUR FOREARMS: After establishing the correct grip, extend your arms directly out in front of you so that both your arms and putter are parallel to the ground. Your forearms should appear to be a direct extension of the shaft. Now, slowly pull in, or tuck your elbows to the side of the torso with your forearms and putter shaft remaining in a straight line. By aligning your forearms on the same angle as the shaft, you create one lever, or pendulum. This setup allows for a more mechanically consistent movement to the stroke.
NEUTRALIZE THE SHAFT: Another important line is that of the putter shaft angle at address. The shaft should be relatively straight up and down, in a neutral position, and the putterhead in line with your hands. This allows you to utilize the putter's true loft (roughly 3-5 degrees). If you set up with your hands in front of the putterhead you will deloft the face, which causes the ball to bounce. Conversely, if the shaft lays back and your hands are behind the putterhead at address, the face will tend to point left and you'll create additional loft, affecting both the direction and speed of the putt.
MAINTAIN YOUR POSTURE: If you watch the best putters on TOUR, they all follow the ball while remaining in their forward posture, or spine tilt. The angle they create by bending forward from the hips at address remains the same throughout the entire stroke, including the finish. As you stroke putts, do not look up until the putterhead stops moving, or reaches its end point. Simply try to hold your finish in balance. This will help you maintain your posture for a quarter- to half-second longer than normal, allowing you to strike the ball squarely and on line.
Try to remember these 5 key tips the next time you've got a big putt on the line.