The August Bank Holiday is upon us, and for golf enthusiasts, it's an opportune moment to focus on one of the most crucial aspects of the game: putting. Often said to be a game within a game, putting can make or break your scorecard. Here's how to use this long weekend to truly master the greens by truly understanding the art and science of putting:
Understanding Putting Importance
Putting accounts for a significant number of strokes in a round. While booming drives and precise iron shots are gratifying, it's on the green where matches are often won or lost. Recognising the importance of putting is the first step towards mastery.
The Fundamentals of a Good Putting Stroke
Setup: Ensure your eyes are directly over the ball or just inside the ball line. This helps in better line perception and accuracy.
Grip: While there are various grips (traditional, cross-handed, claw), the key is to find one that keeps your hands and wrists steady throughout the stroke.
Stroke: Think of the putting stroke as a pendulum. The shoulders drive the motion, and the arms and putter move in harmony.
Reading the Greens
Grain and Slope: Understand the grass type on the greens. The way the grass grows can influence the ball's roll. Additionally, always check for the overall slope and undulations.
Speed: Walk around the putt, feeling the ground with your feet. This can give insights into uphill or downhill nuances. The ball's speed will be influenced by these subtle changes.
Drills to Enhance Your Putting
Gate Drill: Set up two tee pegs just wider than the width of your putter head. Practice putting through this 'gate' to ensure your stroke is straight.
Distance Control: Place four tees at distances of 10, 20, 30, and 40 feet from the hole. Practice putting to each tee, focusing on controlling the distance.
Mental Aspects of Putting
Confidence: Believe in your read and your stroke. Doubt can lead to deceleration or a change in the stroke path.
Routine: Develop a consistent pre-putt routine. This can help calm nerves and ensure consistency, especially under pressure.
The putter is the most used club in the bag. Ensure it's the right length, weight, and balance for your stroke style. The type of greens you typically play on can also influence the best putter choice.
Putting is as much an art as it is a science. Always be open to learning, whether it's from watching professionals, taking lessons, or experimenting on the practice green.
In conclusion, the journey to becoming a great putter is continuous, filled with learning and adjustments. This Bank Holiday, dedicate time to this vital aspect of the game, and you'll undoubtedly see improvements in your scores and confidence on the greens.