Golf Instruction

for putting and the swing

1. Putting 

        …a particular way to putt, with two rather unusual aspects (it works for the author and maybe for you):

For address, bend over as far as possible, up to about 90 degrees, without causing long term back pain. 

Keep the wrists fixed in relation to the arms.  

Keep the elbow angles fixed.  

Position the ball under the leading eye. 

Let the putter-arm system hang by gravity in such a way that the club head is on a vertical plane through the eyes, mainly by adjusting the distance of the hands from the hips.  If the arms-club system are hanging by gravity, then this system can be more easily swung in a vertical plane, which it should be.  Stop at various positions along the stroke and let gravity stabilize the position of the system after you give it a nudge in or out; this indicates arc points of the stroke.

Keep the shoulders pulled lightly down to the torso to stabilize shoulder height on the torso; this will keep the club face more square, but it will not impede the gravity hang of the arms which can still hang freely.  

If the arms-club system moves in vertical planes, and the eyes are directly over the club head, then the club head should seem to stay over the putting line.  

Let your head turn with your torso (we know this is unusual, but it reduces the difficulty of the swing and concentrates the mind on the torso and shoulder area, and away from the neck) so as to concentrate brain power.  

Watch the clubhead during the stroke (at least while you practice); your eyes should move a little in their sockets to do this, (if you are using shoulder movement to swing the club, as is normal).  Watching the club head during the stroke will provide cues to your nervous system and keep the stroke smooth.  It also shows you the direction and length of your stroke, improving control.

Practice aiming with training aids. Practice the stroke with the Putterlight and by hitting balls on a marked line for direction and distance.   

Use the same brand of ball on a regular basis, or use different brands of balls tested for bounce height so they all bounce to the same height.  Test balls by dropping them (the reference ball and the tested ball next to each other) on the same spot on the same floor from the same height.  Keep a reference ball for this purpose.  

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2. The Swing (non-putting swings)

1. We point out something missing from swing technique.  Our little “secret:” LET your body move forward on the backswing and then backward on the downswing, then forward on the followthrough.  “Soft ankles” help with this.  Soft ankles is easier to do (or only possible) if you balance your weight toward the heels so that the balls of the feet are not pushing down or pulling up.  Do not prevent yourself from moving forward on the backswing.  You might be tempted to push down with your toes to prevent forward movement on the backswing, but this is dangerous.  (Forward means the direction you would go if you were to start walking straight ahead from the address position.)  Forward movement is a natural reaction to swinging a club or any weight around you, and if you resist it you will be in a very difficult position.  It will be hard to impossible to get your main body mass back to hitting position by impact, so that you will be forced to swing outward and/or downward with the arms to avoid a mis-hit.  Rory McIlroy and many others have this sway movement.  You can see it on video here; the first example is about 35 seconds in, and another at one minute 40 seconds, among others.  The head moves forward on the backswing, backward on the downswing, and forward again on the followthrough (very quickly on the downswing so it is a little hard to see).  It is more prominent with the longer clubs because they have flatter swings.

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2. Don’t “move off the ball” (to the trailing side) on the backswing.  Moving to the trailing side again makes it very difficult to get back into the hitting position, requiring a lot of unnecessary leg work and timing.  If you don’t move off the ball, less physical effort and physical coordination is required, so the swing is easier to produce and thus more consistent.  To learn to stay centered, put your feet together, then pose in various positions of the swing, keeping the weight on each foot the same.  

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3. Ideally, the backswing starts tangent to the target line.  Use slow motion and short swings to assure this.  I like to use a

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