Getting More Putts to the Hole


Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

I have a very difficult time getting my putts to the hole. For whatever reason, I just don’t give them enough juice. Sometimes, in an attempt to remedy the situation, I remind myself to give the ball a good rap only to knock it too far. Can you help?

Bill Walters

Jitterbug Gang Fan

Jitterbug:

I’ve been through it myself, Bill. And, I’ve watched others suffer from short putting too. From what I’ve seen, the problem stems from one primary problem: too short of a backswing.

Golfers, during times of uncertainty, react by shortening things up, and the first thing that shortens is the backswing. What follows is a chain reaction.

The golfer reacts to a short backswing by hurriedly starting the through stroke. This requires an increase in grip pressure, that is, tightening of the hands. The hands can’t tighten without the forearms, upper arms and shoulders tightening too. Tight muscles, of course, shorten, and so doing, raise the putter higher off the surface of the green, setting the stage for less than crisp impact with the ball. Less than crisp impact means the ball won’t get to the hole, and the cycle is sure to repeat as the poor result brings about more uncertainty.

All this can be avoided if the golfer experiencing self-doubt and fear remind himself to take a large enough backswing to ease through the hitting area.

Mr. Vaughn:

Short backswinging can be traced back to the practice stroke. Too often, a golfer stands over a 60-foot putt performing back-and-through practice strokes as if he’s preparing to roll a ball 15 feet.

Folks, a practice swing isn’t merely a rehearsal swing. It is the Dress Rehearsal! It is the last chance to get it all together, because coming up next is a live performance. So, why not make your rehearsal stroke EXACTLY the one you hope to reproduce for your next shot?

I guess for some folks that’s just too much to ask.

Lord Berry:

From what I’ve observed, golfers who consistently leave putts short are out of touch with where the hole is. If setting up and stroking a putt takes 20 seconds, putters with good distance control spend at least 15 seconds staring, with both eyes, directly at the hole. The remaining five or so seconds are used to square the blade and body.

Those numbers are approximately reversed for putters who possess less skill.


Asheville Golf Home

Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner


Ask Jitterbug - Author Bobby Steiner

About the Author

The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.

You can reach Bobby at: www.bobbysteiner.com or bobbysteiner@msn.com

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Get More Putts to the Hole