Length of Backswing in Putting Stroke

Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

I’ve read that the putting stroke should be the same length going back as going through. What is your take on it?

Abe Swysebacch

Jitterbug Gang Fan


This is where most people miss a very important point. You see, when it comes to touch shots (and putting certainly is in the “touch shot” category), you have to feel your way into the proper stroke, not proper stroke your way into feel. It’s just that simple.

That said, from what I’ve observed, the stroke used by the best putters in the world most often includes a follow through that is longer than the takeaway, but the expert putter never thought of it that way. Rather, the longer follow through develops naturally as a by-product of consistent target oriented training.

Mr. Vaughn:

Amen, Jitterbug! Folks, get your minds off the putting stroke. Learn to react to the hole. Nobody ever told you how far to take your arm back to throw a ball to Charlie standing ten feet away. Rather, you just throw the ball to Charlie.

Then, when Charlie takes a step back, you don’t say, “I better take my arm back a little farther because Charlie is now farther away.” Rather, you still just throw the ball to Charlie. And, then, even if you throw it over his head, you don’t think, “Oops, I took my arm back too far.” Rather, you say, “I threw it too hard.”

But, in putting, you can see your instrument move (whereas when throwing a ball you don’t see your arm), and seeing the putter makes you want to monitor it. So, whether instinctively or not, people too often try to “make a stroke,” instead of “make a putt.” Good, confident putters feel an energy-a two-way connection of putter and hole-that makes the right stroke appear. Still, they couldn’t tell you a darn thing about what their putters do going back or coming through because that’s simply not where their minds are.

Lord Berry:

There is a misconception that exists in the world of golf instruction: If I copy the technique of great players, I, too, will perform greatly.

The problem with this belief is that regardless of how closely one can emulate the physical characteristics of someone else’s movement, it’s impossible to copy the mental and emotional attributes, the glue, that make it work. Calmness of spirit, belief in one’s own skill, and unconditional acceptance are as much a part of what make great players great as the motion they employ to advance the ball.

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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Proper back swing and follow through length on putting stroke.