By Euan Bowden
You don’t putt with a driver, fairway wood or a long iron so why would you set up on the green like you’re about to let rip on the 1st tee?
We see this curse to consistent putting frequently here at the Peter Cowan Golf Academy at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, with new amateurs in particular guilty of setting up for putts like they’re about to take a full swing.
The problem is this does not give a suitable foundation to make a repeatable putting stroke. That in turn can lead to frustrating problems, notable challenges controlling your distance and starting the ball on your intended line.
A great place to start when building the basis of a strong putting set-up is with the alignment of the arms. An easy way to achieve this is by holding the putter grip with your palms level and facing each other (1). When doing this you want to feel as though your upper arms are connected to your ribcage (2) which will allow your arms to be well connected to the body throughout the stroke. By aligning the hands together you will also be able to align your forearms and shoulders straight away. This connection between your arms and body will encourage better control of your stroke length and distance when putting and, with improved shoulder and forearm alignment, you will be able to move the putter on a better plane throughout the stroke.
In practice, hit putts with your palms facing each other as well just to get used to the feeling. It will also allow you to make a smooth stroke without too much of a ‘hitting’ action. The key when taking this new feeling into your regular putting set up is to maintain the same structure of the arms and shoulders as when the palms were facing each other. Take your normal grip but make sure that the forearms and shoulders maintain the aforementioned alignment.
Try this putting set up the next time you are on the practice green to ensure you are well connected and correctly aligned.
Euan Bowden is a PGA teaching professional at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s Peter Cowen Academy Dubai.