Putting Tension Awareness
Take a look at the pro’s putting stroke on the PGA Tour and you will notice their arms and shoulders look very relaxed. Their shoulders are down and there is a soft look to the arms and hands. However, at the same time their wrists and elbows do not change angle through the stroke.
Most amateurs look just the opposite. There is an obvious tension through the arms and shoulders then they make a wristy stroke! You will never become a great putter this way. If this is you don’t worry, it is a learned movement that you too can master!
Go to the practice putting green with 5 balls and start by taking some deep breathes and reminding yourself the green is a place to relax and be comfortable. There are several key areas you are going to put your awareness on and then putt 5 balls trying to improve with each one. Let’s start with getting the tension out. First, start with taking out all tension in your face and neck. Putt 5 balls and try improving with each one.
Next, focus on your shoulders; keep them down and tension free.
Third, put your awareness on your forearms and hands… keep the pressure just firm enough so the handle doesn’t feel wobbly during your stroke. Repeat this process for 3 sets.
Now that you have a feel for and practice routine to take the tension out, let’s put it back in to the correct places. First you will want to feel some tension in your feet, legs and core. Just a enough pressure to make you feel very stable and quiet from the stomach down. Focus on keeping the bend in your elbows and wrists dead quiet during the stroke. It may be difficult to keep arm pressure light, hand pressure medium and lock the wrists, but I assure you it is possible to learn and will allow you to become a great putter!
Good tempo is a must if you want to be a great putter. Something I see way too often is a short slow backswing then a sudden acceleration and putter ending in a very long follow through.
What you should be doing is making a balanced putting stroke. Learn to putt with your backswing and follow through the same length and then even more importantly make sure the speed of your putter matches in the backswing and downswing.
So for a shorter putt, your stroke will be slower and shorter, and for a longer put faster and longer. Think of it like a kid on a swing where there is energy applied to get the swing going back, and then again once gravity has helped slow and gotten it moving back in the direction it came. So match the tempo and length of swinging motion and you will soon develop much better feel just like the pros!