Q: Steve Gutilla writes "I am a 0 handicap that averages between 30-34 putts per round. I feel that I read the greens properly, but I cannot roll my ball on the designated line I have chosen. For a low handicap, I feel that I miss far too many short putts and I make very few putts over 10 ft. I have tried to place a line on the ball to make sure that I am rolling it true and for my alignment. Unfortunately, it has not produced any significant change nor have I actually seen an improvement in the roll of the ball. I putt with a conventional grip overlapping the first finger of my left hand on top of the fingers on my right hand. I putt with a Rife center shafted putter that is 34 1/2 inches long. My question is: when I try to accelerate the putter through the putt, I generally pull it. If I try to lead with my left hand through impact, I push the putt. Most of my putts lack speed because I do not feel as if they are being hit solid enough or rolled properly for the length of stroke I have chosen. Are my poor putting stats caused from a mechanical flaw in my stroke or alignment? What would you recommend I try?"
A: Thank you for taking the time to send your question. I can hear your passion … it is awesome.
I think I can help.
It is a two step process:
1. Use positive reinforcement techniques to learn to feel the correct motions
2. Use negative reinforcement to take the motions deep into your habits
This is how I’d approach it if we were working face to face:
Use an aid (positive reinforcement) to make you do it right -
The EDGE System will check your alignment and setup. It will force you to swing the putter down the line – you can’t pull or push the putt – the rails prevent it. You may want the Pro Plane Rail if you are making longer strokes.
Practice with it. Go through full routines. Make hundreds of 5 footers. It will build confidence. It will build an accelerating stroke, too.
Don’t go here too fast
Continue to use the putting system, but make an adjustment. Widen the channel for the putter to swing through. Make strokes and don’t hit the rail (negative reinforcement). Eventually you will take the rails away and focus on setup with the mirror only.
As you are practicing, notice if you are better using a single hand. Are you better with just the right or left? That should be your dominant hand during the stroke.
That’s a lot to begin with. My goal is to help you build a little confidence and ease up on the mechanics for a while.
I’m guessing you are a terrific player in a putting slump … all it takes is seeing and hearing a few putts going in.
Our Games and Drills blog has a bunch of games to keep you interested during your “recovery”. Have some fun again!
Please keep me informed about your progress. I’d love to help.
All the best,