Putting for Dough

We've all seen it happen: the frustrated golfer missing an important putt and tossing his putter, which may end up in a pond, the woods, the next fairway, or over the state line into Pennsylvania. The aphorism, "Drive for show, putt for dough," certainly holds a great deal of truth for many golfers. A lot more balls are hit at driving ranges than the putting green. Perhaps the golfer's stance is the culprit.

The Practiced Putt

In order to study the best putting stance in the world, find the video of Tiger Woods' US Open 18th Hole putt (2008). His stance is probably considered the best in the world.

The October 2010 edition of Golf Digest had an article titled "The Best on Tour Today-And Ever." The magazine asked more than 100 players on three tours to name the best putters on their tours. On the PGA tour they voted for Tiger Woods as number one.

Tiger Woods was quoted in that article as saying, "A lot of credit goes to my father. He always stressed using the same routine every time. Two keys for me are a light grip pressure and making sure the pace of my backstroke and follow-through are the same."

When you watch the video of the 2008 Tiger Woods putt, you'll immediately notice the balanced posture. You see absolutely no body movement. Tiger has practiced this stance innumerable times.

Watch the putting stroke closely: the controlled backswing, the stroke through the ball, and the follow-through. The mental focus of one of the world's best pros is on display.

The Putting Stance Setup

The setup for the putt requires the width of the stance to be hip width, not shoulder width as in a drive from the tee. Moreover, the golfer must move closer to the ball. The golfer's head should then be over the ball, which means the ball should be almost equidistant between the left and right feet.

Putting Stance Adjustments

Slight adjustments can be made with ball position with placement somewhere towards the left instep (for the right handed golfer). Accordingly, the golfer's weight balance must move onto the left foot with the golfer's head staying over the ball.

Eyeing the Spot

With your head over the ball, find a spot that is on the putting line towards the hole. With a straight-line putt, this is easy: the spot will be directly between the ball and the hole. But 99 percent of the time, after due consideration, the golfer will identify a spot either to the left or right of the line. This spot is generally a blade of grass.

Final Putting Adjustment

Look at Tiger Woods' putting stroke in the video of the 2008 US Open previously mentioned. His stance is aimed slightly to the left, but it is square. This means the putting stroke moves parallel to the line cutting across the front of his shoes.

Tiger's stroke moves through the ball, which rolls left then curls slightly towards and into the cup.

In 2010, another special golfer showed she could putt: Stacy Lewis. She played two important tournaments: the US Open and the US Women's Open. In the US Open, she had a hot putter. "The US Open was surreal. I played okay the first two days, and then all of a sudden my putter catches fire and I'm leading." At the Oakmount Country Club in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, during the US Women's Open, she also played well and finished fourteenth.

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Golf Digest. (2010, October). The best on tour today-and ever. Retrieved from http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/short-game/putting/2010-10/best-on-tour-putters Maple, I. (2011, April 3). Q/A with Stacy Lewis. Retrieved from http://www.mizunousa.com/golf/blog YouTube. (2008). Tiger Woods US Open 18th hole putt. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx2BS1u4fiw

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