Posture is the key to putting
Dr Paul Hurrion
Standing correctly to the ball is the foundation of my putting
instruction – get this right and the rest falls easily into place.
Your goal at address is to establish a posture that allows
your shoulders to rock in a pendulum motion without any
need for excess hand action or other compensations which
wonʼt hold up under pressure.
The main issue I find with many amateur golfers is that
their putter isnʼt fitted correctly (they have either bought the
latest model, borrowed a putter from a friend, been given one
as a ʻhand me downʼ or even looked through the second hand
bin to find the secret!).As a result, the golfer fits their
posture around the putter, rather than correctly fitting the putter
to their posture. Would you play with irons that were too
long or too short? Or with the lie angle too upright or too flat?
Custom fitting for putters is lagging considerably behind
what is available in the long game. This is something I believe
you have to get right in order to improve performance
on the greens. In association with GELGolf I am working to
give everyone the chance to address this problem. The fitting
process only takes 30minutes from start to finish…but the
results on the greens are there for all to see long afterwards.
In the diagram here I have highlighted the key parameters
I look for in the posture of a golfer at the set-up – in this case
LPGA tour player Beatriz Recari. If the set-up is not correct,
there will be unwelcome compensations within the stroke as
a result. I am looking to create a consistent and repeatable
putting action that enables you to start the ball on the line that
you have read – every time and under pressure!
Looking from the ʻBall to Target Lineʼ, the first aim is to
have the top of your back flat and horizontal to the ground; it
is not a tilt from the hips but more from the mid section of
your back. Imagine a DVD case or even a glass of water
resting on this top section of your back.As a result your face
is flat and looking directly to the ground.
This horizontal position allows your shoulders to rock on a
ʻsquare to squareʼ path. If your top of spine angle isnʼt horizontal,
you will start to create an arc in the path of your shoulders.
And if you consider that with a medium putt length (say
15ft) the ball stays in contact with the putter face for approximately
half a millisecond (0.005 second), you will realise that
with an arc in your putter path there is only slight opportunity
to get the putter face exactly square at impact.
Please check that an imaginary line can extended from
the shaft of the putter, through your forearms. This will ensure
that even the slightest wrist break will not cause the putter
face to rotate.
If you are standing the correct distance from the ball, your
left hand will be sitting underneath the top of your back. You
are looking for the left hand to be directly underneath the
pivot point (Cervical Joint No 7) at the base of the neck – or
where the label is on the collar of your shirt! (In the example
image here, Beatriz could extend her arms a fraction more to
be directly under her pivot point, this is a small compromise,
however given the fact she likes the feeling of ʻconnectionʼ
with her arms to her rib cage, is one I am willing to allow...)
Finally, your knees should be slightly flexed, with your
weight even between heels and toes.As a result, your body
is in a very efficient biomechanical position to create the desired
pendulum stroke with the posture enabling the path of
the putter to be dictated by the shoulders and not the hands!
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine