Golf tip: Shorten your follow-through on putts

At times you need to just give it a rap!

By John Hoskison on Mon, 16 Nov 2009 - 03:11

Ben Crenshaw rapped his putts home. Shorten your follow through (right) to ensure a positive stroke.

When trying to hole short putts always putt with a positive stroke that accelerates through impact.

Sometimes, however, it doesn't always go to plan with the short ones and, as I've seen many times in pro-ams and with my pupils, when a golfer tries too hard, he or she becomes tense and the putting stroke becomes undefined and wishy-washy.

Rather than accelerating positively towards the hole, the hands freeze, the putter decelerates through impact and the ball limply rolls off line. To hole more putts learn to make a more positive stroke.

I often read in instructional articles how golf pros advocate a stroke where the putter travels back and through the same distance - ideal in a perfect world. But this advice contains very little acceleration and the stroke can easily slip into a limp and weak effort where the putter head overtakes the hands. If you look at some of the great putters, who consistently hole out under pressure, there is a slight rapping tempo to the stroke, almost like a punch shot in golf.

This ensures that the hands are in control as the putter head accelerates into the ball. Study Tiger Woods (or Jack Nicklaus in his heyday) and one of the great pressure putters Ben Crenshaw. They all accelerate into the ball and have defined finish positions to their putting strokes.

If you are struggling on the greens and leave putts short, shorten the follow through to only two inches past the ball and putt with a 'rapping tempo' that encourages acceleration. Being able to curtail the follow through also means the hands are in control after impact and this helps keep the putter face squarer, longer.

John Hoskison is attached to the Newbury Golf Centre and plays on the European Seniors Tour, having after spending time in China, where he was instrumental in building a driving range for underprivileged children in Fuzhou. He won the 2005 Jamega Tour Order of Merit last week had his best Seniors Tour finish (15th) in the Benhavis Masters in Spain. For further information visit John's website at www.johnhoskisongolf.com.

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