Putting tips from Zach Johnson's coach

Learn from Johnson

Putting tips from Zach Johnson's coach

Much of the success achieved by former US Masters champion Zach Johnson is attributed to his putting coach Pat O'Brien, who feels that 'staying relaxed' and 'understanding the design of a putter' is vital to reducing the number of strokes.

O'Brien, a 39-year-old director of instruction at Lakewood Country Club in New Orleans, learned much of what he teaches while studying the late Payne Stewart during the 1990s.

He told the Dallas Morning News his favourite five putting tips that have helped Johnson and his other pupils and will definitely assist club golfers to hole more putts:

1. Stand tall and let your arms swing freely to help prevent excessive hand action during the stroke.

2. Select a putter that allows you to develop a good posture, while making sure the heel or toe of the putter is not angled upward at address.

3. Relax your face and jaw to help remove negative thoughts and take the tension out of the stroke.

4. Understand the design of your putter. The shaft goes into the head at an angle and is essentially ‘a weight on a stick’. A putter is designed to swing in an arc. Don't try to take it back straight and low.

5. Visualise the ball travelling in to the hole during your pre-shot rehearsal and get a feel for the length of the stroke required – but without being too conscious of the action. After a last look at the target, let it go. The best strokes are the ones you don't remember.

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Article first published May 2009, updated May 2013

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