The Hidden Skills of Golf Putting

“The best putters are making constant ‘online’ (during stroke execution) adjustments to their strokes”

Often it is easy to gloss over academic research because the findings are of limited use or not connected to the real world. These findings, however, speak volumes to me and in particular, questions the value of working endlessly on the putting stroke out of context to the task of putting across a slope.

Click the link above for a podcast interview with Dr Rob Neal where he discusses his research of the world’s best putters. Please bear in mind that Rob’s study is on movement only and there are numerous psychological factors that will influence how your stroke performs.

So what is a good putting stroke?

We know that great putters deliver the putter face with astounding accuracy and consistency but from what we know about Motor Control (and this study), this does not mean that the stroke is a robot like action with no variability (as is the mainstay of putter coaching). To the contrary, the study shows that the best putters have a high level of adaptability and compensatory movements.

Of course, we would all like an action that is as repeatable as possible but this is not crafted through endless repetition on a straight putt with a chalk line to guide us. The drills in this course are designed to help you learn in a way that hones the putting action in synergy with the other, more subtle skills that affect how you move the putter. Notably, focus, green reading, alignment, mindful concentration.

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Regularly Calibrate Your Putting Stroke

As you can probably guess, I wouldn’t work overly hard on complex stroke mechanics but what is important is that you are constantly re-calibrating your perception of stroke and alignment. That is a key principle of the ‘True Putting’ Course.

It is extremely common for golfers to aim their putter poorly and then either pull or push the ball back to their intended line. Often it is the other way round; the brains capacity to adapt causes the player to aim offline to allow for a dominant pull or push action. Either way, it is not ideal for long term putting success. The act of calibrating is to simply hit a few balls along tram lines to pull your perception and your stroke into line. This needs to be done as often as possible but only for a few minutes at a time. It is not the same as working on heavy mechanics.

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