By Josh Zander
There are so many ways to putt well. Bobby Locke hooked his putts. Billy Mayfair slices his putts. Crenshaw has a long, flowing stroke. Azinger has a short, pop- like stroke. And Tiger has perhaps the simplest stroke I have ever seen. All of the aforementioned putters have made their fair share of putts and all have one fundamental in common. They all accelerate into the ball.
All golfers know that it is important to accelerate into impact. This is an important fundamental in the swing as well as in putting. If we all agree that acceleration is important, then we should all understand that accelerating the putter means that the putter has to release past the hands.
Too many golfers believe that the stroke is controlled by the shoulders and that the hands need to stay quiet. Keeping your hands and wrists locked produces a block which leads to poor contact and deceleration. Your hands are your only contact with the club. The key is to use your hands and wrists correctly rather than eliminate them from the process. When throwing a ball underhand, the hands and wrists remain soft and active in producing the throw. This is an athletic motion and so is putting. To feel the correct motion, simply anchor your putter to your belly and let the putterhead swing. Can you feel what is happening to your hands and wrists? This is a release!
I personally can’t believe that USGA has allowed belly putters as they make putting so much easier. You can’t block your putts if you let the putterhead swing while keeping the grip end anchored to your body. If you have a short putter, I recommend building a belly putter to match so you can practice the release. All you have to do is take your short putter to a club builder and have him use the same lie angle and build one long enough to reach your belly. Once you learn the feel of the proper release, your putting will improve tremendously.