While watching the PGA Championship this weekend, you might as well take some virtual putting lessons from your favorite golf pros. Here are some things to look for:
While many of us have been instructed to take the putter “straight back and straight through,” the majority of players on the PGA Tour employ an arcing stroke. While the straight-through method certainly sounds logical, it conflicts with the physics of the human body. With an arcing stroke, the putter travels on a slight curve from inside to inside. Look for it while watching the pros this weekend at the PGA Championship. For more on the subject, read PutterZone.com’s interview with V.J. Trolio, an expert in the arcing stroke.
A consistent pre-shot routine is vital to putting success, yet many recreational golfers wing it when they’re out on the green. Watch the pros closely to see how they approach their pre-shout routines. Each routine is personalized to the player, but you will see common threads, the biggest of which is consistency. There’s a reason they call it a routine. Develop your own and stick with it, even if your more casual golfer friends are rolling their eyes while you’re doing it.
Most male recreational golfers use a 35-inch putter, which has long been considered the “standard” for men. But the new standard is that there is no standard, and many PGA Tour pros use putters that are 34 and even 33 inches long. Why? Because a shorter putter allows them to achieve a proper setup. For more information, read PutterZone.com’s recent piece on the subject of putter length. While you’re at it, you may want to keep an eye out for shorter driver lengths as well. The men’s driver in your local retail outlet is 45-inches long. According to equipment expert Tom Wishon, the average driver length on the PGA Tour is 44.5 inches. Until fairly recently, Tiger Woods used a 43.5-inch driver. Why consider a shorter driver? More control for more consistency and ultimately lower scores.
One thing PutterZone.com often hears is that it’s the puttee, not the putter. There is some truth to the notion that ability and mechanics make all the difference. Give Phil Mickelson a $25 putter from Big 5 and he’ll still sink far more putts than most of us. But if there was a perfect putter that performed ideally for everyone, wouldn’t all of the PGA Tour pros be using that same putter in their respective quests to earn hundreds of thousands of dollar? The closest thing to such a putter is probably the Scotty Cameron blade, which is the most-used putter on tour. But look at Troy Matteson using a Heavy Putter, or Padraig Harrington using an Oddyssey 2-Ball blade or Zach Johnson using a SeeMore FGP—all very unique putting instruments that have helped these pros win tournaments, including majors for Harrington and Johnson. So while ability and mechanics are the biggest factors in putting, don’t discount the notion of personal chemistry with your putter, which can have a big impact on comfort, confidence and ultimately performance. If you feel like you’re always fighting with your putter, it might be time for a new relationship.