Like the human body, your putting game can suffer from a variety of silent killers that erode performance and elevate scores.
These silent killers are the little things that can creep into your game unnoticed, at the risk of becoming habitual, not unlike hypertension or high cholesterol.
For the next three weeks, PutterZone.com’s Drill Bits series will focus on some of the sneakiest ailments, starting with putter deceleration…
As teaching professional Ed Weathers once wrote in Golf Digest: “The most common putting mistake I see the average club player make is this: Taking the putter blade back too far and then decelerating coming into the ball.”
It’s very easy to fall prey to deceleration, especially on shorter putts. Have you ever missed an easy four-foot putt and wondered what the heck just happened? Most likely, deceleration happened. When you decelerate your putter into impact, you randomize your results. Your tempo becomes jerky or yippy, distorting your angle of impact.
Deceleration is an easy habit to form, but also an easy habit to break. Awareness is a big first step. A good next step is to simply practice some four-foot putts and drills from the vantage of this awareness.
Establish the true distance you need to take the putter head back in order to make a smooth, natural acceleration into the ball, and for the ball to firmly reach the cup (it doesn’t take much from four feet!). Then, place another ball just beyond that distance point, and make some more practice putts without touching that second ball with the back of your putter.
This simple drill will help you synchronize your takeaway with the length of your putt while imparting the sensation of smooth acceleration into the ball.