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Drill Bits: Nail Your Putts

Eben Dennis

Eben Dennis wants you to putt better by narrowing your focus and finding your natural stroke. 

“Golf is over-taught and over-analyzed,” he says. “If you keep it simple and unclutter your mind, you will improve your game.”

Eben is currently a teaching professional based in McKinney, Texas, and his students include PGA Tour Professionals, collegiate golfers, amateurs and beginning golfers. His current and former students include PGA Tour players such as Nick Faldo, Billy Mayfair, Robert Gamez and Shaun Micheel. Eben learned golf at Champions Golf Club while growing up in Houston, where he received tips from Jackie Burke and Jimmy Demaret as well as Ben Hogan, Julius Boros and Bruce Crampton. He attended Florida State University on a full golf scholarship and played professionally in the United States and Australia. His brother is Clark Dennis, who played in 207 PGA Tour events and who finished sixth at the 1994 U.S. Open.

Eben was kind enough to share the following drill, which exemplifies his emphasis on simple concepts that can have a substantial impact: 

“This is a drill I taught Nick Faldo in 2000 that improved him from one of the worst putters on tour to number one in putting at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where he averaged 25 putts per day. It’s called the thumb pointing drill. Even though there are a couple of other elements (such as how to hold the club for control and how to get in the best setup) that will enhance your putting performance, this drill will immediately help you become a much better putter.

First, you must focus on the relationship between your hands and the intended target. Now, feel the corner of your lower thumb on the grip that is closest to the target. On your right hand (for right handers) it will be the corner of the nail on the outside of your thumb. Take some practice strokes feeling that corner pointing at your target at the end of the motion. Now execute some three to six-foot putts making sure to hold the point at the finish of the stroke. 

By doing this you will discover that the ball goes the direction you pointed good or bad. Two things will come from this drill: (1) your focus will shift away from the putter head and ball; and (2) you will complete your stroke, giving you better rhythm and distance control. When you get a good feel for short putts, increase the distance until you feel comfortable from all distances. Once you learn to narrow your focus to your hands and where they are going, the act of putting will become simple and fun.”

Thank you Eben! To learn more about Eben Dennis, as well as his clinics and book, visit www.powerfeelgolf.com

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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