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Turn Down The Rock & Roll

The Putting Arc

The gang over at the Putting Arc just made PutterZone.com aware of an interview on Sirius-XM Radio’s Making The Turn, in which leading golf instructor Rick Smith astutely analyzes Tiger Woods’ putting stroke.

Now, this may not be the best time to sing the praises of Woods’ putting game, in the wake of his troubles on the green during the last round of the PGA Championship. But let’s face it, that was just a blip on the radar. Nobody putts better than Tiger Woods.

According to Smith, the secret to Woods’ pitch-perfect putting stroke is a slight rotation in the shoulders, creating a “fractional” arc in the path of the putter head.

Now, many golfers have been taught to employ a “straight back and straight through” putting stroke, in which the putter face essentially remains square to the target line throughout the stroke.

Most PGA Tour professionals, however, employ some form of arcing stroke, in which the putter face is square to the arc, and thus square to the target line upon impact.

Says Smith, “What you see with Tiger is a perfect triangle in the setup. His shoulders, his arms and his hands create this triangle. Then, instead of rocking his shoulders…he creates an arc with his shoulders, where his right shoulder will go a little bit behind him, and then on the downswing his left shoulder will go a little behind him, and it creates a fractional arc.”

Such mechanics are in contrast to rocking the shoulders up and down, which is more of a “straight back and straight through” approach. The arcing stroke is today accepted as the more physiologically natural approach to putting.

As Pat O’Brien, putting instructor to Zach Johnson and others (and consultant to the SeeMore Putter Company), said in an interview with PutterZone.com, “I believe that a putter swings on an arc, but the arc happens, it’s not a manipulated arc. Where I disagree with other top teachers, one in particular, is if we stood on the target line as in pool or shuffleboard, then the putter would swing straight back and straight through. But we stand to the side of a golf ball, so physics would say that we have to swing at an arc.”

So there you have it—if you want to raise your game, you may want to retire the “rock and roll” approach to putting and instead emulate the smooth jazz of Tiger Woods’ stroke.

P.S. Click here for a clip of the Rick Smith interview with Peter Kessler on Sirius-XM, courtesy of the Putting Arc. The Putting Arc, pictured above, is designed to instill the fundamentals of an arcing stroke.

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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