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Method | Making a Good Stroke

This article appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of LINKS.

Jim Barnes 1925
Aim at cultivating the movement of a man driving a tack or nail with a hammer. Keep the eye and the attention on striking the ball, and all the time aim at acquiring a steady, smooth, rhythmic stroke motion in swinging the club. This smooth steady striking is the basic essential of consistently good putting.  A Guide to Good Golf

Percy Boomer 1946
To putt well we must be supple and loose. We must not be flabby; we must be conscious of our body being held up by its braces, yet not so braced as to impede movement. All our muscles must be mobilized but they must be mobile. Do not sway to and fro but on the other hand do not be fixed; there is a great deal of difference. On Learning Golf

Max Faulkner 1972
No follow-through, that’s the heart of good putting…The reason why you have to stop the through swing is that, if you follow through the putter has to come off the ground, that is common sense. Follow-through putters three-putt far more often than those who do not follow through. Play Championship Golf All Your Life

Jim McLean 1994
If your direction and distance control are both off, chances are your stroke is too wristy. To assume a very secure grip and take the wrists out of your stroke, drop your left forefinger over the last three fingers of your right hand. This type of grip is used by a high percentage of Tour professionals. The Putter’s Pocket Companion

Niblick 1902
A good rule is to putt with the right thumb down the shaft, as it better keeps the face of the club at a right angle with the line of the hole. If, because of the slope of the putting green, it is desirable to putt to the right of the hole, hold the thumb more to the right on the shaft, and if to the left of the hole more to the left of the shaft. Hints to Golfers

John Jacobs  2005
The shortest route to an authoritative strike, I believe, is to hit the ball against the left wrist, never past it. On short putts the left wrist never quits nor bends at any stage of the forward stroke. Some golfers may interpret this as a stiff-wristed action. It isn’t. There is a wrist break going back but none going forward, so that the clubface never gets ahead of the hands until well after impact. 50 Years of Golfing Wisdom

Jack Nicklaus  1964
Startling as the thought may be, practice does not make you a good putter. Putting is strictly a matter of feel, touch, and timing. I practice only until I achieve a constant rhythm, with the blade hitting the ball firmly and the ball coming squarely off the putter head. When I feel this rhythm six or seven times in a row, I quit. If you practice past that point you will become mechanized and lose your sense of touch. So practice until you feel you are putting well and then stop before you spoil your stroke. Take a Tip from Me

Harvey Penick 1992
You should make it a habit to carry your putter in your left hand. Or in both hands if you wish. But never carry it in your right hand alone. Your left hand and arm are extensions of the putter shaft. That is the feeling you want to have. Little Red Book

Phil Rodgers 1986
The pace of the stroke is the same for all putts. Distance is achieved by increasing or decreasing the size of the stroke. I found that, in my case, if I swing the putter an inch back from the ball and an inch past it, the ball goes one foot. If I swing it six inches back and six inches through, the ball goes six feet. Therefore, I step off the footage from my ball to the hole to determine how long my stroke will be, and after setting up and aiming, make the stroke by the numbers. Play Lower Handicap Golf

Tom Watson 1983
This is probably the most important mechanical element in putting, and yet almost no one mentions it. The angle of the left elbow remains constant throughout the stroke, eliminating unnecessary extending and retracting of the arm. If I keep the angle of the left elbow constant, my shoulders must move as a unit with my arm, providing a consistent guide for the stroke and producing a perfect arc time after time, like a pendulum. Getting Up and Down

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