Students who come to me looking for some help with their putting oftentimes think they have an alignment problem, or they don’t feel comfortable getting their distances under control. These can be problems, but more than anything else I think it’s because they are too tight and rigid in their swing mechanics. They let their shoulders swing the club rather than those two assets much closer to the ball…their hands.
We usually head out to the practice green and I’ll ask them to hit a few putts. I like to stand directly behind the player (such as in this picture to the left) to look for any obvious posture, swing plane, alignment or any other little things that can add up to a bad stroke. It’s amazing that what you think you are doing may not even be close to what I see while observing the stroke.
I think the hands that grip the club need to feel lubricated with a good shot of oil in the joints. The feeling that some people have that your shoulders should move in a pendulum motion is not what I teach. I think the hands are the pivot point for the club head, and it is the club head that must swing much like a fence gate.
Another important point I like to make is that a golf ball with a “hook” spin rolls better than a ball struck with a slicing motion. To do that, the club head’s toe must pass the heel of the club at impact to impart some hook spin on the ball. This is the same concept we see when you swing with a driver or an iron…why should a putter be any different?