Practicing putting indoors is a must in northern climes. With a 5 to 6 month off-season, putting in my basement is very important for a quick start in the spring. Additionally, I found that the extra time I devote to putting allows for a more analytical approach to better ball striking. I try to hit 50 putts each night (which really does not take very long) with a focus on minimizing any extra movements not needed for making a consistent putting stroke. After practicing for a few weeks, I decided to break down my stroke into different segments and focused on just that during each session. Recently, I focused on weight distribution and found out that I was not standing in the optimal position for my swing path. Let me explain.
Before we start, I do want to say that I believe I am a fairly good putter. Last season I averaged under 30 putts per round with a 1.65 putts per hole average. This not bad for an amateur (on the PGA Tour I would be ranked 198th), but it is an area where I would really like to improve this year. So, focusing on strengthening my putting stroke is a smart way to lower my golf scores in 2021.
With any potential swing change, I like to start at the ground moving upwards. Weight distribution is a fundamental skill often overlooked by amateurs. Before I delve into my comfort zone, here is a video that provides a quick overview worth watching:
There is a natural position for every golfer. It is not the same for each player, however some fundamentals are key. In the video above Michael Breed suggests putting 60% of your weight on your lead leg. This creates a stronger foundation and prevents from hitting up on the ball. I don’t know about you, but I do not know what 60% actually feels like. Hence, I developed my own cue to solve this conundrum.
I stand over the ball so the trail edge of the ball is inline with the center of my stance. You can use alignment sticks to help with this portion of your set up. Then, I shift my weight slightly to my left (I am a right handed putter) until I feel the muscles in my left hip engage. This movement is about an inch or so. Now, my left eye (dominant eye) is in the middle of the ball. This is the perfect position for my putting stroke. I maintain my weight distribution in this position for the entire putting stroke. I have found that putting some weight on my left leg is beneficial for consistent solid contact. Is this 60%; I am not sure. However, having my weight on my left leg is very important.
Next is my heal to toe weight distribution. This is where I used my Eye Line Putting Aid. (I have no affiliation with this product) The lines the mirror are beneficial for helping me determine my heel to toe weight distribution. Here is how I use this training aid:
- I place the center of my ball on the center black line
- I place the face of my putter along the perpendicular red line at the back end of the gap
- I line my body so the putter shaft is in the middle of my body and I engage my left hip for the left to right weight distribution
- Next, I shift my weight from heal to toes. I want my eyes to align between the red and black line at the base of my putter head. They are the two lines close together immediately below the center line
- This is the perfect weight distribution for my putting stroke. It feels like it is in the the center of my feet with no added weight to my heels or toes
- If I am out of position with too much weight on my heels, my eyes line up with the bottom red line – makes me feel like I am reaching for the ball
- If I have too much weight on my toes, my eyes are very close to center line – makes my arms feel restricted and too close to my body
As I swing the putter head, it is in a slight arc, but comes back to center on contact (most of the time 😉 ). I try to putt with this set up every time. Recently, I ensure to go through the steps to stand in the proper position focusing on my weight distribution. I also find that by standing in the above described position, I hit the center of my putter face in the 90% percent range and this is always a good thing.
Wight distribution when putting is very important. I recommend that you use the above information as a starting point, then experiment with moving your weight around to find the most comfortable position for your putting stroke. You may want to move the ball position around as well because it will help you develop the strong foundation when using the flat stick.
Experiment, have fun, be goofy, and then stay focused on what works for you with respect to putting. This is a unique skill that you own. Remember, putting really is a stroke saver and the more comfortable you feel over the ball, the more confidence you will have to sink the knee knocking 3 footers.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!