Brad Faxon is a well respect professional golfer who has turned mentor and teacher. He offers advice in many areas and I have used his sage wisdom in previous posts. I happen to stumble across a short video on putting where Faxon offers a fundamental tenant that all golfers should follow. It should be the basis of your putting stroke and maintained as you build your unique style of putting. It is a great tip and needs to be watched by all golfers.
Watching professionals putt, I notice that the styles vary from player to player. There is no proper or correct ‘style’ that is a must for amateurs to emulate. However, Faxon does offer one solid piece of advice that every amateur should follow:
I can honestly say that I have tried so many different stances over the years that I cannot recount them all. Looking back over the years of practice, I know that some of the stances were definitely uncomfortable. At the time, I thought that by copying someone else would make me a better putter. Well, it did not and my search continued. Fast forward to today. My stance and position over the ball is what I consider to be comfortable. It has taken many years of trying to get to where I am at and I am confident that I am a solid putter.
My stance is very relaxed. I found that if I bent over too far, then my lower back would tire during practice. If I stood up more, then my eye line was inside my putter line during contact. I use a standard putting grip, maintain the putting triangle, and swing my club with my shoulders. All of these putting motions are reinforced by the fact that I am in a comfortable position prior to putting.
Another important aspect of being relaxed over the ball has to do with my actual stroke. As you know, I am a strong supporter of following through past the ball twice as far as I drew the putter head back. My back 6 forward 12 mantra is made easier by being in a relaxed position. I am able to freely swing my putter without having counter forces acting on each movement of my putting stroke. My flat stick flows effortlessly the moment I put it into action. My success on the greens is something I rely on to keep my golf scores low.
If you are looking for some empirical evidence, my average putts per round over the past two years is 29.3. I use 30 putts per round as my benchmark and anything under that I consider a success. Of course there are rounds where I putt in the mid 30s, but that is countered by some rounds in mid 20s. Regardless of the actual number, I find that being relaxed while putting is the fundamentally the most important tenant that all amateurs should follow.
I also agree with Faxon when he says that our putting stroke should be unique to our game. Yes, there are some basic movements that most players will use, but exactly how they are employed (grip is a perfect example) is up to the player themselves. Ultimately, being relaxed is the basis for building a solid, consistent, and reliable putting stroke. It works for me and I am sure it will work for you.
Since we are talking about putting, I have to show this amazing putt by Jack Nicklaus, again!