Lesson Tee: Jeff Coston

Putting better

Everyone wants to score lower, I know I do.  The quickest way to improve scoring is around the greens.  This month we are going to take a thumbnail look at a few aspects of putting.

I always express at my clinics and lessons that most golfers usually focus 80% on line and only 20% on speed.   I feel it should be the opposite when you are getting ready to putt.  

Speed, speed, speed.

People three putt because of poor speed not poor line.  When I putt best I have proper speed control. 

If I have great speed I have more trust.   I also have great speed when I have target focus rather than mechanical focus.  Ben Crenshaw has stressed this concept to me on many occasions.   He told me he has never putted well thinking about his stroke.   Hit several putts 30-50 feet focused on speed.   Use an intuitive look at the line and a focused feel on speed, 80% speed and only 20% on line.

A second key to putting improvement is “hit the ball solid.”  Hit the ball on the sweet spot of the putter.  Practice this skill.  Yes, it is a skill.  Yes, it can be practiced.  A helpful drill is to place a quarter on the green.  Stroke the quarter and make it move.  It’s tougher than it looks.

Thirdly, a solid set up is important for consistent putting.  When a player has their forearms on the same plane as the putter shaft many stroke flaws will disappear.  

Bending forward with the upper torso to where the shoulders are close to parallel to the ground will create a straighter backstroke.   This occurs because the arms swing down the shoulder line.  

Personally, I have found success setting up a bit underneath or to the right at address.   This way I can see the line better.   Again putting with your eyes focused on the target is very important.  

My hands are over the ball at address rather than behind.  Ben Crenshaw and Morris Hatalsky turned me on to this years ago. To work on the mechanics of my putting stroke I often use a 2 x 4 turned up on it’s edge.   I stroke the putter with the toe rubbing on the board.   I also do the same with the heel of the putter rubbing and following the board.   You can also hit putts doing this drill. And hopefully those putts will start to fall for the coming golf season.
• Speed
• Solid hit
• Solid set up
• Use the 2 x 4

Jeff Coston is a 21-time Pacific Northwest PGA Player of the Year. Jeff can be reached at Semiahmoo by calling 360 201 4590. See jeffcoston.com for more.