Hole more six footers

Published 16/08/2008 21:20:15

Being able to hole out consistently from the awkward range of about 6 foot is vital for good scoring. It's a confidence booster to know that even if you miss the green and your chip finishes that tricky distance away you have a very good chance of clutching par.


Problems with this shot are mainly mental - a negative attitude can hinder your technique. The length of swing is so short that it's hard for a proper technique to go drastically wrong on its own


Straight Back


Although the club naturally moves inside the line on the backswing of a long putt, the path should be almost straight back along the ball-to-target line on a short putt. There is only a very slight move inside - if at all - on a six footer.


The crucial points are at impact and the follow-through.The blade should always return square at impact, and you must follow through along the ball-to-target line on a straight putt. This reduces the risk of pushing or pulling the ball and missing the putt.


If you swing a putter along the target line on a straight putt, only the pace or a bad kick can keep the ball out. Your stance should be sturdy and relaxed, and your action free of tension and smooth yet controlled. Keep your grip light, and make sure you never break your wrists.


Stay perfectly still throughout the stroke. To help you achieve this, never look up to watch the ball rolling towards the hole. Wait until you hear the putt drop. This helps keep the putter swinging on the proper path.


On a breaking putt the technique remains the same but you must now judge the line and pace carefully. Don't be tempted to guide the ball at the hole - once you have chosen you line, putt straight along it letting the slope - not your putter blade - turn the ball back towards the target.


Confidence is the key - build it up by going out to practise. A positive attitude helps you relax and make a good stroke when it matters. Having negative thoughts on the greens can destroy even the best putting technique. Always try to be positive and assume you're going to hole out every six footer.


Step 1: Target Line Takeaway


Your takeaway must be smooth with no wrist break - you should be conscious of the club moving back along the ball-to-target line. The clubhead moves naturally inside on the backswing, but the movement should only be very slight.


Step 2: Down The Line


The blade must be square at impact. Make sure the club follows through along the target line - it must not move to the inside. The proper line keeps the clubface square to the target for as long as possible, reducing the risk of a pull or a push.


Step 3: Controlled Finish


Hold the club at the finish position. Resist the tendency to jerk the putter back to the address position after impact - this leads to a jabbing stroke. Notice how the head has remained still throughout the stroke. Don't look up until you hear the putt drop, or your body can turn at impact and pull the ball off line.

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