Distance control in putting
With a conventional putting stroke all your feel, touch, and distance control is done with the hand that most instructors tell you to take out of the putting stroke!
With the conventional stroke, your trailing hand – the right if you’re right handed – is responsible for the feel and touch of the stroke. It is critical for distance control in putting!
That’s actually great news. Think about it – if you’re right handed and someone asked you to pick up a ball just roll it to the hole, you’d probably do it with your right hand. You wouldn’t take it in your non-dominant hand and backhand the ball toward the hole – that wouldn’t make any sense.
The good thing, since most golfers are right handed (if you’re left handed, just apply this to your left hand) is that your sense of touch, your dexterity, feeling, control and sensitivity, all reside there in your right hand.
Right Hand in Putting
Look at the best putters in the world; Tiger Woods being a great example. When he goes to a new course to practice and get the feel for the speed and touch of the greens, he’ll practice using his right hand only to learn distance control on the greens.
He’ll hit little right handed putts all day long, just working on the feel and his sense of speed and touch with the right hand, until he feels like he’s got the speed of the greens down.
Why does he do that with just the right hand? Obviously that’s the hand he feels he has the most sense and touch and control in the putt.
Again, if you were to throw a ball you would rely on the sense of touch, the feel and control of the right hand. The thing is, most instructors teach golfers to basically take that right hand completely out of the putting stroke.
A little hinge in the Putting Stroke
That little bit of hinge and release is going to take the sense of touch and control that you naturally have in your right hand and put it to use in your putting stroke so you can finally control your distance.
It’s just a little bit of hinge in the right wrist and a little bit of unhinge through. Obviously you’re not flipping it through, but as you let it hinge back slightly you get some feel in that wrist. As you come back through, it simply allows you to give the ball a little bit of a strike.
Moving your Head
If you’ve been taught to just rock your shoulders and you’re trying to hit a 40-foot putt without using your wrists at all, your putting stroke is going to be really awkward.
Your head is going to be moving all over the place. As your eyes are moving you end up changing your perception of the line of the putt because your shoulders are rocking so much, and we obviously don’t want that.
Instead, just get that little bit of hinge and release. Your follow through is completely under control. There’s no need for a big, long follow through on a 40-foot putt.Allow your right wrist to hinge back and through and give the ball a nice swift strike, with just a little bit of wrist hinge and a little bit of release coming through, like Tiger or Faxon. That’s what you want in a conventional putting stroke.
Practice like this, working on getting a feel for that slight hinge and release.