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+86 186 8955 8336

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Learning Golf- The Seven Foundations

Foundation 3: Become a Good Putter

by Dr. Ron Cruickshank

Too many people think they will get better by just hitting balls at a driving range. Nothing is further from the truth and in fact often leads to bad habits because people often practice to failure. Stop before you get tired.  If you divide your practice time equally between the various skills of the full swing, chipping, pitching, putting and bunker play you will have the best chance of improving.

Foundation 3 Become a Good Putter

The Short Game is made up of pitching, chipping, bunker shots and putting. However, the physical movement of putting is so fundamentally different that we treat it as a separate skill to be learned.  All good golfers are good putters- there are no exceptions.

Insights on Putting

  • The biggest distinction in putting is that the shot stays on the ground. At no point does the ball leave the ground. Therefore, one must become very good at predicting how the ball will move along the ground’s undulations towards the hole. We call this ‘reading the green’.
  • Learn to AIM the putter face. The most important variable for putts inside ten feet is to make sure your club face is aimed properly. A 1 degree error from three feet will cause you to miss the putt.
  • Train for specific distances. Research by Swedish putting specialist Stephane Barass has shown that the best distances to practice from are as follows:
    • 3 feet – We call this a TAP and you should make 99% of these shots
    • 6 feet- This is a short putt and your goal is to make 70% of these
    • 18 feet – This is a medium putt and your goal is to be within TAP distance on every medium putt. You have less than a 15% chance of making this put statistically, so the next putt is VERY important. Leave yourself a tap and avoid three putts.
    • Longer than 18 feet – At this length the putt is all about controlling the speed of the putt and reading the green to understand the path the ball will take to the hole. Your goal is to have a TAP left, but never more than a short
  • Make sure your putter fits you. You should be able to bend over and hang your arms without tension while positioning your eyes directly over the ball. Most people have putters much too long. Any good golf shop can have a putter shaft cut to fit you properly.
  • Practice speed control to avoid three putts. This is the challenge for most new golfers as they don’t have a sense for how hard to hit the ball to cover a specific distance. Controlling the distance is a function of tempo and how far you take the club head back and thru. Seek a consistent tempo and practice at the distances we outlined to learn how hard you have to hit the ball.

If you want more information on the PGA (Phoenix Golf Academy) Putting System III, look for article called Putting System III.

Remember – learn the fundamentals and the game will reward you with a lifetime of benefits.

The Seven Foundations of Learning Golf: An Overview

Foundation 1 Become a Consistent Ball Striker

Foundation 2 Perfect your Short Game

Foundation 3 Become a Good Putter

Foundation 4 Have Clubs that FIT your body, swing and game

Foundation 5 Become Confident at Course Management Skills

Foundation 6 Practice with Purpose

Foundation 7 Learn to Manage Your Mind and Emotions on the Course