Stop Deceleration Putting Drills

Published: 31st August 2010
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Acceleration through the ball is one of the keys to a smooth successful putting stroke. Here are several putting drills to help you accelerate through the ball.

A great idea for putting through the ball is the idea of the invisible ball. Stroke the ball like it's not there; like the ball is invisible. You can find out more about this drill at Putting Drills - Putt The Invisible Ball.

Deceleration or attempting to slow down your putter head is a big enemy of a smooth putting stroke. Deceleration typically results in pushing the ball of to the right for a right-handed putter and to the left for a left-handed putter.

Too Big a Back-Stroke

The root of deceleration is usually taking too long a back-stroke on a short putt. Taking a big back-stroke and accelerating through the putt will result is a lot of speed and putting through the hole.

Half Back-Stoke Drill

A good drill for limiting the back-stroke is to put a ball behind the ball you're going to putt. Obviously this must performed on the practice green. Here's the drill. First, determine the length of your back-stoke by taking a normal put and mark how far back you go. Now, put a ball 1/2 the distance between the ball you'll putt and the distance you had on that first back-stroke. Now, take a putt without hitting the second ball on the back-stroke.

Don't be surprised if you are short on the first few attempts. Old habits will be at work. As you learn to accelerate through the ball, the putts should start falling.

Stroking or Stabbing?

The putter head needs to move squarely through the ball. It should strike the ball, not hit it or stab it. What's the difference? Striking the ball is catching the ball in the middle of a rhythmic smooth stroke. You would take the same stroke regardless of whether you struck the ball or not. However, when you hit or stab at the ball, you are attempting to hit the ball by guiding the putter head. Two things will happen, neither of them good.

First, as we discussed above, you will decelerating the putter head in an attempt to guide it. Second, the putter head will not be square to the ball and the ball will go off-line.

Rhythm Putting - Tick-Tock

A smooth putting stroke is all about rhythm. Think of the tick-tock of a clock. Most golfers I see on the public courses employ more of a tick-tock-tock stroke. Their back stroke is fast and then they try to slow it down and decelerate through the putt.

I began using tick-tock a long time ago and still use it today as my putting trigger. The critical point is for the forward stroke to be faster than the back stroke. Not a lot faster, but enough to keep the putter head accelerating. It would be better to use a tick-tick tock if you had to to keep accelerating through the ball.

You could also have a friend call out the tick-tock. While he's there have him shoot a video of your putting stroke with your cell phone camera so you can see your stroke.

Summary

Use these putting drills to improve your putting. Accelerating through the ball with a smooth natural swing is the key point. These putting tips will be of little use if they are not practiced. You can practice these drills at home, so try them. It could save you strokes on your next round.


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