Putting Can’t Be Taught
11:19 AM PST - 12/3/2007
by: Joe Buttitta
I may be in the minority here, but I don’t think the art of putting can be taught. It can be learned, but not taught. That's why putting is an art, not a science. What do I mean?
First of all, there are many different ways to roll a ball into a hole. Anyone who has ever played miniature golf knows that. Consider the vastly different successful styles in golf’s history. There was a young Arnold Palmer who stood knock-kneed, pigeon-toed, elbows hugging the body and a very wristy stroke. During his prime Palmer was the best golfer in the world, and among the top five putters.
Along came Jack Nicklaus who practically faced the hole, set his left hand firmly on the putter, then used his right arm as a piston. Did pretty well, too!
How about Gary Player’s pop putting stroke. No follow-through to speak of. His putter stopped moving forward at impact. He just popped the ball. Former PGA Champ Bob Rosburg also putted very well this way.
However, the best putter of all-time was South African Bobby Locke who was truly unique. His putting stroke came sharply from inside-to-out so that he hooked every putt. No one was better with the flat stick.
What I'm saying is this: get yourself on the putting green and figure out a way ‘you’ can best roll a ball into the hole. Nobody can teach you how hard to hit the putt. Direction is obvious. However, experience is sorely lacking. Next time you're on the putting green check to see how many players are on the driving range ripping drivers in all directions. The ratio is easily 10-to-1 in favor of the range. If the putting is half of par 72 (at two putts per hole) then why not bite the bullet and practice putting. Your scores will be lowered almost immediately with just modest work.
The only absolute in putting is keeping your head rock-steady. Beyond that, you teach yourself how to do it.