My Golf Instructor

Arc Stroke vs Straight Line Stroke
The Great Debate: Which Way is Best For You?

Which putting stroke do you have - a straight line or an arc?Do you have an arc stroke or straight line path?

It might be the biggest debate on technique. It is for sure the biggest debate in the short game. Is the arc stroke or the straight line stroke the better way to putt? This debate has been very heated over the last 10 years, but I'm sure it dates back a lot further than we realize. Trying to decide which is the right way and trying to pick a putting style can be very difficult, because the players we try to emulate are often switching things around. You find tour players switching putters and grip styles week in week out. Just when you think they've found "it" they switch again!

You'd better be sitting down for this one...Jack Nicklaus said "I'll change my setup or stroke, not only from day to day but from green to green-even from putt to putt." I myself was blown away when I read that! How would he ever gain consistency? I think a key point to make here is even though Jack didn't consider himself a superior putter, he was sharp enough, skilled enough and athletic enough to adapt to changing conditions, thus making him the "great" mind of the game.

Again, the big question...arc or straight? The answer depends on many factors and one of them is you! Some players naturally make an arc stroke while others rock their shoulders more and swing the club on a straighter line. Some players naturally see an arcing stroke with their eyes and a breaking line to the hole, where others see a straight path and a straight line out to their aiming point. Another point to consider...is the player's putter conducive to an arc or straight line stroke?

It would be perfect and much more simple if we could putt on a straight line. The release point wouldn't matter as much because if we released the putter face early or late the ball would still travel straight. Whereas with an arc, the release of the putter face has got to remain at the same exact point in the arc for us to start the putt straight and be consistent. The ball position must also remain exactly the same from putt to putt to allow that to happen. Even though I myself tried to putt on a straight line for years (and still do) I realized at one point that it was a manipulation. If you had a putter that was 100% vertically and center shafted and not on an incline plane, you can make a go at a straight line stroke. However, you must also not let your shoulders rotate. Again, a manipulation. There really is no straight move in golf!

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
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