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Question on Putting:

I tend to 'pull' all putts and am right handed. Can you help me fix this?
--Dick H. from Danville, IN

Thanks for the question Dick.

In looking at why you might tend to pull your putts left we need to look at two things: 1) path 2) club face. The ball is going left of your target because you are either pulling it there with a club path that goes left of your target line or you are getting the clubface closed before impact.

Starting with your path the first thing I'd like you to check is your alignment. It is common that a lot of golfers align themselves open or to the left of their target line at address. As you would see if you watched our Putting Perfection video, both Jay Delsing and I feel that is a personal preference, but find that always aligning square is easiest and best. That way, you won't have to make any compensations. If your shoulders are aligned left of the target line, chances are you are going to swing along that line as well.

The next thing I'd like you to check is body and head movement. If you are opening up your hips or shoulders during the stroke rather than remaining square to the target line, you will tend to pull to the left. Often times peeking too early or lifting your head up is a cause of excessive body movement. To check this I'd like you to take your putter inside and place the toe of the putter against the baseboard of a wall with your head resting flat on the wall. Keeping your head perfectly still on the wall start making strokes back and forth. Make sure to keep your knees and legs quiet. If this feels strange to you chances are you've had too much body or head movement in your stroke.

Lastly, there is always a chance that you are set up square and staying still, but that your arms are disconnecting from your trunk and moving outside the target line causing you to pull. To check this try to make a slight arc with your clubhead away from the baseboard. You will know right away if that feels weird because you've gotten used to pushing it to the outside on the takeaway.

The second element that can cause a pull as I stated before is the clubface. I'd like you to check that on your finish first. If you are a player that putts on a straight line, hold your finish and look at the clubface. It should be square to your target line. If you putt on an arc it should be just slightly closed to your target line, but square to your arc line. If you have determined that your club face is in fact closed to much that could be your answer and you will want to make sure that you aren't either opening it too much or hooding it closed too much on the takeaway as either of those can cause you to come back to impact too shut. To feel the face more square at impact try keeping the back of your left hand and the palm of your right hand going down the target line. Hold your finish and see that the back of your left hand is still facing your target.

I hope that helps. For more help check out the Putting Section on the site as we have over 30 putting drills. You might also consider a subscription which would include a copy of the Putting Principles DVD or that can be ordered separately as well.

If you haven't already, I suggest you start entering your scores in the game tracker and log your practice sessions in the practice planner so I can better help you achieve your goals.

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