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Putting Distance Control

Putting Distance Control is monitoring the force applied to your putts in order to roll the ball the correct length. Having a consistent tempo and monitoring the length of your stroke are both required to control the speed of the ball.

Putting Distance Control Drills

Putting Distance Control Tips

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  • Ball Position Affects Rise

    According to the SAM Putt Lab stats you want your putter to have a 4 degree rise coming through the ball to get an ideal roll. This is why having your ball position forward of the bottom of your arc is so important. A solid ball position and neutral set up will help you to achieve the perfect rise angle.

  • If Time is Short Go Green

    Before your round make sure to spend time at the putting green. Putt to the fringe to get a feel for the speed of the greens without putting pressure on yourself to drain putts. Then spend some time making some 3 footers so your eyes can repeatedly see the ball drop into the cup. This way you are learning the speed before you tee off and building confidence. Remember, if you only have a few minutes go to the putting green rather than the driving range.

  • Sudden Acceleration Throws Off Consistency

    Keep the back swing and forward swing as one movement to control distance. Any independent movements or sudden acceleration will make speed control very inconsistent. For this reason it is important to let your big muscles (back, shoulders, abdominals) control the stroke. Getting the little muscles of your wrists and hands too involved makes it hard to keep the stroke smooth.

  • Play it Forward for Optimum Spin

    Play the ball forward of the center of your stance. This will help control spin which in turn will result in more consistent distance. If you are varying where you play the ball in your stance you will be imparting backspin on some putts and top spin on others. Top spin is ideal. With backspin, the ball may skid at first slowing the initial velocity and overall, you will not get that good accelerating roll to the hole.

  • Without a Consistent Tempo, Distance Control is Impossible

    Practice tempo. A good rhythm to practice would be to count 1,2 on the back swing and 3 coming into the ball. The average tempo on the PGA Tour is 84 bpm. You can use a a metronome to test this tempo and see if it's right for you. If it's too fast try slowing it down and vice versa. The important thing is to find a tempo that works for you and get it grooved.

  • Use One Hand For Feel

    Putt with one hand to get feel. Many pros use this drill to try to gain more feel and hand eye coordination. More commonly, they use the rear hand. Using the rear hand can also give you a feel for releasing the putter face which will prevent pushes. This will help increase accuracy on short putts.

  • Your Rear Side Applies the Power

    Putt with right hand or rear hand only. The theory here is that it is the rear side that applies the power. In your full swing your left side pulls and your right side pushes (if you are right handed). So if you can develop feel or touch with your right hand only, your distance control will become much more accurate.

  • Reading the Green Correctly is as Important as Picking the Right Speed

    Read for speed. Getting the read right is just as important as getting the speed correct. Consider an up hill right to left breaking putt. If you under read the break it could cause your ball to pick up speed and roll too far. The opposite is true for over reading. If you play it too high, the ball can slow up leaving the putt short.

  • Change Your Backswing to Change Your Distance

    To control distance you can either change the length of your back swing or change the amount of power or "oomf" you put into the putt. I believe varying your back swing length is the easier and a better way to go. Experiment with different back swing lengths and see how far back you need to swing the putter for varying distances.

  • Accelerate to Impact

    To hit solid putts and control distance make sure you keep accelerating consistently to impact. It should be a constant acceleration, not a sudden acceleration. Sudden bursts of energy are going to make distance control nearly impossible. Your swing should feel like an even pendulum accelerating just a bit to the ball.

  • Straight Arms Are Preferred

    To make your putting stroke more consistent, I prefer straight arms with putting posture. I believe it helps you move as a one piece pendulum working your shoulders, arms and hands as a unit. I feel that bends in the elbows and wrists at address cause a player to be bendy and wristy during the stroke. If you have had problems controlling your distance or difficulty keeping the face square, try making sure your arms are straight (but not rigid) when you set up and keep them that way throughout the stroke.

  • The Bigger Your Grip, The Less Wristy You Will Be

    Try a fat grip. If you are having major troubles with speed control, chances are your hands and wrists may be too involved. When the little muscles are over active, it's hard to be consistent. You could try to wrap your grip with tennis grip tape to fatten it up or purchase a new grip altogether like the super fat one that you may have seen K.J. Choi use. The bigger the grip and the more you have to palm it and the stiffer your wrists will be.

  • Fringe Putting Builds Touch

    Try fringe putting. Grab 1 -3 balls and throw them down on the green to begin putting to the fringe. Putt to points all around the green, both long and short, to work on your speed without the pressure of having to hole the putt. Work on uphill, downhill and sidehill putts as well. Eliminating the cup can help you to keep your focus on distance control.

  • If Your Tempo Varies, Your Distances Will Vary

    Use a metronome for consistency with touch. The average tempo with professionals is 84 beats per minute. Buy a portable metronome and take it out on the green with you set at 84 bpm. On the first beat take the putter back and on the second beat impact the ball. This will build consistency with your touch. This may not be the tempo for you so experiment making it slower and faster until you find what is comfortable. If your tempo is changing from putt to putt you will be varying the amount of pressure you put into the ball as well sending it inconsistent distances.

  • Play Your Ball Forward

    When setting up to putt ,play your ball just forward of your sternum. Check in front of a mirror to make sure you've got it right. Playing a ball back in your stance will make you hit down on the putt. This can cause the ball to bounce. When you position it forward of center you catch it on the up swing and get a smooth roll.

  • Don't Stop Your Follow Through

    When working on putting length, let your follow through be a bit longer than your back swing. This will keep you from decelerating or quitting on the putts resulting in putts that are left short of the hole. It will also prevent you from the opposite. Stopping too short on the follow through can be a result of getting too choppy or handsy (not letting your shoulders and big muscles control the stroke). This can cause the club head to over accelerate sending the ball too far.

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