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A Putting Primer

Straight Edge Drill

You can't beat the old two-by-four for checking your alignment and stroke. Find a straight six-foot putt and align the near edge of a block of wood (a club shaft also works) to the right edge of the hole so that your ball is on a line to the middle of the cup. Use the two-by-four to check your alignment, especially that of your shoulders and feet, and practice making strokes without a ball to observe and fine-tune your putting path. Then knock putts into the hole. If your putter moves the wood coming back or through, your stroke is off. Work also with the wood inside your ball line.

Umbrella Drill

A great way to get your shoulders, arms and hands moving in unison is to putt with an umbrella lodged above your elbows. As the putter shaft goes back and through, you want to see the leading end of the umbrella go up and down, not outside and inside. Rocking the shoulders properly is, in my view, the key to controlling the putting stroke. This drill is great for developing those basic mechanics. Advanced players can return to this drill for a checkup or to help get a wayward stroke back on track.

Right Hand Only Drill

To develop better feel and distance control, practice making relaxed rhythmic putting strokes with the right hand alone. The weight of the clubhead makes it hard to hurry the transition between the back stroke and the forward stroke and encourages that slight, subtle sense of lag that all great putters have. Don't fight the lag. Instead, use it as a marker indicating that your wrists and forearms are not too tight and that your hand is correctly leading the putter face into impact. Hit ten putts with the right hand only, then add the left hand, trying to retain the same feel.


Nick Faldo's wit, insights about golf and candid assessments of fellow Tour professionals can be heard on the following ABC golf telecasts:

September 30–October 1, WGC–American Express Championship (The Grove, Hertfordshire, England)

October 21–22, Funai Classic (Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, FL)


Chip Koehlke, U.S. Director of Instructional Programs

The curriculum at Faldo Golf Institutes is built around fundamentals. Each site offers schools, private lessons and club-fitting sessions.

Marriott's Grande Vista; Orlando, FL

Marriott's Shadow Ridge; Palm Desert, CA

Seaview Marriott Resort; Galloway, NJ

Marco Island Marriott Resort; Marco Island, FL

Brocket Hall Golf Club; Hertfordshire, England

For the U.S. institutes, call 888-463-2536 or visit gofaldo.com. For Brocket Hall, call 011-44/1707-368-786 or visit brocket-hall.co.uk.


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