Stan Utley Putting Tip

If you’ve always used a putter without enough loft, you’re probably scooping your hands and breaking your wrists through impact.

Bending the putter to get enough loft on it sometimes solves the problem right away.

I remember visiting with John Daly once, when he was really struggling with his putting.

I took a look at his putter and saw that it had two degrees of loft on it.

Knowing John didn’t want to hear any technical advice, I told his caddie about it, and the caddie went out and bent the putter to about five degrees of loft.

John went out and won the next week because he felt better over the ball, even if he didn’t know why.

If you still have some remnants of that scoop in your stroke after checking your loft, try this coin drill and you’ll erase it pretty quickly.

Make a stack of two quarters and a penny, and put it an inch behind your ball, right on the target line.

Three inches in front of the ball, make a stack of two dimes, again right on the target line.

Your putting stroke should cause the putter to miss the stack of coins behind the ball on the downswing, then hit the stack of coins in front of the ball just after impact.

This drill will immediately get you hitting down on your putts instead of scooping them, and you’ll start maintaining the forward shaft angle and holding the angle of your right wrist through impact.

It might feel a little bit awkward at first, but you’ll get over that when you see how much more true your putts roll.

The feeling at impact should be much more solid, and it will immediately take a lot less effort to get your ball to roll out.

And make more putts...

1. Fix your grip

When I'm helping people with their putting, I want their hands to be placed on the club in a natural position, relative to the way their arms hang.

You get feel from the fingertips, not the palms, so in my grip, there are places where my hand isn't even on the club. This won't allow you to swing your arms and the club naturally.

Relative to the way most people's hands hang, the left hand is weak, and the right hand is strong. You'll be working against your anatomy. The hands need to be neutral and soft.

2. Align forearms for better aim

If you start with bad body alignment, you're going to do some things--even subconsciously--with the stroke to compensate for that alignment problem, and you won't be consistent. That's making putting way more difficult than it needs to be.

Although it is best to have your shoulders, hips and feet square, having your forearms aligned parallel to your start line is most crucial. A perfect grip, with your elbows tucked to your sides, is the best way to achieve this important position.

3. The stroke is a curve

The first thing you'll notice is that the clubface looks like it is opening and closing. That's just the face staying square to the path of the club--the curved path all golf is played on. My putting stroke is designed to replicate a full swing, just smaller.

Ball position is very important for any shot, including a putt. Too far forward and your path will be to the left at impact--just like in a full swing.

Too far back and your path will be to the right. I play the ball toward the front of my stance, under my left eye, with the ball at the apex of the curve. My stance is narrow and relaxed, because that's how I'd stand naturally, if we were talking. You wouldn't stand with your feet two feet apart.

The putter should follow that gently curving path. You'll feel like you're fanning the club open and shut, especially if you've always worked to swing the putter up and down the target line.

With this stroke, feel how much more solid your contact is, and how much less effort it takes to get your 20-footers to the hole.