Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Play Your Best - by brit­tany lang us women’s open cham­pion

▶ All week at the 2016 US Open at Corde Valle in Cal­i­for­nia – where I won my first ma­jor – I was work­ing on two things with my putting: stay­ing down and fully com­mit­ting to every putt. Read­ing the putt on 16 dur­ing the fi­nal round, tied for the lead, my brother, Luke, and I picked a line we liked: a ball out left. I com­mit­ted to that line com­pletely, and just let it roll. That mind­set helped me drop the putt and take the lead.

I’m never me­chan­i­cal with my putting when I play. It’s just this ball in that hole. But your putting has to be grounded in some me­chan­ics. I’ve worked with Dave Stock­ton, and he’s big on the left hand (for right­ies with a tra­di­tional grip) be­ing the aim hand. So the left hand is su­per im­por­tant to me. I like to hit prac­tice putts left-hand-only, iso­lat­ing the feel­ing of the left hand in con­trol. My putting grip is left in­dex fin­ger over right pinkie, which gives me the feel­ing of the back of my left hand go­ing to the hole.

Where the left hand goes is where the ball goes.

I also like the stroke be­ing equal on both sides (pho­tos). I don’t want to take the put­ter back short and make a long through-stroke, or go back too far and have to de­cel com­ing through. Here’s a drill I like to work on when I prac­tice. Put a tee just out­side the toe of the put­ter at ad­dress, then stick a sec­ond tee 10 cen­time­tres be­hind it (on the back­stroke side) and an­other 10 cen­time­tres in front (through-stroke side). Hit some short putts, mak­ing sure the put­ter­head doesn’t go past ei­ther tee dur­ing the stroke. Groove that feel­ing of the same dis­tance back and through.

The last me­chan­i­cal key I’ll give you is ac­cel­er­a­tion. If you’re not ac­cel­er­at­ing the put­ter­head through the ball, you’re not a good put­ter.

When I feel like I’m not ac­cel­er­at­ing, I’ll go to the prac­tice green and work on tak­ing it back short and ex­ag­ger­at­ing the mo­tion through the ball. I’ll putt a bunch of three-foot­ers fo­cus­ing only on ac­cel­er­a­tion. When I play, I still want equal parts back­stroke and through-stroke, but I never want to lose sight of ac­cel­er­at­ing the club through the ball.

In the end, you have to fig­ure out your best putting style. Prac­tice putting with one ball, and iden­tify the speed you’re most com­fort­able with. Putt from var­i­ous dis­tances and breaks. Do you like to have the ball die at the hole? (That works best for me.) Or are you bet­ter hit­ting it with some speed? Once you find out how you like to putt, you’ll de­velop a feel for dis­tance and start to see break bet­ter.

The point I want to leave you with is, the best put­ters don’t al­ways have the best me­chan­ics. I see too many am­a­teurs try­ing to copy other put­ters, try­ing to im­i­tate what they see on TV. The great ones know what works for them, and they be­lieve they’re go­ing to make putts. Pe­riod. If you get your­self think­ing that way, you’re go­ing to be a bet­ter put­ter. – with keely levins

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