Tee to Green

For­get more speed, think more stroke

Golf Digest Middle East - - Contents - BY BUTCH HAR­MON

Be a bet­ter lag put­ter and control your dis­tance.

“If you’re a stiff-wristed put­ter, you’ll strug­gle from long range.”

IN GOLF, your in­stincts can get you into trou­ble. A good ex­am­ple is when you have a long putt. The ten­dency is to think you have to hit the ball harder than nor­mal. That mind-set leads to a short back­stroke and a fast flick on the down­stroke. The re­sult is usu­ally poor con­tact—and a putt that never gets to the hole.

A bet­ter tech­nique is to lengthen your back­stroke but keep the pace of the mo­tion the same. That pro­duces more en­ergy at im­pact—the longer stroke gives you smooth ac­cel­er­a­tion—and a bet­ter chance of catch­ing the ball flush. It’s just like try­ing to get more dis­tance on a full shot: Hit­ting the ball in the mid­dle of the club­face is the best thing you can do to trans­fer en­ergy into the ball. And the best way to lose en­ergy? You guessed it—make a wild swing and mis-hit the shot.

To be­come a good lag put­ter, you might have to re­con­sider the way you think about the stroke. If you be­lieve you should lock your arms and hands and sim­ply rock your shoul­ders, you’re go­ing to strug­gle from long dis­tance. Lag putts re­quire some play in the el­bows and wrists. I’m not say­ing you should pur­posely hinge them, but you should let them re­act nat­u­rally to the mo­tion. Lock those joints, and you can only make so much swing.

So get into your setup with a nice light grip, and main­tain that pres­sure through­out the stroke. That will let you keep some soft­ness in your hands and arms for a longer mo­tion that has more mo­men­tum—and more power. Your lead wrist will nat­u­rally have a lit­tle cup or back­ward bend in it at ad­dress. Feel like that wrist flat­tens on the back­stroke ( above), and then the trail wrist flat­tens through im­pact. That’s how you cre­ate speed with­out forc­ing it. butch har­mon is based at Rio Secco Golf Club, Hen­der­son, Nev.

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