Another week has passed since I last imparted my limited knowledge unto you all. This week I am taking a hiatus from the Tour as I have some teaching functions back in Dallas to attend. Since I can't talk about this week's event in Houston, I thought it was the perfect time to answer some questions I have received in the past week.
Apparently my golfing friends to the North are eager to get out and play. I received several emails asking what they should be practicing during the winter/spring to make sure their putting is the best it can be.
First things first -- you don't need a fancy indoor putting facility to improve your putting. What you need is a spot of carpet (preferably not shag as we would like to see the ball roll out a little bit) or even floor and a mirror.
When we practice during the offseason, especially indoors, we should be less focused on whatever we are using as a makeshift hole and focus more on three things; ball position, posture and tempo. Step one is to check ball position. I mentioned this in my first blog contribution, but ball position is critically important to improving your putting. To determine the ideal ball position, take your address position and drop a ball from the eye that is closest to your target. (The left eye for right-handers and the right eye for left-handers.) Wherever the ball lands is where you should position the ball. Step two is to monitor your posture. Posture is important because most amateur players hunch their shoulders when putting. By hunching your shoulders you actually freeze them up and the stroke becomes armsy, or what others may call "handsy." To understand how to get into a better posture please watch the clip below from my DVD -- "Automatic Putting" and look at your posture in the mirror as you set up.
Step three is tempo, which I believe is the most important of all the steps. Brad Faxon put it best when he said that having good rhythm and tempo can hide a lot of faults in the putting stroke. To practice tempo I highly recommend the use of a metronome. To establish your personal tempo with the metronome, simply walk around your house at a normal walking speed. Adjust the metronome tone up or down until each beep from the metronome is matched with a step you make. Now if you don't have a metronome, again start walking in your house until you are at a normal walking speed then count "one, two" for every step you take. Now, with either the metronome or by simply counting one out loud, take a couple of practice strokes. Make sure that when your putter reaches the end of its backstroke you hear a beep or count "one." When you make contact with the ball you should hear another beep or count "two." Whether you use a metronome or simply count in your head, focus on making putting strokes that match your personal rhythm.
Please send me comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and also check out my website at www.mariusgolf.com and sign-up for the free member section. Also, my website offers my new Automatic Putting package which includes a three-disc DVD set, "Marius Putting Belt and Marius Metronome." The package now includes free shipping.
Until next time….cheers! Marius Filmalter is the leading expert on the science of putting and works with more than 40 PGA Tour pros. His blog appears every Wednesday on Golf.com.