Ask Pelz

Ask Pelz

Dave Pelz, one of the foremost short game and putting instructors in golf, offers schools and clinics across the U.S. Click here to find out more information.

Send your questions to [email protected]

Q I generally putt with a
shoulder-width stance.
If I swing my putter to my
back foot, I usually roll the
ball about 20 feet. On
shorter putts I’ll stand with
my feet closer together.
Here, my back-foot swing
length gives me about six
feet of roll. Is it OK to change
stance width like this to get
the right distance?

A If you always putted on
level greens with the
same green-speed, your idea
of adjusting stance width with
putt length might work. But
since greens vary in speed
and contour, it’s best to keep
as many things constant as
you can. Instead of messing
with stance width, adjust the
length of your backswing to
the length and speed of your
putt (through-swing slightly
longer than backswing). Think
“short strokes for short putts,
long strokes for long putts.”
Make good practice strokes
until you see and feel one you
think will roll your putt the right
distance, then putt with it.
With a little practice, your
touch will sharpen up.

Q I have read about the
need to hit down on the
ball using a “V-shaped”
swing. Is this good advice?

A I don’t like what I see in
my students when they
try to make V-shaped swings. It
forces a hands-oriented swing,
so don’t try it. The key to
executing a descending blow
is catching the ball on the
downward portion of your
natural swing arc, before it
reaches bottom. You can do
this by checking the divot of
your practice swing. If the
practice divot starts behind
the ball, move the ball back in
your stance, so you’ll hit it first.