Big Play: Pettersson’s sweet putting stroke with belly putter at RBC Heritage

Carl Pettersson led the field in putting in Harbour Town.
Hunter Martin / Getty Images

WHO: Carl Pettersson
WHAT: A 23’ 2’’ birdie putt
WHEN: Final round of the RBC Heritage
WHERE: 410-yard par-4 1st hole at Harbour Town Golf Links
Pettersson, who’s ranked 17th on Tour in putting and led the field at Harbour Town, could be the best long-putter user on earth. And he’s achieved that status using a very unconventional method. Pettersson addresses the ball with his hips closed to the target and a slightly closed stance, and then, coming through impact, he makes a little pivot with his lower body. Popular theory says you absolutely should not move the lower body. But Pettersson’s little pivot helps him make a fluid swing, avoiding any jabs or jerks.
THE DRILL: Most long-putter users don’t swing the darn club when they putt. They anchor it against their chests, but then they get so stiff they forget to let the club flow back and through. To practice with a long putter, make a straight line of balls spaced a foot apart from each other on a practice green. Address and hit the first ball, and then walk down the line to hit each ball in succession. The key is to not stop the putter, but to keep it flowing back and through. You could also stand still and keep the putter moving back and through while having somebody kneel beside you and put down a new ball after each putt. Practicing like this will help to get rid of stiffness and manipulation in your stroke with the long putter.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brian Manzella runs his own teaching academy at English Turn Golf and Country Club in New Orleans.