One of the best putters on tour reveals his 3-step method
A svelte 5’10” and 165 pounds, Kevin Kisner is an outlier in the PGA Tour’s era of brute force and explosive athleticism. But he’s excelled nevertheless, collecting more than $20 million in career earnings, three PGA Tour wins (along with four more playoff losses), and a runner-up finish at the 2018 British Open.
A large part of his success has been due to his consistency on the greens. Since arriving on Tour in 2014, Kisner has finished 21st, 45th, 3rd, 30th, 12th and 20th in Strokes Gained: Putting. This steady performance, combined with the wonderful work he and his longtime coach and Top 100 Teacher John Tillery have done from tee-to-green, has made him a mainstay on the PGA Tour.
It turns out, the secret of Kisner’s consistent putting is not singular. There are actually three secrets.
1. Super Stable Stance
Kisner’s feet are about shoulder-width apart, and his stance features a good amount of knee flex. It’s intentional: Kisner is trying to brace himself into the ground to give him the most stable base possible and minimize pressure (or weight) shift. It’s an important factor that is often overlooked by pros and amateurs alike.
“If you were to put someone on a really delicate force plate, you’d see the same stuff you would in the full swing,” Tillery says. “The pressure would try to shift back and forth … without a stable base, it’ll affect the direction of your stroke.”
2. Stack Your Joints
The official term is “joint centration.” It’s a way of creating stability within your body by making sure your joints are aligned on top of each other. When they’re not, different body parts will move in different directions and your stroke will move in strange ways along with it.
“Kisner works hard getting his joints stacked on top of each other,” Tillery says. “Hips, torso, head all stacked in one line.”
3. Align Your Lines
Once Kisner has given himself a wide, stable stance and has aligned his hips, torso and head in a straight line on top of each other, he wants his hips, shoulders, feet and eyes pointing in the same direction. He spends between five and 10 minutes at the start of every putting session not hitting putts, but just setting up to the ball with a mirror, making sure everything is aligned.
There’s even a simple drill he uses to guarantee everything is aligned: He takes his putter shaft, gets set up, and then rests the putter shaft across his knees.
“When you do this, it’s impossible for your shoulders and knees not to be aligned,” Tillery says.
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