John Renslow: The weighty issue of putting
About this time of the year, we start thinking … “Oh boy, I better be careful or I’m going to gain some weight this season.”
But, what if I told you it might be good for your golf game?
The putter will give us all fits from time to time. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tour player or a weekend golfer, almost every attempt at recuperation has been tried. Some people go for different types of grip styles, grip sizes, and putter lengths. Then, when all else has failed, we even see the right-hander try putting left handed.
But, I don’t hear golfers talk about the one thing that is likely a part of the solution; the weight of the putter.
When I see people struggle on the putting green, it’s usually because they get “handsy.” Rather than a smooth pendulum motion, the stroke becomes abrupt and jagged. Rather than simply holding the putter, the hands and wrists, the small muscles, have transitioned to manipulators. The outcome is seldom good.
We want the hands to be willing participants in a larger scheme, as the large muscles, the shoulders, torso, and arms move the putter to and fro. The hands are to be firm, yet supple. This is where some additional weight might help.
A heavier putter makes you use bigger muscles. Instead of your hands and wrists being able to independently maneuver a lighter putter, a putter with more weight almost requires a concerted effort.
This will likely narrow the path of the putter (and in turn the ball), as well as encourage better tempo, which will initially improve distance control.
Keep in mind, distance control is the most important accomplishment in putt.
If a putt is only one inch off line, but several feet short or long the next putt is going to be a sizeable one. However, if a putt is a yard offline, but it the correct distance, the next putt is just three feet away.
Once you have control of the distance, your putting woes will soon be over.
A putter that’s put on a few ounces, even a pound, may be purchased (just search for “heavy putter” online) or you can experiment by adding some lead tape (available at most pro shops). Try a little, try a lot. Everyone is unique. Different putting strokes for different putting folks, as it were.
So, it might not for everybody. But, amongst the weighty decisions about a second helping of mashed potatoes or another piece of candy, it’s nice to know there might be a benefit from your putter getting a little heavier.
John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Following a one-year hiatus, the STIHL National Championship Air Races and Show is now underway at Reno-Stead Airport.