Matt Kuchar: Try my ‘arm lock’ method for better putting
In 2010 I finished top of the PGA Tour Money List putting cack- handed with a conventional putter. Towards the end of that year, I was doing a clinic with former USPGA champion Dave Stockton. He got me trying to putt without breaking my left wrist. I tried it without any great success. So he suggested I try it with the shaft of the club running up my left forearm towards my elbow.
Wouldn’t you know, I started making putt after putt right away. I’ve stuck with that method ever since. And I think it can work for you too. Here, I’ll show you how.
Left Arm & Putter Shaft Work As One
Dave Stockton's preferred method of putting is very distinctive. He likes to see a little forward-press in the hands just before the club starts away from the ball and no wrist break through impact. Both of which have always made sense to me. I actually started working on this new technique with a regulation-length putter, working solely on keeping the shaft against my left forearm. I recommend you do too. If you're like me you'll never go back.
PRACTISE LEFT- HAND ONLY
I use this little drill all the time. One of the trickiest things about putting this way – at least at first – is maintaining a constant relationship between the shaft of the club and your forearm. Removing your right hand and arm from the stroke makes that easier to achieve. It's a very simple solution.
MAKE THE 'ARM LOCK' STROKE WORK FOR YOU
As I mentioned earlier, this method of putting has transformed my game. But it's not a miracle cure. As with every other part of the game, you still need to pay attention to the basic foundations of your stroke – in particular your alignment. Here are a few of my key thoughts.
Double-check your shoulder alignment
This is a vital but often-neglected aspect of any stroke, but not if you use my method. Your shoulders must stay square to your target, whether that's an intermediate point on a long putt, or the hole on a shorter one.
Think 'square-to-square' for solid strikes
That cut spin is no good in terms of both creating a solid strike at impact and getting the ball rolling smoothly, end-over-end. Side-spin is no good when it comes to your longer shots and the same is true on your putts.
Stroke path matches shoulder aim
With the shaft leaning forward against your left forearm, it's easy to get your left shoulder 'open' to your intended line. When that happens, you'll 'slice' your putts. Good alignment helps you start your stroke on line.
Trust your alignment and stroke
If I've misread a few putts, I check my alignment by placing a club across my shoulders. A quick glance down the shaft will tell you how good – or bad – your aim is. Good alignment usually leads to a confident stroke.
DRILL: Look At The Hole For Better Feel
While working on a new stroke, it is easy to ignore the fact that feel for distance is an equally vital part of good putting. I use this drill a lot, so that I can focus on pace and rhythm rather than technique.
Putting conventionally, I sometimes felt like there was too much acceleration in my stroke, too much of a 'spike' in the speed at which the club was moving. If that sounds familiar, try putting while looking at the hole and focus on making a stroke that is steady from start to finish, more of a 'sweep' than a 'pop'. Your feel for distance will improve soon enough.