The putting fix that helped Brooke Henderson snap a winless drought
Welcome to Teachable Moments, GOLF’s weekly instruction column that will help you improve your game through the excellence and expertise of the Tour stars of the week. Class is now in session.
Henderson’s new putting technique
The drought is over for Brooke Henderson. After a nearly two years without a win, the Canadian got back in the winner’s circle last week at the L.A. Open. The key to her resurgence? Changes to her putting technique.
In Henderson’s multi-win, 2019 campaign, she ranked 34th on the LPGA Tour in putting, but in 2020 she slipped to 104th. Those struggles persisted into this season, so she decided to make a change.
Henderson and her caddie (and sister) got to work experimenting with different grips — including left-hand low on putts within 10 feet — and green-reading techniques, and the changes have paid off. Since the switch at last month’s Kia Classic, Henderson has not finished outside the top 30.
“It’s continuing to be a work in progress, but definitely this week felt a lot more comfortable,” she said. “Even today I made a lot of great putts, and even the ones I didn’t make I still felt like I hit it where I wanted to, which was a great feeling.
“We worked on grip, different reading techniques,” Henderson said. “We’re just trying to find what’s working the best, and to be honest, it’s just the extra time that we’ve been putting in that’s made the biggest difference.”
Finau’s resistance to distance
Tony Finau might have more raw power than anyone on the PGA Tour, but he rarely showcases it to his full potential on the course. He explained at the Zurich Classic that when he unleashes his full swing speed, he doesn’t have as much control as he’d like.
“[Cameron Champ] probably has a better idea where it’s going at that speed,” Finau said. “I have a lot of speed but not quite sure where it’s going.”
He went on to say that he’s not concerned with where he sits on the Tour’s driving distance stats. He doesn’t need to see his name at the top of the board to be satisfied.
“The driving distance stat, to me just seems, it doesn’t mean as much to [me] maybe as it does to some other guys, as far as their ego,” he said. “I’m not big on the driving distance stuff. I think your scoring average and winning golf tournaments is ultimately why we’re out here. I’ve played a lot of high-level golf and I’m more interested in that than the whole distance debate deal.”
Inside Rose’s yardage book
If you’re interested in how caddies map out the course each week for their player, you’re in luck. The PGA Tour posted a fascinating video last week featuring Justin Rose and his caddie, David Clark, that gives a glimpse at what goes on with yardage books inside the ropes.
“[I just] try to give him some information,” Clark said. “And then he’ll take that information and use his skill and judgement to do his thing.”
Check out the entire video above to get a sense for how yardage books are used at the top levels of golf.