HOUSTON — Even if you consider yourself a good putter, you should always be working on stroke maintenance. Just because you’re a good putter, doesn’t mean you won’t lose that touch, especially if you don’t devote the proper amount of practice time to it.
This is a phenomenon that is common at professional events. Everyone in the field — from top to bottom — spends ample time on the putting green. It doesn’t matter if they’re the best in the world, or struggling to find their touch, the putting green is always a popular place.
Ana Belac is a great example of this. The Duke alum was among the best players on the Symetra Tour last season as she earned Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors, and her putting was a big reason why. The 23-year-old ranked seventh on the Symetra Tour in putts per green in regulation, and she topped the charts in birdies, too. It all started on the practice green.
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In preparation for the U.S. Women’s Open, Belac was once again busy grinding away on the greens. With Bermuda grass on the putting surfaces this week, it’s important to get a feel for how the grass will react to your stroke.
With the tricky Champions greens in mind, Belac used an interesting putting drill to maintain her stroke. She laid two alignment sticks on the ground on either side of her blade to make sure her path was on line, and then held a third alignment stick against her chest beneath her arms, as seen in the picture below.
“It just helps me feel my shoulders in my stroke,” Belac said. “I’m trying to feel a pendulum motion in my shoulders. The stick helps me take the hands out of the stroke.”
Keeping the stick pinned against her shoulders forces to big muscles to do all the work. Rocking the shoulders is the correct feeling — the hands should be very quiet. If your hands are too active in your stroke, try Belac’s drill. If you can engage your big muscles in the stroke, you’re sure to gain consistency on the greens.