PGA Tour coach: If you’re struggling with your putting, start by doing this
Even for the best putters on tour, bad putting days are part of the deal. They come and go. An off putting day every now and again shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
But what happens when there seems to be more bad days than good? What should you do then?
That’s what we asked Ramon Bescansa, inventor of the Perfect Putter and putting coach to a number of PGA Tour players, notably Abe Ancer.
The first step is simple: Don’t panic! Or worse yet, don’t start aimlessly tinkering. You’re better off breaking it down into simple parts and going from there.
First, pinpoint what’s going wrong
Bescansa says the best first step is to take a look at what he calls the “four key elements,” and decide which one is going wrong the most. One may be affecting another, he says, but a good coach will be able to evaluate what the central problem is — and the root cause of it.
“Understanding if it’s green reading, alignment, speed control or stroke,” he says, outlining the four elements. “A lot of times people will work on their stroke when they start missing putts, when in reality, it’s their green reading that’s off. You need to know what the issue is you need to work on.”
If long putting is your issue…
A common problem, especially among the ranks of recreational golfers, is poor speed control on longer putts. It only takes one putt hit too firm, or soft, to put you in three-putt territory. If that’s your issue, Bescansa says first look at the golf ball itself.
“You have to make sure you take a good look at how the golf ball is rolling,” he says. “A lot of times, golfers will deliver the putterhead with too much loft, or not enough. The ball will be bouncing and you won’t have that consistency off the face.”
A simple thought to help amateurs improve that consistency of contact, Bescansa says, is to simply focus on keeping your head down, and only lifting it when you think the ball has come to rest.
If short putting is your issue…
Missing short putts could be for a variety of reasons, Bescansa says, and it’s very dependent on the individual player. So start by thinking about previous problems you may have encountered in the past. Often, it’s the simplest things that need checking up on. Notably, your alignment.
“For better players, it’s often alignment,” he says. “It’s less that they push and pull putts all the time, but that they’re not aiming in the right place. It’s so important, because if you’re aiming a little too far left or right, it doesn’t matter how good your stroke is. You’re going to miss the putt.”