Welcome to Play Smart, a game improvement column and podcast from editor Luke Kerr-Dineen to help you play smarter, better golf.
With the dust well and truly settled on Cameron Smith’s 2022 Open Championship win, we’re coming up for air to break down the really important question about Cameron Smith’s iconic putting performance?
What can I learn from Cameron Smith’s putting to make me better on the greens?
That’s the question my co-host Reed Howard and I break it in our inaugural episode of the Play Smart podcast. The podcast drops twice a week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and each episode only spans about 10 minutes, so it’s a tidy way of getting some smart golf information in small, manageable doses.
When it comes to Cam Smith, we break down a few interesting things he does that help him perform so well. Smith himself says he pays extra close attention to his setup position, taking about “20 minutes” per day to make sure everything is aligned. He’ll also forgo practice strokes and instead rely heavily on intense visualization before he hits his putt.
But the true key? Making sure his follow-through is shorter than his backstroke.
It’s the opposite of what most of us have been taught, but it’s something Cam Smith’s putting coach Grant Field have worked hard on in the past, and there’s a good reason behind it, says Reed:
“If you hit a stable piece of mass, like a golf ball, that actually takes speed off your putter, and therefore creates a shorter follow through,” Howard says. “If you’re trying to speed up your putter through the ball, you need to compensate with the muscles in your arms and wrists. There’s no manipulation of the putter in [Cameron Smith]’s putting stroke, he’s just using gravity to let the putter hit the ball.”
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