What’s the biggest putting mistake amateurs make? One of the best putters dishes

Brad Faxon

Brad Faxon during the 2016 Senior Players Championship.

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“Is there anything that viewers and listeners need to focus on mostly, or more than anything else with putting? Is there a big mistake you see with amateur golfers that you think, oh, if the majority did this slightly better, a lot more people would be better putters?” 

The question was a good one, considering whom it was being asked to. 

Brad Faxon is one of the all-time great putters. His stats tell you that story — from 1993 to 2003, he was first on the PGA Tour in putting average three times, and second once, and his students confirm it — world No. 1 Rory McIlroy is among Faxon’s stable. Google, too, is full of stories under “Brad Faxon putting.”

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But making the source even more credible is that Faxon also teaches folks below tour level, be it through his shop at Jupiter Hills Club in Florida, or simply through his social media channels, which are worth a follow if you’re in the mood for improvement. So yes, he had a thought to the question above, which was asked this week on the Rick Shiels Golf Show Podcast (and is worth a full listen, too.)    

“Yeah, that’s a great question because I started teaching at a club down here, Jupiter Hills, and teaching a lot of amateur golfers that are 10- to 20-handicaps — a lot of them that are better than that — but I would say putter fitting is important,” Faxon said on the podcast. “The length of the putter, the weights of the putter — so you would rarely go buy a driver now without testing it, right; you would never get a set of irons without hitting balls and making sure you have right lengths, weights. 

“So, so many members don’t have a putter that’s the right length; they have no idea of the concept of what weight is — swing weight, total weight. No concept of the stroke — the path should be in and out. All these things. So when I get a Tour player, they always have a putter that’s the right size for them.”

(It’s here where we’ll gently note TrueSpec, GOLF’s affiliate company, offers putter fittings, and you can find more here.)  

But is there a part of the process — be it setup or stroke — where ams also error in putting?

Yes, Faxon said, and you should think of a clock. 

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“But if I would have to say one thing that I see most consistently with the better player versus the bad golfer, the average golfer, their stroke is so slow,” Shiels said on the podcast. “It’s so slow. Their backstroke is so slow. It’s impossible to get consistent contact. And you’ve seen all these different putting devices … and when I measure the putting stroke of bad golfers, it’s half the time, and a lot of times — and not only is their backstroke slow, it’s short. 

“So when you talk about pendulum and you look at an old grandfather clock and the swinging arm there, it’s a beautiful rhythm and tempo to it, and it’s symmetrical on both sides. I never see that in the average golfer.”

“There’s actually a beautiful grandfather clock just in the hallway there and I actually walked past it this morning,” Shiels said. “I actually noticed how beautiful its motion was, weirdly how you’ve said that today. And that’s a fascinating thing to say because you’ll see a lot of golfers who will go back slow and I’m guessing the fault is they’ll speed up too much. Then they’ll hit it; they’ll whack it.” 

“There’s a lot of hit,” Faxon said. “I think good players felt like they collected the ball, or covered the ball. You see a lot of different things in average golfers. A lot of body motion — they’re moving and guiding and steering and watching the putter.”

Editor’s note: To listen to the complete podcast, please click here.  

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