Most people assume golf is an older person’s game. What they fail to understand is that golf requires a lot of patience, finesse, and precision. It is a game one masters after a lot of practice and even then, there are no guarantees.
One of the essential elements of golfing is putting and the simplest technique of putting is the pivot point stroke. Not sure what that is? Well, this article is for all the people who love putting but are not very good at it or need some more insights to become great at putting.
The aim here is to understand, simplify, and master the fundamentals of putting to a level where you find it the easiest thing to do in golf. The focus will be on discussing one of the simplest and the most natural putting techniques in the history of golf. So, the next time you go putting with your friends, you can show off the skills you learn here and get bragging rights. Not a bad deal, eh?
What Is Putting and Why Is It Important?
Putting is a stroke in golf executed with or without a putter when a person is on or just off the green. The putting green is the surface smoothed out and prepared with holes specifically on the course for putting the ball in these holes. The goal of putting is to get the ball rolling at a gentler pace.
The importance of putting cannot be ignored. An average player scores less than ten feet from the hole about two-thirds of his or her total shots. This means that a person cannot score well if their short game, starting with putting, is not good enough.
The emphasis on practicing one’s short game and putting cannot be underestimated as these will allow you to achieve your desired score and skill level at a faster rate than the long game or full swing technique. When one has good command on putting, he or she can combine it with chipping, pitching, and greenside bunker play, thus improving one’s overall score. Generally, a person is said to be a bad putter if he or she uses more than 36 putts in each round. Most top players get to 32 putts every round, so that should be the target for every person interested in learning to putt effectively.
Understanding Pivot Point Putting Technique
There are several different ways to perfect your putting. But in this article, we will focus on the most basic yet effective putting technique that works well for both the beginners and the more advanced players, that is, putting from the pivotal, fulcrum or pendulum point, also known as the pivot point stroke.
How Does It Work?
The pivotal or pendulum point is the joint where the shoulder meets the arm and can work differently among right-handed and left-handed individuals. How can you tell the difference? Golfers use a simple test to check whether an individual can putt from the right or the left hand better. Described below is a breakdown of this putting test:
- Grab six or seven golf balls and hold the putter in your right hand.
- Putt the balls a few times with only your right arm and hand.
- See how the putter feels in your right hand/
- Repeat the process but this time use only your left arm and hand
The purpose is to decide with which arm is putting easier, more comfortable, and synchronized. Generally, right-handed individuals will feel more comfortable putting from the right while left-handed individuals will find it easier to putt from their left. However, you should take time and attempt the process of putting from each arm multiple times before making a final decision about your dominant arm.
Understanding the Putting Grip
Putting with one hand is an important skill that needs to be practiced on or off the green because it sets up the correct position for the golfer. If a person is unable to putt correctly with one hand, then they must keep practicing.
One of the fundamental concepts in golfing is that the grip for putting differs from the grip used for other clubs. Clubs can be fairway woods, irons, hybrids, and drivers to bring the ball to the green. Others, such as a pitching wedge are used to strike the ball to favorable positions on the green so the ball can sink into the holes in one or two strokes when hit with a putter.
The proper putting grip technique involves the following sequence:
- Placing the palm of your right or left hand, whichever is dominant, flat on the putter so that that the fingers are pointing downwards.
- The top of the putter should extend towards your inner wrist.
- Wrap the fingers around the putter and place the thumb lightly on top of the putter pointing towards the earth.
The overall grip should be relaxed and not at all tight as it will hinder the movement of the wrist. The beauty of the grip lies in its simplicity. When a golfer holds the putter in this manner, their right or left palm would be facing the target and the back of the hand would be in the opposite direction that is, facing away from the target. So, the key things to learn for every aspiring golfer are to decide their dominant arm and master this simple grip.
Mastering the Pivot Point Putting Stroke
Generally speaking, the outcome of a putting stroke should be to:
- Start the ball at the planned target line.
- Control the pace as per requirement.
- Minimize errors at the start line and around pace control.
To achieve these outcomes, putting technique should be centered on the following features:
- The strike should be from the center of the putter face.
- Ensure square path and face of the club upon impact.
- Control head velocity of the club upon impact
- Control the height of the ball launch
These attributes can make a golfer stand out from the crowd regardless of their putting technique. It is rare for a golfer to achieve all four of these objectives and most, if they work hard, can achieve just two or three. This is because golfers start with a few mistakes with their clubface upon impact and strike and exacerbate these issues with poor aim. So, they are left with a technique that may or may not work and relies mainly on timing. But if you manage to master all four features, then you will definitely be regarded as a great putter.
So, what’s the secret to mastering the simplest and the easiest putting stroke ever?
Once a putt is lined up to the target or the intended hole, swing it from the pivot or fulcrum point (i.e., on or near the shoulder joint). The advantage of this technique is that it allows movement from one point only without involving the movement of other body parts, such as the chest, wrist, elbows, hips, or shoulders.
It is important to note that the involvement of all these body parts makes the stroke a bit more challenging to execute. There is also a higher risk of injury when one is rotating or jerking their hips or shoulders in sudden movements. On the other hand, one can easily swing their putter back and forth using one pivotal point, making this putting technique so amazingly easy and effective in our opinion.
Making the Putts
Once a person gets a feel for the putter, grips it properly, lines it up, and keeps a steady back and forth motion using only the pivotal point, then they can hit as many balls as they like. With practice, eventually, you will be sinking balls in the holes in no time.
Putting Myth Debunked
One of the biggest misconceptions about putting is that when we strike the ball, whether from the fulcrum point or using some other technique, we move the putter back and forth in a straight line, thus facilitating the forward motion of the ball.
This is not true even when full shots are played on the golf course. A little digging and some common sense led to the fact that the putter or the club is at an inclined angle. So, when the putter is moved back, it goes up the inclined plane on the backside, and when it is swung forward, it goes up the incline on the front side. Thus, the putter motion is not straight back or straight through.
By allowing your arm to swing freely and lightly from the pivot point, you get a perfect stroke along the backward and forward incline. There is no need for forced movements as the ball will automatically go in the right direction.
One of the best ways to practice this technique is to get a practice aid stick or chalk to draw a line on the ground. You will notice the putter or club will move a little above the line while swinging in either backward or forward direction. This can help a person understand and practice their putting strokes more accurately and efficiently.
You can putt one-handed for as long as you like. Many of the golfing champions have practiced sinking putts with one hand throughout the years. However, for those uncomfortable with this technique, they can simply put their other hand gently and without grasping the putter. With this new position, one has to ensure that the elbow is relaxed to allow that free back and forth swing of the putter from the pivot point. You don’t need to try your hand at the one hand stroke but variety in the game will make you a greater player.
Golfing can be a lot of fun, especially if one learns this simple putting technique – the pivot point stroke. What makes this technique brilliant is its sheer simplicity and economy of movement, where only one part of the body (i.e., the pivot point) is engaged while the other parts are “quiet.” Many people also imagine that golfing is a game that involves the least physical activity, it might seem like that but that is not true. As putting is essential for scoring better, so practicing this method is a no-brainer. It is recommended that pivot point stroke be repeated often for streamlining putting skills and making it second nature.