5 Steps to better putting with Celtic Manor PGA head professional Dan Warwick
Whether we are playing at a PGA Championship course or embarking on an office trip for a round of crazy golf, it is safe to say that the short game of the editorial team at Cardiff Prestige leaves a lot to be desired. That is why we have teamed up with Celtic Manor’s head pro Dan Warwick to master the art of putting. This is how he turned our team of Happy Gilmore’s into real Gary Player’s.
- Read the green
The first step is to make sure you judge the distance and slopes effectively. Look for high and low points on the green and surrounding areas to help understand the break. Find the best place to look at the putt – generally 2-3 metres behind the ball at waist height. Be sure to look from both sides as sometimes the putt can look different from other positions. Trust your judgment. Your first instinct is generally correct so don’t question yourself and be positive. Finally, think about pace. We always want the ball to roll past the hole but understand if we hit the putt firmer it will take less break.
- Match up your aim
Putting is all about fine margins. Getting the angle wrong by just one degree can be the difference between a great putt and a bogey. To improve your chances of success, follow a routine when aiming. Start with aligning the putter as this is your main target line then work from there. Match up your feet, knees, waist, forearms, and shoulders. Everything should be parallel. Once you are in position, think about train tracks and parallel lines to help your aim. These can be mimicked by using two golf clubs on the green.
- Get to grips with feel
Getting your grip right can help you stop pulling and pushing putts. Start by connecting the hands together. Think about adopting the reverse overlap grip, this is where a right-handed golfer will overlap the forefinger of the left hand over the right hand. Lock the hands in with no gaps. Don’t grip too tight. A 5/10 grip pressure is good to help with smooth movements and feel. Make sure your palms face each other – this helps the arms to work with the body and flow better. Additionally, try an oversized grip. There are many larger putting grips on the market that reduce hand action which is particularly important on shorter putts.
- Set up like a pro
Now you are ready to get into position, it is time to set up like a pro. Use your eyes to help aim. Make sure your eye line is over the ball. Bend from the hips – this helps to create space from your upper body to move during the swing and also helps you to look down the line of the putt. Keep your elbows gently connected to your body, this will help keep everything connected and moving from the upper body. Finally, place the ball just left of centre in your stance to promote a gentle upward strike – this will help with creating a slight launch and a good forward roll.
- Tick tock and drop
All that is left to do now is send the ball home. Keep the legs stable – the more you move, the more can go wrong. Move from the upper body with minimal wrist movement. A “tick-tock” or “1-2” thought process and motion will help to create a small acceleration as you strike the ball. Your follow through should be roughly double the length of your backswing to encourage this smooth acceleration and keep the putter head on line through the strike. Practice keeping your head down and eyes still – listening for the ball dropping in the hole, rather than watching it.
For more information on golf tuition at Celtic Manor Resort, please visit www.celtic-manor.com/golf-tuition