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August 28 2012

1:30 PM

Tip from Travis: Watney's putting

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Nick Watney used a pre-tournament putting lesson to help him find the winner's circle at The Barclays.
By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy After a fairly quiet year in 2012, a couple 1-hour lessons from local pro Darrell Kestner helped Nick Watney get back in the winner’s circle at The Barclays. Who says you can’t take golf instruction before a big tournament? Kestner -- a great player in his own right -- is one the industry’s most respected teachers so it’s not a surprise to see the impact he had on Watney’s putting stroke. According to reports, Watney was getting too much on his heels at address which would lower the angle of the putter shaft. As a result, the putting stroke was getting too much in-to-out, making it difficult to match the putter face at impact. This is a great example of how the setup can create an environment where the putter head responds in a way leading to the player having to work harder than needed. The goal of the putting setup (including the grip) is to create an environment where the path of the putter head is correct leading to less stress to match the angle of the putter face at impact. Here is how this held true with Watney’s adjustments last week: 1.) Weight should be on the center of the feet. One of the most common errors in the setup is players stand too close to the ball. As a result, the eyes get over the ball but the weight has to counter towards the heels. Therefore, many players need to scoot back away from the ball until they can still get the eyes relatively over the ball with the weight more centered on the balls of their feet. 2.) Putter shaft needs to be vertical enough at address so the forearms can be on the same plane as the putter shaft. If the putter shaft is too low at address then the forearms will be on a much different plane then the putter shaft. To help ensure this, make sure you grip the putter more towards the palms with elbows soft and rolled toward the body. These two setup alignments are just a couple that can lead to a more natural stroke and better results on the greens. Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.
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