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March 26 2013

8:36 AM

Tip from Travis: Keys to Tiger's putting

Woods made 19 of 28 putts from between 7 feet and 20 feet last week. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy

I have been trying to get a hold of Steve Stricker so I can personally get a putting lesson, too. I mean… WOW! What a difference in Tiger Woods’ putting since he received those helpful pointers from one of the game’s best putters.

It is amazing  just how many long putts these professionals make when they get it going with the flat stick. Over the last two weeks, Tiger’s putting has been ridiculously good –  the man appears to be putting to the ocean right now.

Here are some of the changes I see with Tiger’s putting that has led to this tremendous run on the greens:

Grip weaker – With a slightly weaker left hand grip, Tiger is able to manage the rotation of the club face more efficiently. It appears that Tiger got the left hand too strong which was leading to overrating the club face through impact resulting in the ball starting off-line. A weaker grip has decreased the amount of the club face rotation and helped align the putter face at impact. 

Shaft slightly more upright – With a weaker left hand grip, the left wrist appears to be a bit more un-cocked as well leading to a slightly more upright shaft angle. The significance of this is it allows Tiger’s trail forearm to soften so the angle of his right forearm is more consistent with the angle of the putter shaft. In the past, Tiger’s right forearm was much more vertical then the angle of the putter shaft. Although this was clearly effective too, I like this look for Tiger and what it means for the path of the putter head. 

Shaft more forward – This adjustment allowed Tiger to utilize the true-loft of the putter face once again. It appears Tiger got the putter shaft leaning a bit too far back at address. As a result, this added loft at impact affecting his distance control and had a closing effect on the face leading to once again a ball starting off-line. With the shaft more forward the ball is rolling much truer again and on the intended line.

These three set-up adjustments have once again created an environment at address where Tiger can be more instinctive. This instinctive environment is what we should all strive for because it promotes the proper path and face relationship through impact. Good set-up adjustments can mean the world to not only professional golfers but also amateurs. Putting, more than any shot in golf, needs to be instinctive and what you do at address will determine your long term outcome 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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