Without question there are many often expensive training aids available that make big promises about how many strokes they will take off your score. I have an extremely inexpensive “training aid” for you that you probably have in the house already. For pennies, we can create a great way for you to practice so that you get the accurate feedback to know if you are hitting your putts on the sweet spot of the putter or if you tend to miss hit the putt. Sweet spot contact with the putter is something that most golfers take for granted. No golfer should assume this. I often see golfers with a tendency to hit the ball out on the toe or in the heel. While it is rare to hit a putt too high on the face, it is not uncommon at all for the putts to be hit thin or off the bottom of the face.
Here is how you can find out how you are doing. Take two toothpicks from the kitchen and some cellophane tape. Lay your putter on a table with the face of the putter looking up towards the ceiling. Break on of the toothpicks in half. Place the unbroken toothpick at the bottom of the putter face with the halves facing up and tape all into position with the cellophane tape.
You have now framed the sweet spot of the putter. Hit putts indoors or out now and gain the feedback of what is happening when you are hitting putts. If you have a tendency to miss putts right or left, it may very well be that you are hitting the ball with the toe or heel side of the putter face. If your putts tend to be online but randomly end up short more often than seems normal, you may find that you tend to hit putt low on the face. When you hit your 6-iron on the toe, the heel or thin what happens? There is a directional issue and the ball does not fly off the face as fast. The shot does not go as far as it would have had we hit it on the sweet spot. With a full swing 6-iron we can get away with it sometimes. You hit a shot a little low in the heel of the club and the ball ends up on the front right corner of the green. No sweat, you still can make your par so the missed shot doesn’t cost you anything. However, mis hit a putter low and in the heel and the ball never gets to the hole. There is no recovery from that.
Why you have a tendency to miss the sweet spot in one of these three areas is not something I can diagnose in a magazine article. The shape of your stroke, how much or how little arc there is in the stroke can be an influence. A putter that does not fit you properly could be another issue. Create you training aid, get the feedback and if you are struggling, contact your local PGA Professional for some help.
George Connor is the Head Golf Instructor at Farmington Woods Country Club in Avon, CT. 860-830-6969 or George@ConnorGolf.com