Back to the Basics: Strike a Pose in the Mirror to Improve Your Putting
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
With shorter days now here and winter’s cold breezes on the horizon, a large portion of the country is saying good night to the golf season. This doesn’t mean that your goals of getting better and the work you put in needs to stop. There is plenty that can be done, right in the comfort of your own home, to help keep you progressing on your journey to better.
The one area of the game that a majority of amateur golfers need considerable work on is with the flat stick. And of all the different nuances of the game, putting may be the one where most, regardless of their handicap, can realistically aspire to attain close to Tour levels of success.
While seemingly simplistic, putting statistically is an area that shows wide gaps between the best, and the; well, let’s just say, the not so good.
The following at-home practice setup will help you dial it in with your putting this off-season…
Mirror, Mirror…Strike a Pose
This winter, get yourself accustomed to getting in front of a full body mirror so you can check your set up from down the line and face on. Have a camera or your phone handy too so you can record yourself, after you get set up and start hitting putts.
Set up in your putting stance in front of the mirror and work on the following:
- Bend slightly forward, getting your eyes set over the ball.
- Have a fairly wide base, with your feet spread apart. Your width will vary based on the length of the putt. The wide base will help keep you stable. Remember, we want limited body movement in a putting stroke.
- Your arms will hang down from your shoulders, but you will have your elbows slightly bent in towards your body, near the bottom of your rib cage.
- Your ball position will be almost up to your lead armpit.
As you get set and start stroking putts, a triangle will form which is created by the shoulders at the top, and the arms hanging down and the hands gripping the club. You will “Rock” this triangle back and trough evenly while your head and body remain steady as can be. It is important to remember that unlike the full swing, your body does not rotate in putting.
At this point, after you have stroked a few putts, have someone put a piece of white masking tape on the mirror across where your head would be in the reflection. You can even make a box around your head with the tape on the mirror. Record your reflection in the mirror as you hit putts. As you watch the playback, see how steady your head stays
Does it stay in the box? Does the top of your head stay on the line? Or does it come up? The steadiness of the head and body should stay in place the entire stroke and for a few seconds post follow through…hold that finish with the putter’s clubhead facing squarely toward your intended target, while you still remain steady with your body.
Working on a good solid setup with the body, and staying steady throughout the stroke during your winter off-season will pay big dividends come next spring.
Brendon R. Elliott, PGA
Brendon Elliott is considered by his peers in the industry as one of the top youth golf coaches in the world. He is a multiple, local, state, regional, national and world award winning instructor with a focus on junior golfers ages 3-18. With numerous appearances on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, local TV, nationwide radio and countless publications, Elliott is one of the foremost experts in the youth golf arena. His Little Linksters 501c3 nonprofit is recognized as an example for introducing children as young as three to the game as well as how to help introduce youth with disabilities to our golf. Elliott has been recommended by industry titian's such as Nicklaus, Player, Floyd, Sorenstam, Speith and more. Among his numerous accolades, Elliott was named the PGA of America's 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award Winner in 2017.
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