Master the Course

Be a better putter through better rhythm

By Sara Dickson, PGA
Published on

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Golf coaches know that people love to hit the ball and watch it fly. It's basically like watching the beautiful combination of art and science.
And hitting it far, well, that's a great feeling, isn't it?
But golf coaches also know that the last shot you hit in a round, or in a professional championship, takes place on the 18th green, not the 18th tee box. And those putts, whether 40 feet or four inches, are critical to determining your success.
I tested more than 750 pro and amateur golfers during a recent tournament for consistency within three putting stroke categories:
  1. Impact Location
  2. Face Angle
  3. Rhythm
In our "lab" at the tournament, what I found was truly amazing and enlightening. Golfers, from amateurs to Tour pros, tend to do pretty well regarding consistency of impact location and face angle — as long as rhythm was consistent. For Tour pros, rhythm tends to be much more consistent. For amateur players, the numbers are all over the board. And this is why you aren't a better putter.
So what, exactly, do you mean by rhythm?
By rhythm, I'm talking about the duration of time it takes from when a golfer takes the putter back until the moment he or she makes contact with the golf ball.
This number should remain consistent, regardless of the distance of the putt. Let me say that one more time: the duration of time from the moment you begin your stroke until the moment you make contact with the ball should be the same whether you have a 3 foot putt or a 30 foot putt. The speed of and the distance the putter travels will change, but the time it takes for it to do so will not. Hence, rhythm stays the same.
Altering this rhythm can also affect the consistency of impact location and face angle at impact of your putter. Correcting this will conversely have a tendency to improve location and face angle consistency.
Try this drill for better rhythm with your putter
Think of a metronome and the steady "tick, tock" beat it creates.
Put a name or phrase with it as you practice putting. "Sa-ra" would be mine. And no matter what length putt you attempt, repeat that cadence.
Soon, you'll find that not only are you making better rolls, you'll be making more putts. And that's going to help you shoot better scores.
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Sara Dickson, PGA, The Country Club


Assistant Professional

Chestnut Hill, MA