PGA Coaching Live debuted yesterday on PGA.com and ESPN+ from the practice range at the 103rd PGA Championship. During many of the conversations it became evident how important putting would be this week in the wind. Back in 1991 when Pete Dye designed these fierce links, he definitely took it easy when it came to the undulations of the greens. There’s no doubt he was aware of the windy conditions players would face while traversing his course.
Even though the players understand the challenges surrounding the putting surfaces are significant, you will still see many of them practicing their putting prior to Thursday’s first round. Why so much concern? Because most players don’t putt under these types of windy conditions very often.
Putting is a difficult skill on its own, now add the element of Mother Nature and you’re sure to be befuddled at times. Well, during the Tuesday PGA Coaching Live coverage, Joe Hallett, PGA gave an incredible putting tip perfect for practicing not only on windy days, but all types of days. In an effort to describe how we control the ball on the green, he presented a paradigm shift in thinking. Stop worrying about the ball and control the putter.
To perform Joe’s drill, you’ll need four balls and a putter. Head over to the practice green and pick out a relatively flat putt of about 15 to 20 feet. Once selected, warm up with a couple putts. Never start a putting drill before you warm up. Starting cold on the range doesn’t work and neither does it on the green. Once you’ve gotten a little feel, putt the first ball toward the hole with one hand on the grip. Next, putt the second ball with your other hand.
At this point stop and evaluate the results. Is one ball much farther from the target than the other? If no, hold tight, more to come on ball three and four. For many of you, one of the balls will be considerably further away from the target. Take note of which arm that was. Now putt the third ball using your regular stroke with both arms. Try to feel more balance between the two during the stroke. If one arm was dominant during the first two balls, you’ll need to make it feel and perform differently.
Repeat this process a couple times. One arm, second arm, then both. Continue to practice and repeat the drill. After several successful repetitions, Joe offers up a fun alternative for the fourth ball, a real eye opener! Well not really. What makes Joe a great PGA Coach is that he also injects fun into his lessons. For the fourth ball close both eyes and putt toward the same target. Do both arms feel balanced still? Developing that level of feel with our eyes closed is imperative to becoming a great putter. Solid speed control comes from a balanced attack in our stroke.
If you missed this great piece of PGA Coaching content yesterday, don’t get upset. The PGA of America will be continuing the PGA Coaching Live
channel all week on PGA.com and ESPN+. Coverage times are listed below. Golfers can stream it anywhere on their mobile devices. Which is cool because for the first time at a major championship you can experience PGA Coaching lessons right from our range to yours!
(All times are ET)
Wednesday, May 19
8 a.m.-9 a.m.
2 p.m.-3 p.m.
5 p.m.-6 p.m.
Thursday, May 20 & Friday, May 21
*A live range feed will be presented between each coaching segment