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Better By Saturday - Putting
By Dave Allen
Warner BooksCopyright © 2004 Time4 Media, Inc.
All right reserved.
IntroductionThe night before he and Phil Mickelson staged their dramatic duel in the final round of the 1999 U.S. Open, the late Payne Stewart received some putting advice from his wife, Tracey. "You're moving your head," she told Payne. "Keep your head still."
Most average golfers are guilty of peeking every now and then on putts. But the best players in the world? Sure. And as Stewart stood over a 15-foot putt on the 72nd hole that would win the championship, it was his wife's tip that was foremost in his mind: "Keep your head still." Stewart never looked up until the ball was about two feet from the hole, and by then it was headed straight for the center of the cup, right into the record books.
One year later, it was another putting tip that carried Tiger Woods to victory at the U.S. Open. On Wednesday, the day before he would embark on his historic romp through Pebble Beach, Woods spent nearly two and a half hours on the practice green working on his stroke, and did it ever pay off. Woods failed to three-putt once over 72 holes, as he demolished the field by 15 strokes. All it took was a simple adjustment to his posture. "My hands were a little too low," said Woods. "I raised my hands up, which allowed me to release the blade down the line. From there, once I started making a few good strokes on the putting green, it kind of built up, and I putted beautifully."
That's the reality of putting. Everyone experiences their fair share of cold streaks, when the hole looks about the size of a dime. And yet, almost always, what pulls them out of their funk is something as subtle as their hand position, or their head movement. There's no need to overhaul the stroke, just find something simple that works for them-and fast-so by the time they tee off Saturday morning, their confidence on the greens is soaring once again.
On the pages that follow, we've compiled what we believe to be the greatest collection of putting tips, written by the finest collection of instructors ever-GOLF MAGAZINE's Top 100 Teachers. These tips were specifically chosen because of their simplicity; to help get you "Better by Saturday" without having to rebuild your stroke or think too much about the mechanics of your stroke. You'll find tips on how to handle breaking putts from noted short-game guru Dave Pelz, how to stabilize your left wrist from 2001 PGA Teacher of the Year Craig Shankland, and how to beat the yips from former PGA Club Professional champion Darrell Kestner. There's a whole chapter of tips devoted to helping you make more short putts-the kneeknockers-as well as some advice on how to read greens better and more efficiently.
Remember: No part of the game is more vital to your success than putting. Whether you break 80 or shoot 100, a good chunk of your strokes are going to occur on the green. Consider: When Tiger chewed up the field at Pebble, he averaged 27.5 putts per round, or 40 percent of the strokes he made that week. Forty percent! So, if you're struggling on the greens, we've got just the answers for you on the pages ahead.
Excerpted from Better By Saturday - Putting by Dave Allen Copyright © 2004 by Time4 Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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