PGA Junior Golf Camps Blog
Putting: Control the Setup

April 2nd, 2019

Director of Instructor at TPC Las Vegas Matt Henderson shares his putting technique and how to control the pre-shot routine. Check out more of Matt's blog on his website and be sure to register for his PGA Junior Golf Camps!

Putting Contains no large athletic feat, nor does it require the modalities needed for the full the swing.  That means that our average Club Champion can hypothetically putt just as well as a TOUR Champion. Quite often if left from any manipulative movements the stroke itself will look very much like the established setup position.  For great putting…. take control over setup. Here are the steps that I look for in my instruction:

1. Shaft In-Line with Forearms

The importance of this cannot be overstated and that is why it is number one.  A lot of amateurs grip the putter too much in fingers, essentially taking their full swing grip to the putting stroke.  In full swing, we are assembling angles that enable us to create speed and get the ball in the air.... neither is needed to putt it well.  Ditch the full swing grip and get it in more in the palms and in line with your forearms like the above picture. This is my only hang up on grip, feel free to cross hand, claw it or any other configuration that you can muster.

2. Ball to Toe

The arc that we wish the putter head to move on will be affected by how far away or close to the golf ball we stand.  Too close and we can shape it in an out to in pattern, too far way and the path could be too far in to out. Without being properly fit for a putter my best suggestion would be to fall into TOUR average, which is 2 – 2 ¾ Putter head lengths away from the ball.  With the average putter heads measuring 4” that puts our ball to toe measurement somewhere between eight to ten inches away from the center of the ball. Start at two putter head lengths and work slightly away from it if it feels to close.

3. Ball position/Stance Width

  • Ball position is tricky, because it is interwoven with stance width and can not only influence the angle of attack of the putter head, but can influence aim as well.  The truth is that ball position can depend on what aim bias the individual has. Aim bias is really a reflection of our vision and each of us is unique. This can be modified with Putter head shapes, the addition or subtraction of sight lines, and of course ball position.

To establish ball position, start with the ball one revolution ahead of center and then ask a friend to tell you where the face is pointed in relation to the aim-line.  If the face is aimed left move the ball further back, if it is aimed right move the ball further up in the stance.

  • Stance width and ball position need to be mentioned in the same breath.  If the stance widens our head and sternum move further behind the ball…which changes the effective ball position.  Which if you read above…changes the effective aim. Pick a stance width when the ball position is established. Stance with should be a constant.

4. Forearms In

No awkward elbow positions…The elbows simply need to be neutral to posture.  If they are not we are simply negating all the work of trying to get shaft in line with forearms earlier.  To find your neutral position stand completely upright and let your arms hang naturally, look down and that what your elbows should look like on the putter.

5. Body Check

The last check is to make sure that our lines are not jumbled.  The lines that I am mainly concerned with are the line we intend to start the ball on (True Aim Line) and the shoulder line.  Most of the time if the two are not parallel players tend to have path and aim issues. Set the club face to the Aim line and establish shoulders to club face