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Putting a Golf Ball- Body Alignment versus Putter Alignment by Jim O'Connell





Putting a Golf Ball- Body Alignment versus Putter Alignment by
Article Posted: 03/31/2014
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Putting a Golf Ball- Body Alignment versus Putter Alignment


 
Recreation & Leisure,Sports
I am going to go against what many people who give advice on putting assume as almost accepted wisdom. A good deal of what you read about consistent putting is that you must have your feet, hips and shoulders perfectly parallel to the target line. This seems to be one of those things that are so obvious that little real reasoning is given as to why. But Jack Nicklaus had an open stance when putting, and Jim Furyk’s stance is closed, and most of us would be quite happy to putt as well as those two great professionals.

Does why is a square body alignment a necessity? I think body alignment with the full swing is very important, but most people have an open stance with their pitch and chip shots. And no one will argue that the putter face must be perfectly aligned perpendicular to the ball. But for some reason some say the only way to putt is with the feet perfectly aligned across the putting line. This may be the best method for some, but not for everybody, obviously. The objective of most good putters is to roll the ball over a chosen line toward the hole. They choose the line depending on the expected break that the green will give to the ball and then roll the ball over that line with enough speed to get just past the hole. Simply put that is what we try to do with our putts. Comparing this to another sport, bowling, the objectives are similar: to roll a ball over a specific line toward a target.

The difference of course is we are hitting a golf ball and sort of throwing a bowling ball. But if a golfer has the target lined up when putting the only thing that is imperative is that the putter face must be perfectly square to the target line at the time the ball is struck. There could be a good argument that it is harder to consistently keep the putter face square to the ball if the stance is not square to the ball. However, it is not impossible, and for some golfers the advantages gained of seeing the target line at all times trumps the advantages of putting from a square alignment.

This is true only if you can develop a consistent “push” putting stroke out of an open stance. Nicklaus showed us that it cannot only be done, but extremely effectively. His stroke was quite a bit different than most professional golfers of today. It had a lot more wrist action, and he believed in using the right elbow for stability. On a subject for another post, we will discuss why the wrist action will work better for most amateur golfers rather than the sweeping stroke of tour golfer’s use. It might help some to get away from the body alignment prescription being taught by many golf instructors.

When you are getting your game back in shape, you should start with your short game, which means your wedges. The idea is to keep it basic and simple, and then build your swing from there. Jim O'Connell is an avid golfer and writer living in Chicago.

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