Strike your putts solidly to improve performance

By Ed Oldham, SwingFix InstructorMay 22, 2013, 11:00 pm

One of the foundation skills in good putting is hitting your putts solidly, on the sweet spot every time.

Off-center hits affect distance and direction. When you miss the sweet spot, the putter twists slightly, which will send the ball off line. It also will cause inconsistent distance, which leads to three-putts.

Here are some ideas to help you with solid contact in putting:

Start by finding your sweet spot. Hold your putter between your thumb and forefinger and let it dangle. Using a golf tee or your finger, tap your putter face, beginning toward the heel.

You will feel the face twist or rotate. Continue tapping while moving closer to the center of the face. You will get to a point where the face no longer twists. This is the sweet spot and where you want to strike your putts.

Wrap two rubber bands around your putter face, one on either side of the sweet spot. Practice hitting putts and focus on making contact with the sweet spot. With the rubber bands in place, you will get immediate feedback on the off-center hits.

Place two tees in the ground, one on each end of the putter face and create a “gate.” Leave just enough room for your putter to go through and begin by hitting short putts. If you are able to contact the ball without running into either of the tees, you will have solid contact.

Contact on the heel or toe of the putter will result in hitting one of the tees in the ground. If you are practicing indoors, replace the tees with two golf ball sleeves or any small objects that will provide you with the feedback on off-center hits.

If you tend to hit your putts thin, contacting the ball with the bottom of the face, place a quarter on the ground with a dime on top of it.

Practice your stroke by attempting to knock the dime off of the quarter. This drill will help you to hit your putts higher on the face and more solid.

If you work on these various drills when your practice, you’ll strike your putts more solidly and enjoy more success on the greens.

Take an online lesson with Ed Oldham.

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”

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Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

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Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.

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In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.

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TT postscript: One birdie in casual pro-am round

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:15 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Here are a few observations after watching Tiger Woods’ pro-am round Wednesday at the Honda Classic:

• As expected, the stress level was minimal at PGA National. He had a short warmup (considering it was still freakin’ dark when he was about to tee it up, at 6:45 a.m.) and generally took little time contemplating shots, except for a few clubs off the tee.

• Tiger spent a lot of time chipping, pitching and putting after completing a hole. No surprise there. He didn’t play a practice round Monday or Tuesday, and he hasn’t competed here since 2014. Gotta get in that work.

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• He hit six drivers Wednesday. That’s probably one or two more than he will in competition, depending on wind direction. Two of those drives found the fairway. The other four were varying degrees off-line in the right rough, none more wild than his push slice on the difficult sixth hole that was probably 60 yards right. At least it was playable over there – water runs all the way down the left side.

• It’s not quite a stinger, but he hit more than a few 2-iron shots off the tee, with a sweet, little draw. That’ll play quite nicely here.

• We said it for a few rounds at Torrey Pines, and then again for one day at Riviera, but here goes: Woods appears to have taken the left side of the course out of play. Whether that remains true after playing under “game speed” this week, who knows?

• Woods made only one birdie, after getting up and down out of the greenside bunker on the par-5 third. His pro-am stat line, for those interested: 7 of 14 fairways, 12 greens and 31 putts and shot around 2 over. Again, he was not really trying.

• Best shot of the day? His fairway-bunker shot on the sixth hole (while playing his second ball). He skied a mid-iron from 187 yards to kick-in range. A little more of that, please.