Niagara Gazette


June 8, 2013

Golf by Ruggiero: The real difference between pros and others is...


Niagara Gazette — This got me to thinking about players who have the illusion that equipment will solve much of their on-course difficulties. They won’t. Since Kelly and I golf together often, I see firsthand that her consistency wavers due to one widespread putting flaw that she will need to correct if she is to be more productive on the short grass.

The defect is referred to as deceleration.

Poor putters bring their putters back too far on their backswing. From this position, they have little choice but to decelerate their forward swing so as not to hit their ball too far past the hole. This poor procedure causes the player to never develop a proper feel on the greens. Putts are left too short or hit far past the hole. Inconsistency is the result.

Here’s how to do it correctly. NEVER bring back the putter further than is necessary to roll your ball into the cup. A general rule of thumb (not to be taken too literally due to green differences from course to course) is to take your putter back one inch for every one foot your ball must roll. So, from twelve feet from the hole, take back your putter 12 inches.

Positive acceleration is the ability to increase clubhead speed throughout the entire putting stroke. If done correctly, the backswing and the follow-through of any putting stroke will have symmetry. If you take your putter back one foot in the backswing, your putter should travel about one foot past the ball after it’s struck.

I had Kelly work on a drill that I developed. Place a ball on a tee about twenty feet from a hole. Get 5 balls and place each, one at a time, about 15 inches in front of the teed-up ball. Strike each ball towards the hole without knocking the ball behind your stroke off the tee.

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