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Length of Stroke :backstroke vs forward stroke


Haro
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I have always had a forward stroke at least as long as my back stroke because it helped me to keep the putter face on line and gave me better direction on my putts.  I am streaky with my distance control though.  I will try a few of the suggestions mentioned above to get a little more consistent if I start having distance issues again.

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Putting is soooo personal. With me, it can change day to day (and I am considered a good putter). I have a very heavy putter head (actually a cut-off belly putter that I just love).  Some days I am more comfortable with left-hand low. That stroke tends to be very equal back/forward stroke and I stand rather tall. Other days, I do a modified "pool shooter" stance, right foot forward, standard grip with right index down the shaft, much more bent over. Both have my lead eye over the ball but inside about an inch.

I find, for me, left-hand low on slower greens; modified "pool shooter" on quicker greens requiring more "feel'.  Just saying.  

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3 hours ago, scalefreak@aol.com said:

You say two PGA pros say the forward stroke is shorter than the backstroke.  I don't know what world they live in but in the real world if the forward stroke is shorter than the backstroke, the putter head never reaches the ball.

Excellent point.  The OP probably means the follow through not the foreward stroke. 
 

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Watching the pros today at Kapalua, it looked like maybe half have the back stroke and through stroke about the same.  The other half have shorter through strokes.  Obviously, both methods work.

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I'm a spot putter and average around 30 putts a round. So by no means an expert but above average.

For me if I have to start thinking about length of swing on my putts I lose feel and distance.

I tend to have a good look at line and gradient on the putt,  pick my spot, 2 or 3 swings with the putter while looking at my spot to get the feel on swing and my brain dialed in to swing length. I then get over the putt, align putter to aim at the spot, couple of ball spot, ball spot looks and then hit, my mind is more on hitting at the target than stroke length.  My distance tends to be pretty good 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/8/2022 at 4:40 AM, Alf. S said:

I'm a spot putter and average around 30 putts a round. So by no means an expert but above average.

For me if I have to start thinking about length of swing on my putts I lose feel and distance.

I tend to have a good look at line and gradient on the putt,  pick my spot, 2 or 3 swings with the putter while looking at my spot to get the feel on swing and my brain dialed in to swing length. I then get over the putt, align putter to aim at the spot, couple of ball spot, ball spot looks and then hit, my mind is more on hitting at the target than stroke length.  My distance tends to be pretty good 

 

I don’t think anyone would suggest you think about that sort of thing while playing a round. I try to work on it when practicing and the results eventually start to show up in actual rounds.  Shortening my through stroke has definitely been beneficial for me.  My through stroke used to be longer than my backstroke, which is something you very rarely see from plus handicap golfers.  It is a hard habit to break and the shorter follow through feels like a jab if Im putting bad.  When it smoothies out and I make a good putt it definitely gives me better results when I implement around a 60-40 backstroke to through stroke.  For me the key is to have what Stan utley refers to as “dead weight” or Pat Obrien talks about letting gravity do the work.  I was taught to putt with the idea that the clutter head should stay low to the ground in the backstroke and through stroke.  I had to retrain my thoughts to allowing it to naturally rise up 8n the backswing so gravity can give a major assist on the downswing.  I also had to get the idea of accelerating through the ball out of my head.  So many people talk about how you need to accelerate and never decelerate, and people take it to crazy extremes where they are taking almost no backswing and then jamming it forward.  For me, thinking about the forward stroke as being gravity driven and not any more accelerated than the backstroke, has yielded better results.

Full disclosure, I’m not an expert putter or great player.  I’m playing off 3.5ish so I don’t suck, but am far from being really good.  My putting has really improved by making changes that resulted in a shorter follow through.  The changes are what was key though, not the shorter follow through.  I tried to simply shorten my follow through when I first heard it suggested.  That was a disaster.  Later on when I made the changes I mentioned above, along with some others, the follow through naturally shortened and my putting improved.

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4 hours ago, MollyCyrus said:

I don’t think anyone would suggest you think about that sort of thing while playing a round. I try to work on it when practicing and the results eventually start to show up in actual rounds.  Shortening my through stroke has definitely been beneficial for me.  My through stroke used to be longer than my backstroke, which is something you very rarely see from plus handicap golfers.  It is a hard habit to break and the shorter follow through feels like a jab if Im putting bad.  When it smoothies out and I make a good putt it definitely gives me better results when I implement around a 60-40 backstroke to through stroke.  For me the key is to have what Stan utley refers to as “dead weight” or Pat Obrien talks about letting gravity do the work.  I was taught to putt with the idea that the clutter head should stay low to the ground in the backstroke and through stroke.  I had to retrain my thoughts to allowing it to naturally rise up 8n the backswing so gravity can give a major assist on the downswing.  I also had to get the idea of accelerating through the ball out of my head.  So many people talk about how you need to accelerate and never decelerate, and people take it to crazy extremes where they are taking almost no backswing and then jamming it forward.  For me, thinking about the forward stroke as being gravity driven and not any more accelerated than the backstroke, has yielded better results.

Full disclosure, I’m not an expert putter or great player.  I’m playing off 3.5ish so I don’t suck, but am far from being really good.  My putting has really improved by making changes that resulted in a shorter follow through.  The changes are what was key though, not the shorter follow through.  I tried to simply shorten my follow through when I first heard it suggested.  That was a disaster.  Later on when I made the changes I mentioned above, along with some others, the follow through naturally shortened and my putting improved.

Thanks for sharing that. When I tried to shorten my follow thru Deliberately  didn’t have the proper tempo and didn’t work out thinking about that 

I don’t think about the length of the follow through  anymore.  I went back to slight forward lean /press and think about far back I been want to take handle/putter and I notice the shorten follow takes care of itself as I naturally hold the finish  

Edited by Haro
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Remember, pros play extremely fast, perfectly manicured greens EVERY week.

I, like most golfers, play what is available.   Adjust your putter stroke to what works for you on the greens you play.    I practice with the Srixon 2 color balls with the line dividing the colors vertical.   If that line remains vertical, you hit a pure putt.   P.S. don't look up to watch the line - let it roll then observe at 10 feet.

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I use to play with a gentleman who was one of the best ball strikers I have ever met.  He could read greens and strike his putter with the fluidity of a gentle breeze, never spending much time over his putt.  I learned a lot from him.  First thing he told me was the importance of the ball position.  He had me take my normal stance and place a coin on my forehead and let the coin drop on the ground.  Where it landed is where I should always set up my ball.  He then told me that I should practice my tempo, find one that works for me with lots of practice from lots of distances, striking the ball as it were a pendulum meeting it at it's contact point.  Next you can only read a putt some many times.  He emphasized that he really angered him that so many people over read greens.  He actually taught me how to plumb bob and still use that technique to this day.  I spend very little time reading a green, plumb bob it and 99% of the time I am dead on, unless I miss hit it.  It takes a lot of practice to develop a tempo that is comfortable for you and plumb bob even more.  The big thing is trusting it.  My friend was dang good.  He was a traveling salesman that played up and down the east coast playing money matches against the likes of Hogan and Snead.  Might add he won a number of matches against the best other hustlers out there.  I loved playing with him, because he had a lot to teach.  He was a tough man to play with because he demanded perfection but I liked the challenge.  We won a few blitzes together.  RIP Whitey Whitesides.  Thanks for the memories and your knowledge.        

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