Releasing the Putter Face

Releasing the putter face is something that is misunderstood by most of the golfing population. It is a common held belief that the putter face should be looking down the target line during the entire stroke. Of course, that's not possible without manipulating the putter face and bending over to 90* with the upper spine. The putter, just in the normal swing, works on an arc which means the putter face is only looking straight down the target line for a split second at impact and then immediately working left and pointing left of the target.

  • Just like a full swing, the putting stroke works on an arc and needs a little bit of rotation to release
  • Most golfers try to swing "straight back & straight through" and flip the club in an effort to square the face
  • Don't let the left wrist break down - get a slight rotation of the the left wrist bones to release instead
  • You should feel like the putting stroke works low to the ground
  • The face will point slightly left of the target at the end of the stroke

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Gisella
Sorry but I can't understand if I have to do the backswing as long as the release or if the release has to be longer than the backswing
January 8, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gisella. Typically, the release or through stroke will be a hair longer. But, you want to shy away from short backswing to a very long follow through.
January 8, 2017
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Bradly
I putt with a mallet putter, I was told this type of putter is made to putt straight back and straight through, is this a false claim and do all putter types should swing on an arc? Brad
June 26, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brad. The mallet putter is designed to go straight back and through. The issue is the setup and proper technique with the body would be very hard to create a stroke that wouldn't have some sort of arc or release. Basically you would have to bend over perpendicular with the ground or have the back parallel to the ground. For players that want to use a mallet or face balanced type putter. We tend to recommend switching to lead hand low.
June 27, 2016
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Carole
Does this apply to left hand low as well? In the left hand low video, Chuck indicates that it's more of a shoulder initiated and rocking motion. I can rock back just fine, but the shoulders rocking forward often pulls my putter head off line. And I oftentimes push the putt because I don't release the club with the shoulder action. If this releasing applies, how do I meld the two. If I release, then it seems to bring the hands into the equation again which left hand low is trying to eliminate. I have no problem taking the putter back, under control and on line, I accelerate well, I have good distance control, I stay down over the putt, but I always struggle with the forward motion being on line. Can you please clarify the release relative to a shoulder rocking motion? Thanks
September 9, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Carole. With left hand low the putter won't be releasing as much. It will be more of a shoulder/body release. It sounds like you tend to pick the help up changing the rock in the shoulders. Keep the head down and bend over a touch more to square the shoulder rock path.
September 9, 2015
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Mike
In other putting videos they talk about having a slight wrist hinge on the backswing and slight unhinging of the wrists on the downswing for better feel. Is Chuck saying you should not have an extreme amount of flipping of the putter on the doswnswing? Do you still want a slight unhinging of the wrists on the downswing as you rotate the putter at impact?
August 22, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mike. You want the wrists to be soft. You don't want a lot of flip. But, allowing for some hinge helps you release the face angle better and more feel for distance. A little hinge and unhinging is minor compared to a big flip.
August 24, 2015
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Mike
I assume you don't hinge and unhinge on short putts right? How long does a putt need to be to hinge and unhinge?
August 24, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mike. On shorter putts the "hinge" will definitely be less. I wouldn't judge it too much by distance. Ex. I'm 10 feet away so I need to allow for hinging, but not when 9 feet. Think about it as the wrists will always have a type of softness and hinge. It will be relative to the distance or pace of the putt. Shorter putts very quiet and the longer putts more involved. Its about flow and feel.
August 24, 2015

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