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Proper Forearm Alignment in Putting
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Published: February 16, 2014
Today we're going to talk about the most underrated aspect of golf, and that's putting. Particularly, we'll be talking about the forearms as they pertain to putting.
It's probably not something you hear about very often, but the forearms are quite possibly the most important part of putting - certainly one of the most important.
There are two keys to setting up correctly to the putter. The first one, which we can see in this photo of Rotary Swing Instructor Chuck Quinton, is the grip.
You'll notice that his hands appear to sit almost underneath the putter, meaning that the angles of "V" shapes formed by the thumb and forefinger on each hand are pointing away from each other.
Let's zoom in for a closer look. If we draw some lines we can see that the V of each hand is basically pointing back at each shoulder.
Drawing a line on the shaft down the middle, we form a perfect Y shape.
This is important, not so much because of the shape we see from face on, but because of the down the line view, which we'll look at shortly.
The importance of this grip is that it takes your hands out of the putting stroke, allowing you to rock back and through with your body for much grater consistency.
Taking The Hands Out
As Chuck swings back and through, his hands will remain very, very quiet. There's no breakdown there.
The hands are a key part of becoming a consistently good putter. You don't want flinchy or twitchy hands through impact. They need to be very, very quiet.
The only way you can prevent the yips and keep from getting in there and flipping it with your right hand is to grip the club in such a way that when you look down the line, the shaft is in perfect alignment with the forearms, as you can see below.
Looking down the line we can see that the shaft and both forearms form a perfectly straight line, right up through the elbow. This is critical.
Taking a grip where the V of each thumb points back at the shoulder is what makes that alignment possible.
Simpler and More Consistent
In a regular golf swing, both V's point toward the right shoulder, but you don't want that here.
The reason is forearm alignment and, again, it comes back to taking the hands out of the stroke. Getting the forearms in alignment with the shaft allows you to control the putter more easily with the body and shoulders.
While on a longer putt you will have a tiny bit of hand movement, and a little bit of arm movement separate from the body, for the most part the simpler you make the stroke, the more consistent and repeatable it becomes.
Watching Chuck putt, we see that the forearms and shaft stay in alignment all the way back and through.
If you were to put your thumbs down the shaft instead of to the sides as we saw from face on, the shaft would sit lower than the forearms, as shown by the blue line in the photo below.
That's what you want in a normal golf stroke - and that's why you don't want to use your normal grip for putting. That grip puts your right hand in a dominant position.
When you have your thumbs riding more down the shaft than to the sides, the right hand's dominant position makes it very easy to pull your putts. The right wrist can release very easily and the left wrist will allow it.
Getting your hands to the sides makes it easy to get those forearms aligned. Your hands will stay completely quiet and you can just rock it back and through.
This is a very reliable, consistent way to putt.
When you're working on your grip, pay very close attention to the face on view. You want to see that the V of each thumb is pointing back at the shoulder.
Once you've established a proper grip, just make a normal putting stroke. You will notice that the putter blade doesn't move around a lot. It stays very square. Keeping the forearms and the shaft aligned makes for a very, very simple putting stroke.
Work on adjusting your grip. It will feel strange at first, especially if you're used to using a lot of right hand in your putting.
Your right hand may be used to sitting on top of the shaft, with the your thumb on the shaft. That's a very finicky way to putt because your hands can get much too active in the stroke.
Try this grip, get the shaft aligned with your forearms, and you will start to see a lot more consistency in your putting.
Checkpoints for Practice
- There are two keys to setting up correctly to the putter - getting the correct grip, and forearm alignment
- The V of the thumbs should point back at each shoulder in the putting grip
- From face on, the forearms and shaft form a perfect Y shape
- From down the line, the forearms and shaft form an unbroken line from elbow to club head
- This takes the hands out of the putt, allowing you to rock back and through for a much more consistent stroke
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