According to pro golf instructor Hank Haney, the difference between “good” and “great” at every level of golf is the short game and putting.
At the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy (Hilton Head Island, S.C.), we focus on improving our students’ putting by training them to employ the large muscles in their chest, shoulders and upper back. We want our students to eliminate the use of the smaller muscles in their hands and arms, because these smaller muscles are much less stable than the muscles of the upper back, chest and shoulders. Engaging the body’s larger muscles results is a more consistent pendulum stroke.
Learn to stay connected and use your large upper body muscles for strokes with the following drills.
The bungee cord will keep your arms connected to your body.
- Loop light bungee cord around upper body
- Cord should go above elbows and circle back
- Perform putting stroke
Coaching Points: Use big upper body muscles // Do not allow separation or disconnection
Keep in mind the goal of this exercise: to swing the triangle created by your arms and chest in a pendulum motion using your shoulder and upper back muscles.
Many professional golfers are now using a belly putter. This next drill uses a training aid to replicate this type of putting stroke. The aid creates a fulcrum point at your belly to maintain the necessary connection and produce a proper arcing path of the club to the ball.
To build the training aid, procure a metal rod 30 inches long and 3/16″ in diameter. Then take a golf ball and drill a hole three quarters into its center with a 3/16” drill bit. Put strong adhesive into the hole and push the metal rod into the ball. Once the rod is set in the ball (about 30 minutes), use the training aid in the drill below. Also, please make sure to wear protective ear and eyewear while using the drill.
Belly Putter Drill
To simulate use of a belly putter without actually using one, practice just with the rod, using your putter grip for five to 10 minutes. Then practice without the rod. Going back and forth should start giving you a better feel for controlling the stroke with your big muscles.
Matt Fields is director of golf at the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy. A member of the PGA for the past 10 years, he formerly worked as a PGA Professional at Pinehurst Resorts (Pinehurst, N.C.). Several of his students play on the PGA and LPGA Tours.
Hank Haney IJGA is the only academy in the world providing training academics and competition for serious junior golfers. Students receive daily instruction in full swing, short game, course management, fitness training, mental preparation and college placement. For more information, visit IJGA.com.