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             23 January, 2021

Category:  Articles » Recreation & Sports » Golf


Why Most Short Pressure Putts Are Missed To The Left - "The Pendulum Effect"

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2007-12-12 06:11:12     
Article by Les Ross

Do you take note of which side of the hole you tend to miss most short putts? My guess it is mostly to the left if you are right handed.

This happens to be a common problem with professional golfers who do the same thing. If you observe them closely, in most cases they miss pressure putts to the left for right handed players.

If you listen to the commentary after a missed putt, you will often hear them say that the player "tensed up and tugged it left". This may be true.

However, there is another explanation that is more likely to be reason for a missed putt to the left and that is what I call the "Pendulum Effect".


"Pendulum Effect"

To understand this phenomenon, you need to review two "characteristics" of a simple pendulum. If you have a hard time visualizing a pendulum, you can make one for yourself by hanging a weight from a piece of string and observing these two effects:

• The "stability point" of a pendulum is vertically below its "fixed point of rotation". In other words it is stable when it is hanging straight down in a motionless state.

• When you displace or "offset" a pendulum away from its stable position it will always swing back and forth towards this point of stability until it eventually stops and becomes stable again.

How does this apply to a putting swing?

If you look at your putting swing, there are a few aspects about the swing that have "similar" characteristics to a pendulum:

• Your swing has a "fixed point of rotation" around which it moves back and forward through the putt, which is a point on your spine above your shoulder blades.

• You can draw an imaginary line from this fixed point of rotation to the putter head which would represent the length of the pendulum to the "pendulum weight".

Take a look at your putter setup before you begin the swing to see how these pendulum characteristics may affect your putting swing.

The most important observation I want you to make is that in all cases in your setup, your putter head is not located "directly below" your fixed point of rotation on your shoulder blades - it is offset away from this point by a distance that feels "comfortable" to you in the stance and also by a distance that is determined by the design of the putter.

If we regard the putter as having "pendulum" characteristics, right away that offset places the putter in an "unstable position".

In this address position though before the putt, everything is "stable" simply because the putter is resting on the ground.

However, that changes when you begin your backswing...

As soon as you lift the putter head off the ground, the putter now becomes an "unstable" pendulum that is trying to move back to its point of stability which is below your fixed point of rotation...

If you imagine looking at the putter head at the top of your backswing from behind your stance, you will see that the putter is trying to swing naturally "inwards" towards that stable point below your shoulder blades which is "left" of the target line.

The only way that you can avoid this from happening is by applying "outward pressure" in your hands to keep the putter head on line.

What are we always told to do by the professional teachers when faced with short pressure putts?

RELAX the arms and hands to remove the tension from the swing.

This is good advice. But, can you guess what can happen if you are too relaxed? You've got it.

By relaxing your hands too much, you have removed the outward pressure to keep the putter on a straight line and the "pendulum effect" now acts on the putter pulling it inward towards your body and its point of stability, resulting in a missed putt to the left...


How to Minimize this Effect

If you observe frequent putts missed to the left, your swing may be impacted by the pendulum effect.

It is impossible to eliminate this effect entirely because you physically are unable to place the putter head directly below the point of rotation in your stance. Even if you could, this would also impact how you "see" the line of the putt and distort your vision. What you can do though, is make subtle adjustments to your stroke to reduce the effect.

Here is what you can try:

• The further the ball is placed away from your body the greater the pendulum effect - move it in closer towards your body.

• Move your fixed point of rotation towards the ball by crouching your chest and shoulders over the ball a little further.

• The heavier the putter head, the larger the pendulum effect - use a lighter putter.

• Take "most" of the putter weight in your hands before you start the swing - this sets as close to the tension you require in your hands to keep the putt on line during the swing, before the putt.


Next time you watch a pro miss a pressure putt to the left give them a little slack. Realize that they were probably "too relaxed" and the pendulum effect took over, rather than too "tense" by the heat of the moment...

Get out your putter on the carpet and "observe" the pendulum effect. Make the simple adjustments I have just described and you will see an immediate difference to your accuracy.

Good luck.

Les Ross is author of "Breaking the Distance Barrier" and "In Search of Putting Excellence" http://www.breakingthedistancebarrier.com

He is also the owner of "Highlanderllc School of Golf" which specializes in providing "live" online technical golf instruction. http://www.highlanderschoolofgolf.com

You may try out the online seminar experience by registering for our free seminar "How to analyze your own swing" at: http://www.highlanderschoolofgolf.com/ballflightrulesseminar.htm

Specialized in: Golf Instruction - Golf Conditiong Program - Golf Affiliate Program - Golf Newsletter - Golf E-book - Mechanics Of The Golf Swing - Natural Golf Swing - Golf Strategy - Swing Control - Mental Game - Rhythm And Timing - Swing Consistency - Swing Power - Physics Of Golf - Online Golf Seminars
URL: http://www.highlanderschoolofgolf.com
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