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Putter position prevents ball hops

Chuck EvansBy Chuck Evans,
Special Contributor

Recently I brought out the trusty video camera to record the effects of ball reaction when struck with a putter. The results of this test verified what I had originally found years earlier concerning what happens when the puttter face strikes the golf ball.

Years ago I watched a well known PGA Tour player demonstrating how he putted. After a few smaller putts he then decided to show how to lag 30 footers. As he struck the putt I noticed that the ball appeared to be airborne for about 6 feet! I was shocked to see this and after his exhibition I went up and asked him if he knew that his putting stroke produced this "airtime." He didn't and when I showed him - once again on video - he could not believe it.

If the putter strikes the ball below the center line then the ball "hops", or gets airborne. On the 10 foot test putt this hop was approximately 2 feet, or 20 percent of the distance. Obviously when the ball finally does hit the surface there is a change of rotation and diminished speed.

When the putter strikes the ball at the center line then the golf ball skids before it starts rolling. This is most evident on those early morning rounds when you see the "rooster tail" effect of the ball on the green.

But when the ball is struck above the center line the ball rolls pure, with no hops or skids.

The easiest way to strike the ball above the center line is to simply forward press the putter, without opening the putter face, so that the top edge is out in front of the bottom edge. As long as you maintain this during the stroke then the top edge will strike the ball above the center line, and your puts will roll smooth and pure.

Chuck Evans, G.S.E.D., a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, is one of only 31 golf instructors worldwide designated to hold a doctorate in golf stroke engineering. He is executive director of instruction for the Medicus Golf Institute and has served as director of schools for the PGA Tour Golf Academy, and as director of instruction for the United States Golf Institute. He is also the author of "How To Build Your Golf Swing."

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