STROKE OF GENIUS

Make your worst putting days better. With Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas  

The big difference this year—winning five times, my first major (PGA Championship) and the FedEx Cup—was working hard on my putting consistency. I’ve always been a streaky putter. My great putting days are really great. But it’s about the bad putting days. You look at Jordan, Rickie or Tiger in his prime; their version of putting bad versus a guy ranked 100th on tour in putting is just so different.

So I worked on making those bad days better. First, when I practice, I put a mirror on the green with a line on it and put a ball on that line. Then I stand over the ball and make sure my eyes also are on that line with my left eye over the ball. I’m left-eye dominant. Having your eye line correct is going to make you a lot more accurate. I also check that the putterface is square to that line and my posture and body alignment are consistent. Finally, I pay attention to my feet. I’ll explain that in a second.

Another change, my pre-putt routine is shorter. I no longer take a practice stroke. I just step in and go before doubt can set in. I also have a shorter stroke. It’s the same on both sides of the ball, but the overall length is shorter because it’s easier to control. I mentioned my feet, because it’s important to feel as stable as possible in your lower body when you hit a putt. I want my feet gripping the ground, so my body doesn’t drift when I make a stroke.

As far as practice, I worked hard on putts over 10 feet. Making ones from long range, or at least getting them a lot closer to the hole, is going to make you a better player. One way to do that is randomise your practice. Keep changing the distance you hit putts, with a focus on speed control. Success at any level comes from not taking this part of the game for granted. —With Brian Wacker

TIPS FROM THE TOP

Other news

GET OUR FREE NEWSLETTER