Intermediate Golf

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Pendulum or shoulder-driven

Dissecting the two methods used in the long-putter madness.

by Scott Heyn, PGAPublished: May, 2012

As a practitioner of the long wand for more than 14 years, it is safe to say I have tried every stroke, set-up, ball position, grip, etc. ever attempted with a long putter.

That, said I firmly believe that there are many variations but only two “methods” to long putting.

The first is to create the “pendulum” stroke. The foundation of this stroke is the fulcrum created by holding the top of the putter against the chest. Once this fulcrum is established, the putter should not move from that position. The putter is put into motion by the lower hand softly swinging the shaft back and forth through the ball. The important thing to remember is that you are trying to allow the putter to swing on its own path.

To be successful with this, remember that the rest of your body should not move throughout the stroke. The shoulders and lower body should remain still.

The second method to use a long putter is the “shoulder-driven” stroke. This method has almost the same setup as the pendulum stroke; the difference comes into play once the putter is in motion.

The shoulder-driven stroke is just that. You create a locked position with the hands, elbows and shoulders and then maintain this position throughout the stroke by rocking the shoulder back and through the stroke.

You will find that there is quite a bit more motion involved in this stroke, and it will tend to have a more arched path during the stroke.

The shoulder-driven stroke has been popular lately with Carl Pettersson playing so well with his Nike Method Long Putter at Hilton Head. If you do in fact try the long wand, try both methods and feel free to try every stance, ball position and grip you can.

The long putter may just be the way to make more putts, but you’ll never know unless you try.


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