Before the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, 1991 Ryder Cup Captain Dave Stockton was interviewed about his memories from the historic event and gave some insightful tips and thoughts about putting.
Stockton has coached several Tour players, including Rory McIlroy during his major run. He certainly knows what he is talking about when it comes to putting. I took some notes during the interview and thought I would share a few of the highlights. I think they’ll serve you well if you implement them into your game.
Keep things simple
A major mantra of Stockton’s is to keep things unencumbered. He doesn’t want the golfer to be unnecessarily clouded with mechanical thoughts. Essentially, he promotes a reactionary position when it comes to putting. Aim then fire. React to the target.
You can’t duplicate your signature
Another point Stockton made was to asked the audience to try and duplicate their signature. He said it is impossible. He applied this to the putting stroke. So many of us contort ourselves to try and control the back and forth of the stroke – instead of letting it happen naturally. We try so hard to bring the club straight back and through, we forget about just putting a good roll on the ball and getting it into the hole.
Pick a target
One thing that Stockton said that stood out over the others is that he would pick a point one inch ahead of the ball and just try and roll the ball over that. It’s a simple notion – but really helps to keep the ball online. Stockton wouldn’t necessarily “release” the putterhead as conventional thought would have – but would show the back of the lead wrist to the hole. Something that McIroy employed for much of his career.
Use the clock
Stockton considers where he wanted the ball to roll in the hole using a clock picture. Would it roll in at 2 o’clock, 12 o’clock? Imagining this helps visualize the stroke you need to make as well as gets you the correct speed to get the ball into the hole.
Stockton was known for putting the putterhead in front of the ball and then back behind it before making his stroke. He said he was always in movement so as to not freeze up – and to make it about feel more than a technical move.
Love these tips by Stockton and I hope to use the tips to free up my stroke and make more putts! What do you think?