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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Step 1: Deadhand It with a Putting Grip

Since the deadhanded approach shot uses the same basic movement as a putting stroke, we’ll start with that. That move, which is the First Principle of Good Putting in the list I posted from my book Ruthless Putting, is simply swinging the club without rotating the forearms. To help you more easily detect any forearm rotation, we’re going to “cock” the glass slightly so it’s in the position it will be at the top of a full backswing. If this was just a putting lesson, I would have you hold it so your thumbs are “on top” of the glass and its bottom is clearly visible because it would point roughly at your belly button; for this lesson, tilt the open end of the glass upward so you can see the side of the glass clearly and your thumbs are on the side nearest you, as my first drawing shows. If you're looking down deep inside the open end of the glass, you’ve cocked your wrists too much. If done properly, your forearms should feel very relaxed; this isn’t a stressful position at all.

Deadhands putting grip at address

Just swing your arms back and forth as if stroking a putt while keeping the glass in this position. The bottom of the glass will continue to point down at your feet, and your thumbs will remain on the side of the glass facing you. Just think about the glass as if it had water in it; the water wants to pour out of the top on the side that points away from you (if you don’t believe me, just put some water in and try it). What you want to do is keep from twisting your arms and "spilling" any more water out of the glass.

This shouldn’t be too difficult. If you tilt the glass back to an address position, with the bottom of the glass pointed at your belly button again and your thumbs staying on top of the glass, and you make this same stroking motion, you’re making a dependable putting motion. I don’t care what your putting stroke looks like, if you hold a putter this way and make this stroke, your ability to sink putts will improve automatically!

Back to the glass… Cock it back up as before, then swing it back to a backswing position a little higher than your shoulders. Except for being at a different angle, you should see the same view of the glass EXCEPT that it’s tilted just a bit to the side. This tilt isn’t caused by rotating forearms; rather, it’s a combination of your right elbow bending and your entire left (straight) arm rotating at the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint HAS to rotate; otherwise, the top of the glass would tilt back toward the “ball” and you’d feel a lot of strain in your shoulder. You really have to work to stop it from rotating… so don’t. Let your arms move naturally to the top of the backswing, and you’ll see basically what I drew in the second picture.

Deadhands putting grip at top of backswing

“Swing” the glass this way a few times, just to get comfortable with how it looks and feels. Obviously we’re not going to use our putting grip for a fairly full swing like this, but it’s a simple way to learn the basics of a deadhanded swing, PLUS it will do wonders for your putting stroke. Tomorrow I’m going to show you how it works with your normal grip… and you’re going to be amazed at how much simpler your full swing is about to become!

2 comments:

  1. DO YOU HAVE A YOUTUBE VIDEO FOR DEMONSTRATION? i JUST WANNA MAKE SURE IM DOING IT RIGHT. tHANK YOU

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  2. Well, yes and no, CBK. First, here's a description of an easy way to check:

    1) Set up as if you're going to hit the shot.

    2) Lift your arms straight up, bending your right elbow and keeping your left elbow straight, so the club shaft points over your right shoulder.

    3) Turn your body so your chest faces to the right.

    These instructions assume you're right-handed. If you're left-handed, just reverse the rights and lefts.

    Since you don't twist your forearms to get in this position, it will teach you the correct feel.

    Now, I don't have a video of me doing this drill... but I posted a video of K.J. Choi's teacher Steven Bann doing something very similar. It's on this post:

    K.J. Choi Keeps His Hands in Front of Him

    There are 3 vids on that post. Bann is the last one. Bann doesn't straighten his left elbow until he turns his chest, but it's the same idea.

    Hope this helps.

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