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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Miyazato's Putting Style

Having posted some putting instruction from Steve Stricker yesterday, and knowing that Ai Miyazato is just one off the lead at the Founders Cup -- in large part because she's putting so well -- I thought I'd post a few videos of Ai's putting stroke for comparison to Stricker's.

Ai is considered one of the best putters on any tour. And while Stricker is considered somewhat unorthodox, Miyazato has very classic technique. It's a great example of the Basic Principles of Good Putting, which are seven principles agreed on by Dave Pelz, Stan Utley, and Bobby Jones. (They're the basis of my book Ruthless Putting, for those of you who might be curious.) Let me point them out in the videos.

In this first video, you can see that Ai's forearms don't rotate when she makes her stroke (Principle 1). I don't mean that she manipulates the club face to keep it straight. Rather, I mean she holds the club in a relaxed grip and doesn't try to make the club do anything (Principle 3). Relaxed muscles tend to return to the same position they were at address, so the face squares up naturally.

She holds the club in a parallel grip (Principle 2). That just means that her palms face each other and the back of her lead hand faces the target.

Her putterhead travels on a long low path away from and back to the ball (Principle 6).

And although it's not one of the "official" principles, you can see that her hands are leaning the shaft forward ever so slightly. In my book I recommended positioning your hands right over the ball. That way, you get a little lean but not too much. As you can see, Ai does exactly that.

In this video you can see that the club shaft forms a straight line with her forearms (Principle 4). That helps eliminate that nasty forearm twisting.

You can also see that she doesn't make a cut stroke (Principle 5) -- that is, she doesn't slice across the ball.

And finally, you can see how little she moves. She's not stiff but she isn't moving around any more than she has to (Principle 7).

Despite all the training aids that are available, classic techniques aren't that hard to learn... and Ai Miyazato is a great example to learn from.

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