By Geoff Mangum
Nearly all golfers develop a “pull” stroke in their early days of golfing.
The main reason for this is standing beside the ball facing the target with the eyes, with a torso also “facing” the target. This “open” body posture results in a stroke action that sends balls diagonally out to the target with the rear shoulder working towards the front shoulder rotationally.
That’s a “pull” for sure later, when the golfer tries to stand more “square” to the intended line, not “open”. The usual end state is golfers standing more or less “square” to the intended line as if to putt sideways out of the setup but aiming the putter face out to the outside of the real target line then “pulling” strokes onto the intended line, not being aware this is what they are doing.
This lurking “pull” habit in nearly all golfers causes many unnecessary misses and also is the reason golfers are streaky in putting — they are unaware of the mis-aiming and the “pull” action, and therefore also not aware of what exactly they are doing “right” that gets balls onto the intended line as required. It certainly isn’t done by putting exactly where the putter face aims!
And the “pull” stroke is also quite naturally fostered by the full-swing. The power required for the full swing necessitates hip and upper torso rotation, and the “pull-hook” is the bane of the golfer who finally solves the “slice” and tries to hit with power. (Think Ben Hogan before he dug the secret out of the dirt to cure his pull-hook problem!)
A golfer on the green putting does not use power, but uses tempo and rhythm instead, and is required to start the ball exactly on line with great precision. But the full-swing movement habit and the mis-aiming “open” body habit conspire to ruin many strokes.
If a golfer strokes 100 putts trying to start each perfectly online where the putter face aims (not trying somehow to get a ball started onto a perceived “intended” line regardless of the putter face aim), perhaps as many as 30 of these putts will be significantly off line.
For example, for a 10-foot putt…
Read the rest of what Geoff has to say about Getting Rid of the Pull Stroke in Putting in the September 2015 Monthly Handicap Improver here: