The "Arching" Stroke in Putting is a Misleading Delusion | Swing Man Golf

By Geoff Mangum

The “arcing” stroke is an urban myth.

The main putting guru associated with this stroke — Stan Utley — taught the arcing stroke in his 2006 book The Art of Putting: The Revolutionary Feel-Based System for Improving Your Score, supposedly describing his personal stroke that he had been using 30 years since his college days in 1974.

In his book, Stan said he rotated his chest and shoulder horizontally back and thru while also rolling his forearms and hands “open” (rear hand supinating) in the backstroke and rolling closed (lead hand supinating) in the thru-stroke. But Stan learned afterwards that he had MIS-DESCRIBED his personal stroke action when he wrote the book.

In about 2008, having taught the stroke motion he wrote in the book for two years, Stan was filmed by a golf teacher in Chicago who had invited him to lecture, and then showed Stan that his stroke motion was not turning the shoulders back and thru or rotating his forearms open and then closed. Stan was then puzzled for another year or so trying to find out and accurately describe what he actually had been doing for 30+ years. And he ADMITTED in future lectures that his book was incorrect, and did NOT describe his stroke, yet he still sells it.

In fact, as Stan later learned in about 2009 or 2010 by asking another golf teacher in Memphis to tell him what he did with his body for his stroke, Stan learned that he personally swings his arms straight back and straight thru, with his motion on a plane that is slightly tilted off vertical. He did NOT rotate his shoulders horizontally and he did NOT roll his forearms and hands open and then closed.

Once he had his personal stroke explained to him, he changed to teaching a straight-back, straight-thru action on a tilted plane. He solidified this new teaching by holding a shaft inside the upper arms of students to make them swing straight back and thru along the shaft, and also by making a training aid he named (ironically?) the “Learning Curve”, which in fact is simply a plank leaning back on a tilt for golfers to slide the putter head straight-back and straight-thru on a tilted plane.

The “Putting Arc” training aid is similarly delusional. The shape of the front vertical face of the Putting Arc is a curve or bulge, and the golfer supposedly traces this shape with the putter head by making an “arcing” stroke. Marks on the flat top of the aid show the putter face supposed to be “open” in the backstroke and then on the corresponding place in the forward stroke the putter face mark shows the face to be “closed”. None of this is an accurate portrayal of the motion that traces the Putting Arc. THAT motion is traced by a robot selling the Putting Arc named “Iron Archie”, and Archie can ONLY move …

Read the rest of what Geoff has to say about The “Arching” Stroke in Putting is a Misleading Delusion in the April 2015 Monthly Handicap Improver here: