By Brady Riggs,
A square putter face and a straight-back, straight-through path are crucial
fundamentals for a solid stroke. These two elements control direction, which is
undeniably one of the two most important aspects of good putting. However,
perhaps the most important fundamental, rhythm, is often overlooked. Rhythm
establishes the steadiness of the putting stroke and is the main factor in controlling
distance and speed. Rhythm is the heartbeat of a good stroke, and is at least as
important, if not more so, than any other aspect of successful putting.
Regardless of whether your tempo is fast or slow, the club head should move at a
constant pace going back and coming forward. If your putting stroke accelerates too
quickly or decelerates abruptly at impact, it’s extremely difficult to control the distance
of the putt. A stroke made in this manner is easy to identify because the backstroke
and follow through are different in speed and length. The sure sign of a stroke with
good rhythm is one where the backstroke and follow through move at the same
speed and are of equal lengths.
A stroke with good rhythm is often described as a “pendulum” stroke. However, this
term implies that the putter swings itself from a fixed point. Instead, it would be more
appropriate to think of the stroke as being powered by the arms and shoulders while
the putter is kept from swinging on its own. When the arms and shoulders control
the putter, good rhythm is much easier to achieve because there’s no independent
motion of the putter head. Focusing on moving the arms and shoulders (while
controlling the putter) at the same speed and the same distance back and through
will ensure solid contact and consistent control over the distance of your putts.