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See the Line Every Time! The EOB Putting System

Brushing the Green with the Putter

Dear Dr. Putt:
Quick question. When putting, should my practice strokes brush the grass a little? Same with the putt itself. Sometime I brush the grass just a bit.
Yours sincerely,
Curtis Dufresne

My Dear Mr. Dufresne:

A quick question merit a quick response. No. While your putter blade may incidentally strike a few blades of grass, if you feel any resistance at all, then you are indeed brushing too much grass. A putt is not like a chip shot in which the sole of the blade brushes the grass just as it strikes the ball, slightly before the bottom of the arc of the swing. Ideally, a putt is struck slightly on the upswing, just past the bottom of the arc. This helps impart top spin so that the ball rolls rather than skids. If you brush the grass before the putter strikes the ball, then at least you know you are striking it on the upswing. If it is brushing the green just as it strikes the ball or after it strikes the ball, then you have two things to correct. You must stop brushing the grass, and you must make changes that encourage you to strike the ball on the upswing.

The central question is how you avoid brushing the grass. First, make sure that you are playing the ball toward the front of your stance, just inside the lead toe, or even with the toe. This places your eyes slightly behind the ball, a position that helps you see the line of the putt.

Second, make sure that the putter is gently resting on the putting surface as you address the ball. Do not press it into the turf. Dr. Putt advocates that you address the ball about an inch behind the ball. This is the low point in the arc of the swing. So as you rotate your shoulders to execute the backswing, the blade will naturally move off the surface on the backswing. And as you rotate them back on the downswing, the blade will then reach it's lowest point just before striking the ball. But as you begin the backwing, you should slightly raise the blade off the surface. This raising of the arc is almost imperceptable. After repeated practice, you do not even notice it. You might experiment with different grips and see if a different grip, like the so-called "reverse handed" or "leading hand low grip" helps. You should feel like you are rolling the ball, not pinching it as in a pitch shot. Also, make sure that you are taking a short backswing and a long follow-through.

A few players trigger their backswings by gently tapping the green with the putter: tap, slightly up on the rebound, and then back. Dr. Putt does not recommend this because it promotes too much of a hand swing. The most consistent putting stroke is executed from the shoulders, not with the hands.

If you are unable to execute the swing without brushing the green, as a last resort add a little "up" move to trigger the swing. Do this by raising the shoulders, a slight shrug, not by lifting with the hands.

Work on this at home untill it becomes automatic. You really want to concentrate on other things on the green--the fun things--like reading the green and distance. One final point. Brushing the green is disasterous for distance control. It slows down the putter and adds another variable in an activity that is difficult enough for most mortals.

Thanks for such a good question. Sometimes the best questions are the simple ones! Please let Dr. Putt know how you are doing!

Dr. Putt

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brushing the green with the putter in golf