When putting techniques are dissected and discussed, it strikes me that perhaps too little is said about the role timing plays. Granted that the putting stroke calls for a different execution from the tee-to-green strokes, nevertheless it requires the same sense of timing that the longer shots do.
In this day and age when people are happiest if you can reveal to them some "inside" short cut to success, I realize how commonplace it must seem to golfers to remind them that they must work on their timing above all. Nevertheless, it is what puts the ball into the hole, and the various mannerisms the top putters employ simply help the individual to refine his timing. For myself, putting is, and has always been, the application of a few tried-and-true, old-fashioned precepts. The weight is a shade forward. With my line decided on, I work on getting the right speed. I try to take the putter back with both hands, directly on the line. I try to hit the ball solidly, square. I let the club head go right toward the hole.
When I fall into a spell of below-standard putting, it is generally because I am picking the putter up on the backswing and throwing my timing and my stroke off. When I check my grip at these times, I am almost certain to find that I have let my left hand slide off to the left. Turning the left hand more on top, where it should be, helps me to get back on the right path.
from JOHNNY PALMER, Tulsa Country Club, Tulsa, Okla.
NEXT WEEK: EDDIE WILLIAMS ON DEVELOPING LIVE HANDS