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Putt from the core

Western NY PGA Tips

If you want to make noise with your putter, you’ve got to keep the body quiet. 

It’s the key part of what Mike Clawson teaches his putters at Southern Meadows Golf Club. 

Clawson believes in distance control as the priority for putting and that means controlling the power sources of the swing. 

There should only be one: the core. 

“I want to make sure my core muscles are the motor for the swing,” Clawson says. “I don’t want my arms or my wrists or my lower body to be an extra power source.”

Clawson has a simple swing thought to help keep those extraneous muscles in check.  

“I think of having a couple of golf clubs under each arm. Then, the only reason the club moves is because my shoulders are moving,” Clawson says. “If you watch the pros, their lower body does not move at all. (The putting swing) is just a pendulum.”

Clawson says soft hands are important, but they can’t take over the swing. Many players get too handsy with a putt. “That’s an extra power source that we cant control.” He also says a good rhythm helps. 

Once the core is isolated as the only power source, controlling that power isn’t difficult. 

“Distance is dictated by how far back I bring the club. That’s storing up the energy,” Clawson says. “Then, I always accelerate down my line.”

Clawson says he sees many amateurs who struggle with lag putting and often just “clock it across the green.” He prescribes learning distance control by just tossing a ball at the hole underhanded. The distance you’d bring your hand back for the underhand toss is about the same as the distance to bring the putter back on the same length putt. 

“It’s helpful to read the break, but if you don’t have the right distance, you don’t have a chance.”

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