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Will the Forward Press improve your putting stroke?

Will the Forward Press improve your putting stroke?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

The forward press has been around for many years, and Gary Player even uses it in his full swing.  He kicks his right knee into the left knee to get his backswing started.  Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth both use the forward press, and everyone knows how well those two putt!  But what is important in the forward press is the forward shaft angle you need to create optimum roll off the putter face.   Tom Stickney II for GolfWRX gives us his take on the illusion of the forward stroke. 

Most Tour Players have their hands ahead of the Putterhead!

If you watch the vast majority of Tour players putt, you’ll notice that their hands start in front of the putter head at address, and this condition doesn’t vary throughout their stroke.

Most golfers don’t putt this way, though. Their hands start behind the putter head at address and tend to break down even more. They “slap” at the ball through impact and beyond, which is detrimental for both speed and direction control.

Golf instructors can agree that in order to be effective on the greens, golfers must have the putter shaft returning to neutral or even leaning forward at impact, allowing the hands to lead the blade throughout the stroke. Fundamentally, we know that the left hand controls the putter face and its direction, while the right hand controls the putter head and its effective loft (for right-handed golfers). These two factors together allow golfers to roll their putts more consistently.

The bottom line: if you do not lead the putter head with your hands on today’s fast green, you’ll struggle to be an effective putter.

The Illusion

Will the Forward Press improve your putting stroke?


Jordan Spieth keeps the back of his left hand stable and ahead of the putter head throughout his stroke.

So isn’t the solution as simple as forward pressing your hands during the address. Why is that so hard? Well, when most amateurs forward press it’s almost never enough. That’s because they’re fighting an illusion. 

That’s right, there’s an optical illusion that occurs when golfers look down from address at their hands and their putter shaft angle. It influences the breakdown of their impact alignments, and promotes a “slapping” action of the wrists and hands. It also encourages the putter head to swing past the hands, leaning the shaft away from the target at impact adding loft to the putter — not something we want.

Try It Yourself

To understand how putters are designed, place your putter flat on the ground, and up against the wall as pictured below. You will notice that the shaft leans away from the target.

Will the Forward Press improve your putting stroke?

If you still don’t buy it, take your setup in front of a full-length mirror and look down at the shaft of the putter. From your address position, you will swear that your putter shaft is even or slightly ahead of the golf ball. But when you look in the mirror you will see an entirely different picture. The putter shaft will actually be behind the putter head.

To see the illusion explained and how to overcome the illusion. Go here!

Source: Tom Stickney II  GolfWRX

Pictures: GolfWRX

Thanks for watching – Will the Forward Press improve your putting stroke?

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