When I have a putt of six feet or less, I make a slight change in the stance I use for longer putts. I stand so that the ball—which is off my left toe on all putts—is an inch nearer my foot.
Moving the ball in that inch changes the feeling I get about the kind of stroke needed to contact the ball squarely. My hands feel tappier. By this, I mean I get the feeling as I line myself up that I can hit the ball much more solidly and more decisively—that my stroke doesn't have to travel so far either going back or coming forward or have as much delicate timing to it. It works that way for me. It cuts down the backswing, enables me to tap the ball very firmly, and I find that the tap action automatically makes me follow through without my having to really think about following through.
When a player taps the ball in a crisp manner, he is bound to get the ball started right, and the most important part of any putt is the first six or eight inches. If the ball is rolling right then, it will roll right all the way.
from DOUG FORD, Putnam C.C., Mahopac, N.Y.
NEXT WEEK: EDDIE WILLIAMS ON ORGANIZING ESSENTIALS