One of the less conspicuous factors in any good round of golf is sound, steady approach putting. Regularly getting the long ones up close so that the second putt is a relatively routine tap-in—this takes a lot of worry and tension off your shoulders and promotes a comfortable frame of mind.
It helps in approach putting if you think primarily in terms of getting the distance right. Since I hit my short putts with a tap stroke, I find my feeling for distance is best if I tap the long putts too. I use a little free motion going back but I do not take the club back far. On the forward stroke. I try to "dead-wrist" it after impact. This, I realize, is an odd expression and I will explain it as best I can. After impact, whatever follow-through there is comes from the momentum and weight of the clubhead itself, not from any continued through-movement by the hands and wrists. Dead-wristing the putt gives me the sense of tap I like to have.
In regard to lining up, I follow the same fundamentals on long putts as on the short ones. I rest the left elbow lightly on the left hip bone. Both toes are on the same line, and, similarly, the knees, hips and shoulders are evenly aligned. This, I believe, helps develop a uniform motion and a square blade.
KATHY CORNELIUS, Miami Valley GC, Dayton, Ohio
NEXT WEEK: Jay Hebert on playing the long irons