Brandt Snedeker’s Pop Putting Tips

Brandt Snedeker is one of the best putters on the PGA Tour. He was number 4 on the 2013 Strokes Gained – Putting stat list, gaining .692 strokes on the field each round. He was behind Greg Chalmers (.854), Steve Stricker (.727) and Stephen Ames (.710). And, as he lays out in an article at Golf.com, he does it with an old fashioned putting stroke that you see in all the old Bobby Jones era movies and clips.

That method was pretty much required back then because the greens weren’t as consistent as what modern agronomy has brought us since then. You had to pop it to get it up and rolling across the grass. In today’s world, that’s not necessary and most good putters use a smoothly accelerating stroke without any “hit” in it; the ball just gets in the way. Snedeker says his stroke works even on today’s fast greens because the quicker shorter stroke provides smooth acceleration and “helps the ball hug the line.” 

The secret to his method is hinging the wrists on the backstroke while most model strokes use a shorter backstroke and acceleration through the ball (there is a typo in the second paragraph of the article that says it’s to promote “deceleration”).

Snedeker has honed this stroke since he was a kid, no doubt, but from today’s point of view it has one fatal flaw in it for most golfers: hinging the wrists makes the hands active in the stroke and consequently requires timing. Most good putters think that quiet hands, i.e., two hands finely melded on the grip that don’t break going back or through, are a much more consistent solution because they take the smallest, twitchiest muscles out of the stroke.

His warning is not to lock your arms and wrists to control the putter by just rocking your shoulders because it introduces tension in the stroke.

But it is possible to alleviate that straightjacket feel by swinging your arms freely using the left shoulder as a pendulum point, not rocking both shoulders as the engine of the stroke.

Almost all good golf strokes flow freely from beginning to end, even knockdown shots into stiff winds, even though they are shorter swings. One obvious one that doesn’t is the gouge-out bunker shot from a plugged lie.

In any event, “Putt with Pop: Putting Tips, Drills and Secrets from Brandt Snedeker” is an interesting, successful perspective to be aware of so that you can make your own choices. The section he devotes to the putting grip and eye alignment is quite good.

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