Science and technology have impacted both full swing and putting stroke methodologies used in the game today. And with the progression of faster greens over the years, a simpler, shoulder-lever stroke has become the norm of most PGA Tour professionals. The T-Bar is simple in design, yet the most effective tool created to train the shoulder-lever stroke. With my guidance, you will learn a more effective putting motion.

Advantageous Posture:

To maximize the use of the shoulder lever, it is best that you establish an advantageous position allowing the shoulders to move in more vertical direction (up/down).

                            Figure 1 - Face On                                                                                        Figure 2 - Down the Line

The more vertical the shoulders move, the straighter the putter path. The straighter the putter path, the longer the putter face will stay square to the putt line before and after impact.  Thus, a greater margin of error. As you can see Figure 2 above, a flatter upper spine angle creates a more vertical shoulder plane. It might not be surprising that, on average, PGA Tour players position their upper spine 15-20% flatter than most amateurs.

I recommend that you set your upper spine angle in a position that allows your shoulders to move in a more vertical direction. But, comfort is key. There are some simple changes you can make to achieve this.

  • Ball Position – by simply moving back from the ball a bit will lower your spine angle.
  • Lower Spine Angle – simply bend over more at the hips.
  • Upper Spine Angle – incorporate curvature to the upper spine angle (slump the shoulders, think Steve Stricker) or simply by dropping the head downward (which effectively moves the Shoulder Plane down).

T-Bar Attachment Directions:

  1. Firmly insert each yellow crossbar into the T connector. Several twists and the crossbar will be solidly attached.
  2. Place shaft clamp over the smaller diameter of the shaft near the putter head and slide up shaft until the crossbar is positioned to touch the front of the shoulders just above the arms pits.
  3. Position the shaft clamp so that crossbar is square to the putter face (or parallel to the putter’s sight line) and tighten shaft clamp.
  4. Position the crossbar so that it rests on the upper chest, left and right shoulder with some resistance and then tighten the crossbar clamp. Hint – set the crossbar upright, tighten the knob, and then push the crossbar away from the body until it is in the ideal position. As the crossbar pushes away from the body, the clamp will continue naturally tighten, leaving you with the ideal resistance.

 How to Best Train the Stroke:

To best train motion, I prefer that my students initially do not putt to a hole. Instead, set an alignment rod down on a flat surface and putt for accuracy. Or better yet, use the Balance Rod and develop your skill of touch while training the motion. The beauty is that you can develop your motion on carpet, in the comfort of your home. 

What is the objective of the Balance Rod? The Balance Rod will connect the balance and length of stroke to distance and touch. It is simple and easy to learn. Constant tempo, reasonable stroke balance, and stroke length will be your keys to great touch.

How it works.

  1. Place the Balance Rod on the putting surface parallel to your start line.
  2. Place the golf ball in the middle of the Balance Rod connector.
  3. Align your body, especially shoulder line, parallel to the Balance Rod. Using your peripheral vision, you should be able to confirm that the yellow T-Bar crossbar is parallel to the Balance Rod.
  4. Back edge of the ball should be near the center of your stance, which should be the bottom of the vertical arc of the putter path.
  5. Each color coded tape ring is spaced in 6” increments. With a constant 1-2 tempo count, stroke several balls red to red. The “one” count should occur at the top of the backstroke when the putter hits the red ring, the “two” count should occur at the top of the forward stroke when the putter hits the forward red ring.
  6. If you make consistent strokes (both tempo and length), the balls should all roll the same distance. Make it a point to consciously connect the motion of your shoulders with the motion of the putter. Move the shoulders to your tempo count, not the hands. Moving the shoulders will take care of the rhythm of your motion. Here’s the dirty little secret; the more the brain uses the shoulder lever, the less the brain will use the wrist, hands, etc. The less the brain uses the shoulder lever, the more it will access all of the small levers.
  7. Progress through each colored ring. You can even measure the distance each colored set of rings rolls the ball. There will be a mathematical relationship. And, obviously, different green speeds will yield a different set of distances.
  8. In the beginning, you will probably scatter the distances, but with work you will begin to roll them into nice piles. Once you have a good feel for the motion, remove the T-Bar and execute the drill.
  9. There is a method to this madness. While doing this drill, your conscious brain will be focused on stroke length, tempo, and distances, while your non-conscious is programming the proper motion of the shoulder lever. Real learning is taking place.

 After you feel you are beginning to master this drill, advance to the Ladder Drill. Mark your distance lines of 10’, 20’, 30’ and 40’. Using the same methodology, roll the first ball 10’, the next 20’, 30’ and then 40’. Then work backwards, rolling 40’, 30’, 20’ and 10’. These two simple drills will reinforce your stroke mechanics, build accuracy, and build your “touch” skills.

Putting T-Bar Guidelines

Wright Putting Dynamics

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