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Lihu

Putting with the elbows pressed against the ribs.

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I have tried many methods for putting, and none of them worked very well. I tend to have 42+ putts per round.

Last night I think I finally found a method that works, but it involves lightly pressing the elbows against the lower (floating) ribs. This means that I need to shrug my shoulders up a little. I also need to use my legs and hips to turn (since my elbows are locked to my torso), so longer than 20 feet is going to be much harder than before. While it sounds uncomfortable, it is really pretty natural (except for the shoulder part). It is easy to reproduce, and gave me great putts up to 20 feet out last night.

Does anyone else do something similar?

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I find what really helps is to really feel the pressure in my right arm pit and then slight pressure but not much in my left.. Along with these two pressure feels I also try and feel as though my right shoulder is weightless and let it totally relax and even droop down slightly if I am not relaxed enough. Then also stand slightly, I mean just slightly to the target line I am going for.  Then just a simple back and forth without much thought.. I really don't pay much attention to putting..

To answer your question.. no I don't try and restrict my elbows against my body.. that's way too restrictive and prevents any sort of consistency for me anyway.. (yes I have tried it) :)

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I don't press my elbows in close, but I do want to feel, "connected".  I will lightly press my arm pits/bicep area against my chest to keep the arms connected to my body.  But I also keep everything relaxed at the same time.

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I find what really helps is to really feel the pressure in my right arm pit and then slight pressure but not much in my left.. Along with these two pressure feels I also try and feel as though my right shoulder is weightless and let it totally relax and even droop down slightly if I am not relaxed enough. Then also stand slightly, I mean just slightly to the target line I am going for.  Then just a simple back and forth without much thought.. I really don't pay much attention to putting..

To answer your question.. no I don't try and restrict my elbows against my body.. that's way too restrictive and prevents any sort of consistency for me anyway.. (yes I have tried it) :)

I don't press my elbows in close, but I do want to feel, "connected".  I will lightly press my arm pits/bicep area against my chest to keep the arms connected to my body.  But I also keep everything relaxed at the same time.

That's part of my question. Does "connected==way to restrictive"?

Or is restrictive, yet relaxed the best? How do you do it?

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If there were Three Simple Keys® to Putting (and there are):

  1. Hitting your intended start line.
  2. Hitting the ball the proper distance.
  3. Reading greens well.

Find your priority Key, work on that until you have a new priority Key. Rinse, repeat.

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The inner part of my bicep is against my pecs but it's not really intentional, just happens to be there and that's the only place my arms are touching my body. Everything feels totally relaxed with no tension including my spine angle.

I used to putt with more spine angle and a 35 inch putter but figured out that I'm better with less spine angle and a 36 inch putter.

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Proper putter fitting is crucial in my opinion, as least when it comes to putter length, and weight. The design of the putter can effect alignment, trick your eyes.

For me, I have about an inch between my elbow joint and my rib cage. There is little gap between my bicep/tricep and my pectoral. I take a stance very similar to my normal one. Feet are about armpit width apart. Lower back is straight, upper back is hunched, head is down so my eyes are looking down on the ball not looking down my noise at the ball. From there I just make a putting stroke. I don't like weird set ups, I just try to be as comfortable and confident as possible over the ball.

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Proper putter fitting is crucial in my opinion, as least when it comes to putter length, and weight. The design of the putter can effect alignment, trick your eyes.

For me, I have about an inch between my elbow joint and my rib cage. There is little gap between my bicep/tricep and my pectoral. I take a stance very similar to my normal one. Feet are about armpit width apart. Lower back is straight, upper back is hunched, head is down so my eyes are looking down on the ball not looking down my noise at the ball. From there I just make a putting stroke. I don't like weird set ups, I just try to be as comfortable and confident as possible over the ball.

I have a very similar set up.  It helps me be consistent with my putts.  I also feel very relaxed in this position and stand pretty upright.  My putter was fit to my set up and ended up with a 35.5" length, 68 lie and 5 loft.  This helps my aim be dead on target.

If there were Three Simple Keys® to Putting (and there are):

Hitting your intended start line.

Hitting the ball the proper distance.

Reading greens well.

Find your priority Key, work on that until you have a new priority Key. Rinse, repeat

Agreed.  But doesn't a properly fit putter and repeatable set up help 1 & 2?

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That's part of my question. Does "connected==way to restrictive"?

Or is restrictive, yet relaxed the best? How do you do it?

nope.. doesn't feel restrictive at all really.. actually my worst putting is when I feel my arms are loose, feeling pressure while having a relaxed shoulder is a very strange sensation in my opinion and one that I find dificulty explaining even.. other than.. pressure in armpit / loose arm / shoulder..

Just try it and take little swings back and forth and just feel how much more control you have over where that darn thing is going.. i.e. the putter head :)

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Agreed.  But doesn't a properly fit putter and repeatable set up help 1 & 2?

It does.

But @Lihu hasn't told us why he's missing putts. You don't NEED a perfectly fit putter or a perfect setup (not that there even is one perfect setup) to work on any of those three things. They help, but you can certainly take less than 42 putts without spending $400+ on an Edel putter.

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I have tried many methods for putting, and none of them worked very well. I tend to have 42+ putts per round.

Last night I think I finally found a method that works, but it involves lightly pressing the elbows against the lower (floating) ribs. This means that I need to shrug my shoulders up a little. I also need to use my legs and hips to turn (since my elbows are locked to my torso), so longer than 20 feet is going to be much harder than before. While it sounds uncomfortable, it is really pretty natural (except for the shoulder part). It is easy to reproduce, and gave me great putts up to 20 feet out last night.

Does anyone else do something similar?


Nicklaus putted with his right elbow tucked in but I don't think so with the left, the shrugging of the shoulders you say you are trying does concern me a bit just because it sounds as if you have to make a conscious effort to get to this position and because of it you say 20' and longer require more effort. If this is what works then great because putting is the most individual part of this game, just make sure your comfortable enough that you have confidence over every putt is all. I too have been struggling with the putter and I know part of it is the very fast greens at my home I have been there for a year and a half and have changed putters 3 times and now I'm just to the point of sticking with what I got and make it turn around. Good luck to you I hope you improve.

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[QUOTE name="boogielicious" url="/t/71729/putting-with-the-elbows-pressed-against-the-ribs#post_934290"] [/QUOTE] It does. But @Lihu hasn't told us why he's missing putts. You don't NEED a perfectly fit putter or a perfect setup (not that there even is one perfect setup) to work on any of those three things. They help, but you can certainly take less than 42 putts without spending $400+ on an Edel putter.

Maybe, I just don't practice it enough. Now that I have a servicable swing, it's time to work on the next worst thing. Even 4 footers are a problem on the course. I look at that hole, and think I'm going to miss it. Some of it is mental, but I also never developed a putting stroke that evoked any confidence. If I go to the putting green, I can start getting a groove and make some pretty long puts. I should probably putt more too.

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Maybe, I just don't practice it enough. Now that I have a servicable swing, it's time to work on the next worst thing.

Even 4 footers are a problem on the course. I look at that hole, and think I'm going to miss it. Some of it is mental, but I also never developed a putting stroke that evoked any confidence.

If I go to the putting green, I can start getting a groove and make some pretty long puts. I should probably putt more too.


Most people I know that miss a lot of four foot putts have the putter face misaligned, even if they know the line. It looks correct to them but if somebody stands behind them it's obvious that it's off. Usually off to the left for right handed putters for some reason.

If they've been playing a long time like that they subconsciously know to manipulate the putter back toward square during the stroke but still have limited success and may even cause as many putts missing right as left.

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I'm not a great putter (I average 34 putts), but what's helped me improve is less mechanical and more mental.  Those stories about how Stricker helped Tiger dial in his putting before one of his wins last year really helped me too.  The reported short version of the help was something along the lines of to feel like you're brushing the ground.  Maybe imagine brushing the ground very softly with a light paint brush.  I think the reason this helped is because it's helped me have more consistent, even, smooth tempo through contact, rather than feeling more like I'm stabbing at or slapping the ball.  It's really helped my distance control.

Also, I have a Heavy putter, of which I'm a huge proponent.  With more standard weight putters I feel like I'm slapping the ball with a toothpick, which really doesn't help promote relaxed and consistent tempo through the stroke, which for me makes distance control much easier.

To your OP, I've never liked squeezing in like you propose.  For me it always made my stroke feel sort of overpowered and imprecise.  Sort of like I was giving up the muscle control and freedom of movement of the upper half of my torso to smoothly control the pendulum from the shoulders to the club head.  Mileage may vary of course!

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Thanks everyone for their input. Looks like I have quite a bit of experimenting to do.

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Last night I think I finally found a method that works, but it involves lightly pressing the elbows against the lower (floating) ribs. This means that I need to shrug my shoulders up a little. I also need to use my legs and hips to turn (since my elbows are locked to my torso), so longer than 20 feet is going to be much harder than before. While it sounds uncomfortable, it is really pretty natural (except for the shoulder part). It is easy to reproduce, and gave me great putts up to 20 feet out last night.

I think it can be an effective way to putt.  I agree it's going to be more of a "mini" turn rather than a rocking motion.  Next time you go practice, put a tee under each arm and see how it holds up with the first two keys.

  1. Hitting your intended start line.
  2. Hitting the ball the proper distance.
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Thanks everyone for their input. Looks like I have quite a bit of experimenting to do.

Lihu, I can relate.  As comfortable as I feel with my full swing posture at this point is equally as uncomfortable as I feel with any putting posture/setup I have tried.  It is not fun when you set up and just feel like you are not in a decent position.  Working on the three putting keys mentioned helped me a ton though at the end of last year.  I still don't feel like I know how to step up to the putt well enough, but at least the results are getting better.  Good luck and keep working on it.

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Speaking to Erik's #1 item: the intended start line.  Firstly, you must have a confident line in your mind as dictated by the contours of the surface. In other words you must be able to visualize the ball leaving the clubface and rolling according to gravity towards and into the hole. Secondly, you must strike  the very center of the  ball with the center of the putter face. Doesn't that make sense because of all things you want is the ball to start on a straight line. Why the groove or mark on the putter head telling you the location of the 'sweet spot'? Famous old time putter Willie Parks saw a thumb tack in the very back of the ball and drove the tack straight ahead with the putter. The ball gotta leave the putter going straight. The most common problem i find is that the shoulders and  hands become tense and tight thereby making the club travel in a crooked path prior the striking the ball; not good.  Sometimes the start line is only inches long, other times many meters.

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