Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 303 - June 25th, 2014
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In This Issue  

- Tom's Featured Tip: Q&A: Arcing Stroke or Straight Back - Straight Through?
- Tom's Bonus Tip: Indomitable Spirit
- Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
- Sponsors: Batavia Country Club   Chestnut Hill Country Club 
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Tom's Featured Tip: Q&A: Arcing Stroke or Straight Back - Straight Through?

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

Q: "Hi Tom, I follow your newsletters faithfully and I have a question about a dilemma I'm having. What stroke do you recommend for putting - an arcing stroke or straight back - straight through?"

Thanks in advance for your answer, Richard W.

A: Thanks for the question Richard. I actually recommend both types of strokes for most players.

Let's define these stroke methods first.

An arcing stroke is a stroke that is is taken back a little to the inside, then the putter is returned on the forward stroke squarely to the ball on the same path that it was taken away on, and the putter chases the ball down the aimline for two or three inches then comes a little inside on the extended follow through. The putter head has the appearance of opening on the takeaway and closing at impact - announcers on TV sometimes mistakenly refer to this motion as a release ot the putterhead - but that's not always the case. Often times it's an arcing stroke with the putterhead held square to the stroke path throughout the whole stroke. The path simply arcs then returns square to the ball.

A straight back - straight through stroke is exactly as it sounds. The putterhead stays right on the aimline throughout the whole stroke, with the putterface square to the aimline for length of the whole stroke.

I would actually prefer that all of my students use the straight back - straight through method all of the time, but years of experience have shown me that some players can not execute that type of stroke on long putts.

As a result, I advocate using both stroke methods, just like Tiger Woods - and many other pros - do.

For your long putts - pure lag putts - concentrate mostly on speed amd that your putter head chases the ball for two to three inches down the line after your stroke. This stroke most likely will arc a bit on the takeaway. It shouldn't be too big of a deal as long as you concentrate on speed do not consciously "release" the putter head at impact. By this I mean do not consciously rotate the face of your putter closed at impact. That move, which it seems that some announcers on TV advocate, will wreak havoc on your distance control and your accuracy. Just let the putterhead stay square to your swing arc, nothing more, nothing less.

For short putts, and you can define that as any putt that you consider to be makable, I insist that my students use the straight back - straight through stroke method, because it's been conclusively proven to be the most accurate method. Period. Not my research, Dave Pelz's, and he does good research.

I've seen - and own - several exotic training aids that help you groove this stroke, but the best training aid that I use for developing this method is home made. Two 36" two by fours, the inside one laid flat the outside one laid on edge, set just a bit wider apart than your putter head.

Set them up on your living room floor, and simply practice the straight back and straight through stroke repeatedly - back and forth, back and forth, between these two "rails" for 100 reps at a time. No hole, no ball, just pure stroke practice.

Then take them to a putting green and practice four footers with a ball.

This type of practice will make you so good you might scare yourself!

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


Tom's Bonus Tip: Indomitable Spirit

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

Indomitable Spirit. It's something that we can use in golf - but this story is less about golf than it is about living your life.

I first became acquainted with this concept when I was a State Trooper taking Taekwon-Do, a Korean martial art, in the mid '70's. The Korean name for it is Baekjul Boolgool, and it means that a true student of Taekwon-Do will never give up, not even when faced with insurmountable odds. The most difficult goals can be achieved with indomitable spirit.

The reason that I mention this is because I recognized this quality today at a chipping lesson.

My student - a very likeable man in his sixties - showed up for his lesson this afternoon (Monday) in sweltering heat. As he got out of his car, it looked like his butt was really dragging. I asked if he was OK and he told me that he just got out of the hospital yesterday after a four day stay, but that he wanted to take the lesson.

I knew some health history of this student because I ask health related questions in the student profile form that I have all students fill out before lessons commence.

But I didn't have all the details that came up in our conversation today.

This student informed me that he had terminal stage four cancer, and that not too long ago he was given six to eight weeks to live unless he undertook rigorous chemo and other treatment, which he agreed to do.

Obviously this kind of floored me, and I asked him if he would like to reschedule - but he insisted that he wanted to continue as scheduled. He was not looking for sympathy, nor does he use his problem as an excuse, he just keeps moving forward and living his life.

Truly inspirational.

That's indomitable spirit, and this guy is in my prayers for at least getting some extra time as a result of his treatments.

What we can all take away from this is that we should take advantage of what God has given us, especially if we enjoy good health. His story will inspire me to get that workout in when I think I feel tired, and to get to the range when I have it scheduled, to keep working on my craft.

I hope this brief story inspires you in the same way that it did me.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Driver Fitting Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   Great Rates & The Best Greens in WNY- bar none! Summer rates now in effect, but discounts always available at our website.

Chestnut Hill CC   Great rates, 20 minutes East of Buffalo, NY .

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan