Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 368 - Wed. September 23rd, 2015
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In This Issue  

Tom's Featured Tip: Q&A: Long Putter Alternatives
Tour Greens: Tour Quality Synthetic Greens
Tom's Bonus Tip: Putting Practice Thoughts
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
Sponsors: Plum Creek Driving Range 
Batavia Country Club
Tour Greens Western New York 
Genesee Community College Golf Management Program 

Click here:  INDOOR GOLF LESSONS  for details on how to improve your game over the winter.

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Tom's Featured Tip: Q&A: Long Putter Alternatives

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

Q: Hi Tom,

I read your article on arm lock putting. I am left handed but play right handed.

For the past 30+ years I have used a long putter anchored in my chest with a pencil right hand grip. I have been as low as 1 handicap but at 66 years of age I'm up to 5.

Since labor day I have been trying alternative methods.

Conventional is not the solution or I would have stayed with it 30 years ago. I have tried non anchor with my 48 in Scotty Cameron Big Sur. No where as good as anchored.

I've tried anchored with a belly putter and an arm lock putter that Kucher uses.

Neither produced impressive results..

I fool around with side saddle from time to time but results vary.

I've tried counterbalance with my pencil grip, so - so result.

If you had a student like myself who has to go away from anchored long putter, what would you recommend?

Thanks for taking the time to read my email.

Paul S.

A: Thanks for the question Paul, there are probably a few players having a similar dilemma since the anchored putting stroke will be banned in 2016. I still disagree with rule change passionately, but the deed is done.

And by the way, congratulations not only on your low handicap for your age, but your quest to get it lower. I love it when men or women in my age group still have the fire in the belly!  To maintain a low handicap as your age advances, it's imperative that your short game and your putting be excellent.

It's hard to say exactly how I would handle a student that had to go away from the anchored putter style, because I would put him or her through a variety of different methods to actually observe what I thought would be best for him or her.

So I am going to list several alternatives and recommendations here in no particular order (even though I personally favor some over others), and you - or anyone else that's interested - will need to try them out and discover what fits your eye, your feel, and your stroke concept best.

First of all, it's been my observation that most players that putt well with a long putter anchored to their chest have a few things in common:
  1. a pendulum stroke fits their sense of feel and their stroke concept, and
  2. the heavier head on these putters allows for a smooth stroke path, and
  3. their stroke is one that has the putterhead staying square to their path, whether that be straight back and straight through, or slightly arcing.
So one recommendation on equipment would be to use a putter with a heavy, face balanced mallet style head, to minimize clubhead rotation at impact.

Long putters normally are made with putter heads that are heavier than short putters. So you could either use a long putter with an alternative style, or you could shorten your long putter, re-grip it, and use it with a more conventional setup.

On putting style or method replacements for the anchored style, I have a few thoughts. But before I list them I'm going to say that most players contemplating a putting method switch simply don't give the new method a chance before they pronounce judgement. They don't put in the practice time. The good news is that all anyone has to do is decide on which new method feels best to them, then practice it all winter - and I'll bet a dollar to a donut that you'll be putting lights out next season.

You've got to be willing to pay the price in terms of practice time to excel, there are no shortcuts there. One advantage of the anchored style style is that it's easy on the back during practice. That's also an advantage of any face-on style (you refer to that style as side-saddle), you can practice for long periods of time without having any back pain.

Several years back I used to play with a friend that was a top shelf ball striker, but changed his putter and his putting method just about every other week. He never gave any putter or method the chance to really work for him, and as a result he was usually on the short end of the stick at the end of the round.

When you try something new that feels right, give it a chance.

Alternative Methods
  • One method is to simply extend your putter an inch away from where you now anchor it and execute your stroke that way.

  • Another method would be to build or buy a putter with a heavy head and putt conventionally with this setup and stroke:
    • place the ball well forward in your stance , so far forward that your left arm and the shaft are almost in a straight line
    • press your hands slightly forward
    • feather your weight towards your forward foot,
    • then execute a stroke that's powered by your shoulders rocking back and forth.

    This is the putting stroke method that I teach most often, and it's one I use myself.

  • Another alternative is using a belly length putter with an open stance, a split grip, and a conventional stroke path. I have a friend who putts very well using this method.

  • Another method that I really love is face-on putting. It's a method where you face the target and hold the putter off to the side as you execute a smooth stroke. The recommended technique for this style is to anchor the putter to the front of your right shoulder with your left hand, and to power your stroke with your right hand, held lower on the putter.

    This method as described will be illegal in 2016. However, I have developed a legal variation that I really love, because it actually feels better than the original method, and it has produced better results for me.

    I tried the face-on style holding my left arm out away from my chest a couple inches, and allowing the left arm to move backward and forward as I moved my right arm backward and forward to execute the stroke. It simulates the motion of holding a broom off to your right side and sweeping something forward.

    I keep both elbows locked so that when the right arm powers the stroke both arms move backward then forward, rotating at the shoulder socket. I also position my right index finger so that it extends and points down the shaft on my low right hand grip.

    I'm utterly convinced that this method is superior to any other alternative for those wishing to switch from a long putter with an anchored grip. I personally was putting great with it, however I always test new putters and methods against my conventional stroke with my trusty two ball putter. To date, the two ball has always come out on top. Even so, I may switch to face-on putting regardless due to some irreconcilable issues with my back that cause discomfort after 20 minutes or so of conventional putting practice.

    I putt very well with what I'm doing now because I have thousands of hours of practice at it. But I really believe that if I had put that time in on face-on putting, that the face-on style would be at least equal to the task, if not superior.

    There are variations with the face-on style, such as having an open stance vs. totally face on, and using shorter putters with the face-on method. They might be worth experimenting with also.
My advice to Paul is to try this modified face-on method:
  • take your long putter, and set up with an open stance,

  • for your upper grip, grip the putter near your right armpit with your left hand

  • for your lower grip, grip the putter in your right hand with your pencil grip a comfortable distance down the shaft so that you can swing it back and forth smoothly

  • position the putter away from your body off to the right side, outside of your right foot, then stroke a few putts and see how it feels

  • power the stroke with your right arm swinging from the shoulder, keep both elbows locked

  • your stroke path should be a straight back - straight through direction for the putterhead

  • looking at the hole or at the ball is optional as you stroke the putt, try it both ways to see what works best for you
If you absolutely don't like the feel or look of face-on putting, try using your belly length putter with an open stance, a split grip, and a conventional stroke path.

One of those two methods should work for you, just give them an honest shot before you pass judgement.

I will also say this - even if the method you choose is not optimal for you, if you practice it faithfully all winter you'll be a great putter next year.

If anyone needs more detailed instruction on alternatives to an anchored stroke, now would be the time to set up a lesson so that you can prepare your off season practice schedule and be an excellent putter next year.

Just pick up the phone and give me a call at (716) 474-3005, it's that easy.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Tour Greens: Tour Quality Synthetic Greens For Superb Short Game Practice

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Click here to read what Tour Pro's Fred Couples, Rich Beem, Boo Weekly, Blake Adams, and Chris DiMarco  have to say about their Tour Greens.

You all know me well enough to know that I don't affiliate with any product that I don't have a passionate belief in. These greens are the real deal. They are extremely durable - and they LOVE Western New York weather!

For more information please click here:, or feel free to call, text, or email me to discuss your needs.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Tom's Bonus Tip: Putting Practice Thoughts

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

Here are some things to think about when you practice your putting:
  • Is the ball starting out on my intended aimline?
  • Does my stroke feel smooth through impact?
  • Is the sweet spot of my putter striking the center of the back of the ball?
  • Are my wrists maintaining the same positions at the end of my stroke as they were at setup?
  • Did my head stay still until the putter was three inches past impact?
Think about these points and you will become a better putter, guaranteed.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


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. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State. Tee times online or by phone in season.  (585) 343-7600

Tour Greens Western New York  Practice with purpose in your own back yard on your own synthetic practice green. Our greens LOVE Western New York weather!

Genesee Community College Golf Management Program   Click on link for more information if you or anyone you know is interested in a dynamic career in the golf industry, or in teaching golf.

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