Jack Nicklaus Golf Tip: Pretend Your Puttershaft is Glass

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Illustration by Jim McQueen

I putt my best when I have a sense of gentleness in my hands, my stroke, and the way the ball comes off the putterface. Then the ball rolls consistently, which might just be the secret to fine putting.

To promote those feelings, I visualize the puttershaft as being extremely limber, almost as flexible as a length of rope, which means the only way I can get the clubhead to swing truly is to stroke very softly, smoothly, and slowly.

If the limber shaft image doesn’t seem to be working, I’ll replace it in my mind’s eye with a delicate glass shaft that will shatter if I’m even a tiny bit harsh at the ball.

Vital to swinging the putter this gently, but with sufficient speed to roll the ball the required distance, is a very light grip. Equally important is retaining that softness in the fingers throughout the stroke—in other words, no involuntary grabbing once you’ve set the club in motion.

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Next week’s topic: Putt Like A Piston.